I Am, Like, So Athletic

(plays Eye Of The Tiger)

Today I went for a walk, an activity I always used to see as a cop-out, something I’d do if I couldn’t be bothered to go for a run (usually because I ran the previous day), but I now realise is probably more beneficial for my health. Because I have the composure of Naruto, I’d be unable to run at anything less than ‘as fast as humanly possible’ speed, on the basis that faster is better for improving running times, and losing weight. I know that this just leaves me exhausted, and I end up continuing to run long after I really should have stopped, but I’m stupid, okay?

But now, I was able to walk without a sense of nagging guilt, that this activity is a lazy equivalent of a greater one, an idea that’s both arrogant, and probably factually incorrect, considering I run for about half an hour, but walk for three times that length of time.

I also did back stretches before and after the walk, to help improve my aching back, which has been a problem ever since I did the whole ‘having a seizure’ thing, a rather unwanted crossing-off of an experience on my bucket list. All this meant that I stretched before and after my exercise, in ways specifically chosen for my body, and didn’t feel like dying of heatstroke, exhaustion and heart failure all at once as soon as I finished – I felt more athletic than when I was trying to run a 5K every day.

For me, this mental side of my fitness is crucial to actually exercising; for all my good intentions of running every day, I’d find it hard to motivate myself into running myself into the ground, knowing in advance that I probably wouldn’t beat my best time, and even if I did, it would be by a few seconds. And I know that finish times aren’t everything regarding sport – my Dad has wisely reminded me to ensure running remains a ‘positive’ thing that I do for broad self-improvement, rather than a ‘negative’ thing that becomes bogged down in, and defined by, numbers on a timer – but they are important to me as indicators of progress. Ultimately, I’m never going to have to use my running expertise to escape from an environmental disaster or outrun a zombie apocalypse, and I’m not part of a running club, nor do I participate in races, so seeing ‘progress’ is pretty hard for me.

It’s ironic, therefore, that the means by which I motivate myself to run – measuring my times – ends up becoming so singularly important to me that it becomes demotivational. And I know that I’m never going to run in a race against people, so surely my focus should be on fitness in general – which will be measured by things like my size and eventual duration of my life – not trying to be the fastest over an arbitrary competitive distance.

Also, I get to see more of nature and stuff when I walk, so that’s pretty cool.


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