It’s a very good question. It’s one I’ve been asked many times over, and have also asked myself. Why all this training? Is it worth it? Am I being selfish? Crazy? A combination?
As I contemplate my fitness situation, on the brink of Spain and the biggest (and arguably most important) race of my life this far, I find myself thinking – why? How did I get here? The only way to answer it, is to go back. Way back. Further. A little further. Ok, there.
As Lady Gaga loves to sing – baby, I was born this way. That is truly the only explanation. I didn’t come from competitive, sports-oriented parents. My mom battled being overweight her entire life and never participated in sports, unless you count Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons workouts. As for my dad, he literally cannot walk and chew gum at the same time. For real. I haven’t a clue why my parents put me in gymnastics when I was four years-old, but they did, and in turn created a competitive monster of sorts.
Basically, ever since I can remember, I’ve been active and competitive. Now, let me clarify that I’m competitive with myself. Yes, I love to win and beat other people out of the top spot but, I have no rivalries and my eyes and mind are only focused inward.
So, if you read my workouts or weekly rundowns and think “why?” you’re not alone. To the best of my ability, this is what I came up with:
1. Because I can. I like to see just how far I can push myself and how my mind and body will react. Plus, I was inspired by reading this post about the 25 Things You Should Never Stop Doing For Yourself, and it reminded me that there are people everywhere sick, in hospitals, like my own mom was for so long, who can’t do all of the things they want to do. I can. And, I’m a big believer in living every day to the fullest. I like to practice what I preach.
2. Because it’s fun. If you’ve ever seen me out running or biking, you’re likely to see my smiling. I love it. I truly do. Now, I don’t wake up every morning just waiting to go for a run or bike and, there have been many times I’ve wanted to give up during a workout or race or never even start for that matter! But, most of the time (and most mornings) I can’t wait to hit the road or gym and start sweating. I can’t explain it. I just love it. And, I have yet to come back from a workout and wish I hadn’t done it. That just doesn’t happen.
3. Because of the friendships. I have fitness friends, or women I have met in a gym or at a race, among my closest, life-long friends. I’ve shared personal things with some, on a run, that I normally wouldn’t tell a soul. Something changes between women when they go though years of running and racing together. There’s some serious bonding in that sweat and I wouldn’t be doing what I am without the support and inspiration they provide me. Not too mention all those snot rockets and emergency potty breaks in the woods. I didn’t say it was pretty.
4. Because of the example. My kids see my focus and discipline. They see me racing and sweating and being passionate about something. These are all very, very good things. And, because of my racing, they are getting an opportunity to travel to Spain at 5 years-old. It only leads me to wonder what other doors I can open for them just by doing what I love.
5. Because of the Gear. Like any woman, I love buying new stuff (or getting it for free!). I happen to enjoy Athleta, Oiselle and Lorna Jane as opposed to Tory Burch, J. Crew and Calvin Klien but you get what I’m saying. My sneaker collection rivals any elite and have I told you lately how much I love my bike? It’s like the boys lost triplet.
Do I have days when I question if all the time and money and sweat are worth it? Of course I do. Do I feel guilty about all the time I spend away from my family when I’m out biking or running or the ways we need to shift our priorities because of my training? Everyday. But then I think of all the reasons I listed above, (well, maybe except for the gear) and I also know that this intensity of training is only for a short time and will (hopefully) reap some amazing rewards for all of us.
I remember listening an interview with Justin Timberlake a while ago. Obviously he’s an amazing, well adjusted, stay-out-of-jail and the tabloids kind of superstar who is hilarious, can sing the hell out of a song and isn’t too bad on a guitar, piano or probably any other instrument. He said that his mom told him something once, that keeps his focus – “Singing isn’t who you are, it’s what you do.” That has always stayed with me. I’m no superstar but, to keep myself grounded and balanced, I always think that running and racing is not who I am, but just what I do. And I love what I do.
[Tweet “You’ve got questions? I’ve got answers. Why do you #train? This is why I do. #sweatpink #fitfluential”]
Why do you train/run/swim/bike?
Do you ever question things you love to do?
Do you have an inspirational quote that keeps you focused?
Love this! I totally run for the gear 😉 and I’m
Pretty sure I have a gymnastics picture just like that!
I hope I pass my competitive streak to my daughters. I think being a strong woman with a drive is the best kind!
Relax til race day!!!
I couldn’t agree more and I can’t imagine your daughters being anything other then fierce competitors like their mama. You’re setting a perfect example for them in every way!!
You said why you do this perfectly and my motto is that if it makes you happy then that is all that counts!! 🙂
That’s what they say, right? Thanks Janine!
Ha ha ha! #5! I’m a bit of a gear (especially apparel) slut, too. But all kidding aside, I love your reasons, especially #4. Setting a healthy example for my daughters is a huge reason why I pour so much time, love, and devotion into my passions. Plus, I want to be around for them as long as possible. There are a lot of things I can’t control, but staying active is something I can! Love this, Allie!!
I had to be honest about the gear! I have a small shopping problem when it comes to new stuff.
Definitely being around as long as possible is WAY up on my list. I don’t want to miss a thing. Thanks Nicole!!
Your picture from gymnastics is hilarious, the look on your face is cracking me up. I used to run regularly with two friends and there were approx. 5 years between each of us (which seemed like a lot of life experience between 23/single and 33/married with a child) yet we became so close – and it was one of the best times of my life having that experience with them. And your #1 is inspiring – I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the things I say I want to do yet I’m not doing them, not sure what I’m waiting for.
Stop waiting and just do it!
I can so relate to the age differences not mattering in running. The woman on my right in the picture is 50 and has taught me so much about being a mom and just life experiences in general. The woman on my left is almost 10 years younger then me and has taught me just as much! Running is ageless…it’s more about pace! HA HA 🙂
I can tell that you truly love what you do, and I say you go, girlfriend. Life is too short. A wise friend told me once, you don’t regret the things you do, you regret the things you don’t. So go out, run, race, bike, sweat, and keep smiling.
I will Alison! Thanks for the encouragement and words of wisdom. I love it.
I LOVE this post. I love that you so perfectly explain it all, and it makes sense. Why shouldn’t you be doing all of this? Such a great attitude…your spirit and zest for life is truly infectious, and I genuinely believe you are an inspiration to your readers Allie. You rock!-Ashley
Thank you so much Ashley! That’s another BIG reason I do this stuff – to inspire! Darn it, I knew I would forget some reasons. Thanks for the reminder.
Working out becomes like brushing your teeth after a while. Something you just have to do or you don’t feel quite yourself. One of my favorite quotes that I tell my boys all the time is ‘Without the risk there is no reward.’
Oh I love that!! BIG rewards too!
And yes, it absolutely becomes a habit and I’m very crabby if I don’t sweat once a day.
This is awesome Allie. For me, it’s just enjoyment now, but back when I was competing, I really loved to compete. As my kids got older, I kind of lost that drive. But interestingly enough, all of my kids have that competitive spirit too. They are fierce competitors!
…and so you can now live through them! I’m sure there will come a day when I’m done competing and I can do it purely for fun. I also hope the boys will love something as much as I love to run and bike. Thanks Michelle!
I am very curious about your 8 year old side eye!! You were too cute! lol I totally can relate to this post–I don’t know what it is about sweating that I adore so much but its my happy place too. That pic of you crossing the finish line is definitely one of the greatest pictures I have ever seen of you. Keep up the awesomeness!!
Thanks Nellie. That picture is funny for so many reasons, right? The girl next to me is playing with a stuffed animal and I look like I’m eyeballing the competition something fierce! Issues.
LOVE this so much, Allie. I think we all ask ourselves ‘why’ when we’re in heavy training and it hurts and it’s hard and you’re nervous for the event. In that moment it all seems crazy. But this list is perfect. 🙂
Thanks Carly. It’s so true – all the questioning that goes on during training. I know that when I cross that finish line, it will all have been worth it. And then I’m going to REST!
I love this post Allie! You hit the nail on the head with all of those points. Same reasons I do it. I would like me some ladies to run with. None of my friends do at all.
That’s really too bad because it’s just so fun and supportive to have a group of women who “get it” and can pull you through some rough spots. Have you tried to look up a local running group? Usually every town (or a nearby town) has one of varying paces. Good luck!
I’m so inspired by every aspect of this. Your passion shines through so incredibly. And even just ONE of those reasons is more than enough. Why? Why indeed!
I love it about being able to do the things we do because so many sick people don’t have these chances. I actually am more like your dad, but I do like to feel my body move. It reminds me of why we are here.
Yes, it’s a very concrete reminder of why we’re here. I’m truly thankful everyday I’m out there, that I can be out there. I try to never take it for granted. Thanks so much Tamara!
With a fairly-unhealthy extended family, with several members facing serious chronic illness, I train and stay active to be healthy. LIfestyle has so much to do with how we feel and how we end up. I don’t want to feel like crap all the time and want to set a better example for my kids than the one I had when it comes to exercise and fitness. And you’re so right, it’s fun! Maybe getting started isn’t the most fun; it can be hard, but it’s so worth it!
Very true!! There are MANY times when it’s hard, and maybe especially when you start, but the finish is so sweet 🙂 Thank you.
I think you covered many of the reasons that got me into it and keep me in it. At the end of the day, though, it’s probably just the love of the sport that keeps me totally attached to it.
There’s definitely an overwhelming love! When I was out in 45 degree rain, running ladder drills on a muddy trail, there’s nothing else it could be, right? Ok maybe insanity but that’s why they say “crazy in love!” Thanks Amanda.
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! I think everyone at times asks the same questions….but the truth is you do what you love :)! The example you set, the drive to make yourself better, the health benefits…they are all amazing benefits!!!! I am a total running clothes junkie too :)! I have at times also thought I am wasting money (I am a stay at home mom and my husband is the pastor of a church…we both love what we do but money is usually tight), but the truth is that it is money well invested. We cut back in other areas so that we can spend money on races, shoes ect. and I am fine with doing that. It is something that at times we do as a family and we have a blast! Sometimes it is just me time…but even if I wasn’t running I would probably spend the same amount of time doing something else.
The running community/ blogging community is the BEST!!!!!!! I have not entered into the getting stuff for free realm yet…but someday :).
You are going to rock Spain and that is awesome that the boys get to go to Spain at 5!!!!! One of these days we will have to meet at some race!!!!!
I would absolutely love to meet you someday! I know you can totally understand this AND, you’re so right about money well spent. Think of all the negative things that money to go toward like hospital bills. Thanks Jen!
i LOVE that it’s in your nature to do what you are doing. if you are doing something and it’s not fun..of course you don’t want to continue. i wish we were all this passionate about something that is good and healthy and awesome and fun for us like your training and running is. You inspire us all lady!!
Thank you so much! That’s definitely another reason I do what I do – especially teaching classes – to inspire!!
Great answers and I love the picture of you at 8 -game face on! Just like today. Thank you for the honesty!
I know, right? Like I said, I was born this way!
I recently wrote a post about the phrase “Doing what you love sometimes means doing what you don’t.” Of course you’re not going to love every single aspect of training, but in the end, the parts that you don’t love are worth doing because of the parts that you do love!
Preach on my friend! So true.
Hey. NO GUILT for being away clearing your head, keeping yourself healthy and energetic for your family, and setting an example for your kids. Now, if you were spending that time out at the bar…
Your “selfishness” is nothing less than a gift to your family.
Thanks for saying this. Truly. Sometimes it’s hard to not feel guilty but what you’re saying is 100% true.
I know I’ve said this before but I just wish I had the same mindset! Can’t change it though!
You definitely can’t force it but everyone has their “thing” that they love. The key is to find it and stick with it!
LOVE this!! That picture of you as an eight year old is adorable <3 Thanks for sharing this post.
Ha ha – thanks Cori!
I love your “why!”
I’m sort of like you – my parents never did anything active/fitness related that I saw. I started running my sophomore year in high school, found out I was decent at it, and never looked back!!
Isn’t it cool when you kind of “discover” you’re good at a sport? I actually hated track in high school and I thought the distance runners were insane. Imagine that?
I really love how your passion and drive for what you do comes through with your words.
I think if I was a runner, I’d be all about the gear too!
Thanks NJ! It’s definitely fun to shop for and try out new gear 🙂
I love this Allie. This IS what you do. Your enthusiasm and passion for it is contagious! While I was active growing up and played a lot of sports, it didn’t really seep into my bones and blood until later on. You are going to be amazing in Spain.
Thanks Christine! I was very passionate about gymnastics as a kid, but my true love for running didn’t hit me until much later in life.
I love this! We had the marathon on the TV’s at work on Monday. I was so into it – happy, cheering, holding back tears…but I was surrounded by nonrunners who did not get it at all. They kept saying…why would you do that to your body? Why???? Because your body craves motion and I love it! Some of us our built with the love of movement (actually I think we all are but some choose to ignore it). It’s hard to exactly describe the feeling that I get from running. There’s no words other than it makes me so very, very happy!
That is so great you got to watch at work!
It’s very hard to describe to non-runners how it feels to watch your heroes on tv…or why you love running so much. It’s definitely something that needs to be experienced!
I think it’s cool that people like to run and such. It’s not for me at all–but I have lots of friends who do the marathons and are really excited about them.
It’s great that you can understand and support them. Everyone has their “thing” and running is definitely not for everyone! Thanks for reading and commenting!
Great post Allie! I think another reason is it is just you. It’s like asking someone why they like fast cars or video games or something…it’s just part of who you are and your personality. But, I think the fact that you started being active at a young age has a lot to do with it! At least I think it is for me. I used to do my Mom’s Jane Fonda videos when I was like 4 or 5.
Exactly. I truly believe I was just born this way!
I would also do the Jane Fonda moves with my mom. Too funny!