Saturday, April 17, 2010

Learning to Love....exercise

Let's start from the beginning... When I was born (in Garden, CA) I had a crust formed over my eyes. The doctors said that I was going to have severe allergies. They also told my parents that living in Los Angeles was going to cause problems for me because of the pollution. When my dad was offered a station change to Denver he jumped at the chance since he loves the outdoors and the opportunity that would come with move was great. The air was cleaner...but of course there were a lot more "living things" that I could become allergic to...which I did. I was on allergy (OTC) meds from the time I was in grade school. Then when I was 13 I had my first major asthma attack from sitting in choir. That's right...I was not moving, I was sitting and then couldn't breathe. I've never seen my dad drive so fast as when they picked me up from school and rushed me to the ER. :) He's a safe driver.

After that incident (the first of many) I got the full blown allergy test and started shot therapy, for the next 8 years. During all that time my mom didn't really want me to play soccer, because of the grass...couldn't play softball, because of the dust...couldn't participate in track, because it was outside. Haha, my brother used to call me 'Bubble Girl' because I was allergic to the outdoors. I got to stay inside and practice...the piano, the clarinet...whatever kept me indoors. Anyway, I didn't have that strong sports or athletic background.

College days, I carried 18-21 credit hours every year so I was able to graduate in 4 years, it was a 5 year program. The closest thing to exercise that I did was marching band. Now, don't get me wrong, it burned a LOT of calories, but it wasn't for the intention of going out and exercising.

After college I was working at Crapplebee's (where I met Trainer) and the only exercise I picked up was 16oz curls! Then after successfully navigating my way through my 20s, well maybe successfully is the wrong word...but I made it to 29 pretty much unscathed, my world turned. I've talked about this before in my Fear post, but not the after, not the daily.

I'm a lucky girl. Lucky to be here today and I'm grateful...thankful and I don't take it for granted. I also know that I don't have a terminal disease or something so serious that it disables me. So, please, this is not a "poor me" post.

I started exercising in 2003 because I had to. At first I was just able to walk on the treadmill for 20 minutes. It was exhausting and my leg would swell up even more. In 2004 I started a walk to run program and it helped. My doctor said that since I have no valve in my knee to keep the blood from going back down to my calf running is one of the best things for me. Oh my...running is hard for me. I am not one of those lucky people who tried running for the first time, loved it and miraculously run a 7-8 min mile. No, after YEARS of putting time into this silliness called running my fastest mile to date is a 9:45 min mile...once. My usual 1/2 marathon pace is an 11:30 min mile. Yes, I've run more than one 1/2 marathon.

In 2005 I started biking because Legs and her husband invited Trainer and myself to ride the MS150, a bike ride starting in Houston, TX and riding to Austin, TX. I bought a used bike for $200 and put about $100 in to it and I headed out to ride. I wasn't good at this at first either. I'm much better now, but after months off of not riding Trainer can still kick my ass on the road. Depressing...but I still do it.

In 2006 I moved to Austin (best thing we ever did) and I wanted to try to find MY activity that I could love. Something that was ME and that I could be good at. I tried sculling, and liked it, but it was hard to get down to the lake and after months I gave it up.

In 2007 I tried boxing and LOVED it, Trainer got me private lessons and then I started at a boxing gym. The jump roping started a stress fracture and I was out of the gym for more than 6 months. I could probably go back to that again, well have to see.

In 2009 my friend Mid West Girl was training for a triathlon and I decided to motivate her on the bike portion by going out with her a couple days a week. I was running at the time too (have to run) and she kept saying that I could do triathlons too. Well, my swimming lesson disaster in 2008 kept me out of the pool. But, I decided to try again and took a swim clinic with T3. And once again, I sucked at this too. And I'm still not much better, but I go at least once a week to practice. I joined T3 and I love the group, even though I haven't made any close ties with people yet (working on it.) Now I'm surrounded by triathletes that all pretty much kick ass.

I wake up with leg pain every day. My blood thinners cause me to be tired if my levels are the slightest bit off, which can be caused by simply eating too much broccoli or not enough spinach on and given day. I don't talk about it because I don't want people to think that I'm making excuses or whining.

When I exercise it's like I have a 1-2lb weight attached to my left leg...always and it's painful. I dress according to how swollen my calf is. And usually 6 days out of the week I figure out what kind of exercise I'll be doing that day. (Today is a run day btw, just in case you were curious!) I'm learning how to love it, the same way you learn to love a difficult relative. Maybe one day exercise will feel like a good marriage, I'll keep hoping.


T said...

I relate a little too well to the bubble girl phenomena... is it wrong to be addicted to allergy pills/nasal sprays/eye drops?

the DVT thing is scary though - glad you're learning to love exercise... I'm still tolerating it as a necessary evil - went for my 3 mile walk this morning earlier than I wanted, but later than I should have... feeling it still.

I think you're right on the money though - about the not talking about our chronic health issues (whichever post that was...) it doesn't help the situation, and sometimes we just have to suck it up. Someday I hope to be able to suck it up as well as you do!

Marta said...

Oh, man, I had no idea, R-A. That's terrible. I'm sorry about the chronic pain, lady. I'm glad that running helps, and I'm glad the doc didn't prescribe excessive swimming for it! Now that would be a double whammy of suck!

Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly said...

Wow Beck...I loved how raw this was. It makes me really stop and think about how selfish I am. You give me so much to think about...that is why I love you.

The Sports Mama said...

"Maybe one day exercise will feel like a great marriage"....

Dude, it took me 17 years to have a good marriage... I don't think I have that level of committment for anything else!

You have always inspired me, you know that? Love you!