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Don’t Quit Five Minutes Before The Miracle Happens…

March 2012
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Don’t quit five minutes before the miracle happens…

In recovery we have a saying that applies aptly to fitness as well.  Fitness, like recovery is a finicky thing.  It’s tough to get going, to build the time to exercise – whatever form that may take – into our lives.  At first it is work, thus the name workout.  I’ve read figures that show as many as 70% of people who start an exercise program won’t last more than a month before they decide that it’s too hard.  This post is for those 70%.

Generally speaking there is a reality that at some point fitness ceases being work.  Often this will take some time as it did in my case, for others it happens quickly.  We fit folks, the one’s you see cruising about the neighborhood every day (or every other day for the runners), eventually come to a point where we need the exercise.  I’ve explained at length in the past my need to exercise – in my case, my day job is exceptionally stressful.  I have no healthy outlet for that stress if I’m not exercising.  In the past, I’ve gone several weeks without lacing up the running shoes, usually during the cold winter months and I can tell you, by the third week I’m miserable.  Fortunately, I have a lot of friends that I run with and when I explained being miserable to a couple of them they pointed out that I’d missed running for a few weeks and that they weren’t surprised that my balance was off.  For those who don’t have that kind of support, that mild depression can devolve into full blown depression in a hurry – and when I’m in that state, the last thing I want to do is work.  Running becomes a depressive paradox, or pair of ducks if you will.  I don’t want to go running because I feel like crap, but running is the only thing that will make me feel better.

As my tolerance for mental anguish has decreased over the years, and as a full blown alcoholic it was quite high, especially when I first quit drinking (meaning I could tolerate a lot of mental anguish before it motivated me to get off of my @$$), skipping runs decreased because I couldn’t tolerate the stress as well since I found an outlet.  This shifted into high gear when I began riding regularly last June.  When I started out, on a Huffy mountain bike, the best I could do was four miles in about 16 minutes (about 15 mph which is pretty fast for a mountain bike that’s two sizes too small) three times a week with my normal running.  By the time October rolled around, I was riding every day 12-16 miles @ 18-19 mph (on a road bike) and still running twice a week.  As much stress as I could build up in a day at work, it would be worked out before I ate dinner.  As the stress decreased, so did my tolerance for it.  As my tolerance for stress decreased, my need and enjoyment of exercise increased

Exercise has changed from something I had to do to lose weight to something I want to do to feel good.

That’s the miracle.  Don’t quit five minutes before you get that.

 

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16 Comments

  1. Kimberly / ThePowerOfRun.com says:

    Great post! I need my exercise too. I get cranky and I can’t focus without it.

  2. lampenj says:

    Great post. I’ve found the same thing, particularly over this winter when really I could have relaxed because of satisfaction in accomplishing an end-of-season race goal last year. But, I found that I couldn’t sit. I couldn’t stand not being outside. I did take a break, no doubt, but rather than the month that many of my other friends would take, I took only a couple of weeks and then just eased back outside for pure joy rides. In addition to your point about the stress release of exercising, I have begun to believe that there’s also an element of simply spending time outside connecting with nature (creation). I don’t know if there’s anything too that, I’m not a scientist, biologist, or theologian, but I recognize a distinct smile when I find time to just be outside doing anything.

    • bgddyjim says:

      “I don’t know if there’s anything too that, I’m not a scientist, biologist, or theologian, but I recognize a distinct smile when I find time to just be outside doing anything”.

      That’s a really good point, to which I’d only add: You and me both and that’s enough for a hypothesis right there, though I’m for skipping the study and calling it good (as I imagine you are too).

  3. secove says:

    True words! I’ll be the first to admit that when I first started working out, I HATED the first six months – but I’ve loved the last 10 years. Now I can’t imagine a day without a workout – it’s the best stress relief, and it can absolutely make the worst day not so bad anymore.

  4. bgddyjim says:

    It’s funny how that works, isn’t it? It took me a few years to really need running…and all of 3 miles to need to ride.

  5. I’m not here to quit and with you around…I don’t think that’s possible! Gotta hit the gym in about 5 minutes! I need it in my life!

  6. […] by an awesome blog post via bgddyjim entitled, “Don’t Quit Five Minutes Before The Miracle Happens…“, I have decided to talk about those last five minutes. Many of us out there, especially […]

  7. […] An Hypothesis It Is… Or Can We Call It A Theory? Posted by bgddyjim on March 24, 2012 Posted in: Cycling, Fitness, Humor, Injury, Running, Swimming, Triathlon. Leave a Comment Fellow Michigander and cyclist, Joseph Lampen and I have teamed up to form a new hypothesis: […]

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