I just got home from my 5th workout from my Couch to 5k app and while I was out slogging my way through a walk/jog, it occurred to me that while my pride is hurt a bit, starting over, back from the very beginning, actually isn’t so bad after all.
To give you a brief history…
I started CrossFitting in January last year. So after about 5 months into it, I found my groove. I made the leaderboard at my CrossFit gym for Annie, I held the one-minute max rep push up challenge record, I even did the Memorial Day Murph challenge as prescribed in 55 minutes. *For those of you that don’t speak WOD, Murph is a benchmark hero workout consisting of a 1-mile run, 300 squats, 200 push ups, 100 pull ups and finishes with a 1-mile run for time. It ain’t easy.
Over the summer I got my working deadlift weight to match my body weight, managed to throw 105# over my head and hold it there for a few seconds and improve my cardio stamina. By fall, I did a GoRuck Light and Tough Mudder within 7 days of each other–while on a Whole30. Not bad for a girl that was always told she would never be athletic.
Buuuuuut then the trouble started.
I had surgery mid-October and discovered I had advanced-stage endometriosis. Doh! Post-surgery my hormones decided to revolt and turn me into the Incredible Hulk–emotionally speaking, not physically. And naturally this was timed with the onset of gloomy, rainy days that define Pacific Northwest weather, so there goes my natural Vitamin D. Winter just sucked.
With my book in full swing and a deadline 3 months away, I had to choose the book over everything else. Creating 100 recipes plus helpful, insightful content in about 3 months translates to “you will have no life…and be forced to eat too much of the same recipe until you get it right”. So I did what any other normal recipe writer would do–gave away the food and ordered a pizza… more than once… like maybe on a weekly basis. Don’t judge me.
But when you have a broken thyroid, an autoimmune condition flaring up like the Fourth of July, adrenal fatigue, rainclouds that loom for weeks on end and a deadline that pretty much dictates no more gym time, the inevitable occurs: weight gain.
For those who want to say that I shouldn’t be judging how I look and how size isn’t a metric for health–I’m inclined to disagree with you. You see, when I am taking care of myself, eating the way I know my body needs, exercising properly, getting sufficient rest and in other words, loving myself, it yields the person on the left. When I’m neglecting to prioritize my exercise-to-rest balance, failing to eat the proper foods, and when I let my hormones get out of control (mainly through improper nutrition and inadequate rest), then it results in the body on the right. This is comparing me against me, not me against Christmas Abbott.
The fact is we can’t always be awesome at everything. Life happens. We get overloaded, pulled in a hundred directions, our bodies get sick or fail us, we gain or lose too much weight… But there’s a bright side if you remember this one thing: success is found in the pursuit.
While today I only did 20 push ups… on my knees… without my dignity, by next week it’ll be 20 on my toes and then eventually I’ll get back up to 58 reps in 60 seconds like I did last year. Starting over gives you the chance to recall previous successes–your memory becomes your strongest coach, your biggest cheerleader.
But here’s the flip side to that encouraging sentiment. If you are like me, then you are constantly looking for the next challenge to tackle, always pushing for the next thing. This is what I recently learned: I will never summit my mountain. There will always be a heavier bar to push, a faster time to clock, a better recipe to write, a better meal plan for the week… So why not scrap the idea of arriving and instead tune into the fulfillment of this moment? Right now. Today. Even if it means 20 lousy knee-push ups and 20 minute walk/run three times a week. Success is found in the pursuit.