I cannot say that I do it consistently, but overall, I love to exercise. By “exercise”, I mean that I love to go outside and walk/run around the neighborhood or on local trails. I take my dog with me and he loves it too. Over the years, I have dropped in and out of many attempts at exercise because I become bored, the weather is not “on my side” and I turn my attention to something else like, laying on the couch, or I push myself to the point of burning out. This year, I began exercising in March and I have continued with only a one month break. Most morning, I do not mind getting up at 430am and heading outside to explore the neighborhood while most people are sleeping. As a matter of fact, the idea of being outside while most people sleep motivates me. The desire to avoid the sweltering heat of the later afternoon is an added inspiration.
I find it interesting that exercise for me always becomes a “me against the clock endeavor”. I start out wanting to walk around the block, then to the end of the street, then run around the block, and then run around the town. This realization that I am very competitive against myself, to the point that I begin to only go out for the competitiveness, not to enjoy the serenity, quiet, and peacefulness that being outside brings, leads me to wonder, what would my life have been if I had participated in competitive sports as a child.
Growing up, my parents never spoke to me about participating in sports. On a few occasions, I joined the track team but when it came time for permissions slips and payments, my mother would never sign anything. No explanation. No signature. I would stop showing up for practice and life would continue. If I had been able to participate in sports would I be a more outwardly competitive person today? Am I overly competitive with myself because I did not have the opportunity to compete with others during my formative years? I do not know the answers to these questions. I would like to believe that if I had been give the opportunity to become involved in competitive sports, I would not be so afraid of those types of interactions today. When I am faced with the opportunity to participate in a competitive activity, it actually frightens me a bit because I am simply not sure how to do it. I am nervous that I will somehow mess things up for the team. Logically, I doubt that anyone will care but I just steer clear of any activity that requires team participation.
Recently, I added stair climbing to my morning routine. Not on a stair climbing machine but in a parking garage. I found a six story garage that requires climbing 96 steps to reach the top. I do each side fours times and I love it. However, with each passing week, I keep adding more steps, to the point that I now frequently touch approximately 1200 steps a day, a few days each week. Sure, this is great but I keep asking myself to stop wanting to do more. I would like to stick with 8x and then go home. I want to challenge myself and never settle for the status quo (whatever that is for me) but I also want to enjoy what I am doing and embrace my surroundings. Continuing to push myself to do more, always leads to me burning out and not enjoying the activity. So, this week, I am in constant conversation with myself to maintain a balance between self competition and enjoying what I am doing, for no reason other than enjoyment. The question remains, did my lack of involvement with competitive sports lead me to this place or was I born with it????? Either way, I just have to learn to balance it or burn out and go back to laying on the couch.