Strong means…

Strong. I think of strong as something a person works toward. Strength doesn’t come naturally, but is acquired through work and perseverance. Strong isn’t a size or a specific shape.

I read an article by a runner where she claimed that people use strong as a sleight toward people who are not of a thin build. I was surprised that someone would think that and I could not disagree with her more.

One of my running friends is fast and she works hard for her body. She also has struggled with eating disorders and a negative body image. Strong is the best way to describe her because skinny is commenting on her physique instead of her effort. She works hard for her build. She naturally carries a small frame. Strong is in no way in reference to her size or comparison of her size.

I don’t want people to take “strong” away from us women when we’re supporting one another. I hope to be strong. I strive for it. I want to be a strong runner and I don’t want others to think that they’re being called something when they hear people tell them they are strong.

Strength comes from within and if we’re going to keep telling everyone that what is on the inside matters, then that is one perfect way to describe another person. Remember that there are going to be times where you feel like people notice something about you that you’re more attuned to than anyone else. Most of the time, those people are too wrapped up in the things that they are preoccupied by to notice the things you’re insecure about.

I’m encouraging everyone to proceed with strength. Do that thing you want to do, but feel too intimidated by what others will think. Find out if you enjoy it. Then, nothing should stop you from doing it. *I’m talking about fitness and sports, not hopping in to a bear’s cage in hopes of becoming lifelong pals.

Please, if you see someone do something that inspires you, let them know you see their strength.

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We Plan, The Universe Laughs

By: Jenn M.

The Streak

I planned to do the holiday streak and spread it out a little further and go until my January 5th birthday. I did not make it past December 19th thanks to gastroenteritis that left me feeling too weak to get out of bed for a little over a day. I’m being generic since it will remain a mystery what made me sick in the first place. It could’ve been sushi or cookie dough and it could’ve been kid germs.

Winter Whine

I picked back up and tried to stay on top of doing a mile a day once I felt better. Knowing I’d broken the streak made it easier to just brush it off as something to do later. I have been consistently working out, though. The weather and winter break just isn’t allowing it to be outside as much as I’d like it to be. I feel a little caged at this point. No early winter training has ever gone quite right since I started running.

I like running in the snow because it insulates sound and it is more peaceful outside. It’s like the world is giving me the peace I crave. I am not a fan of the cold, but I have a lot of gear to prepare for it. I like a challenge that makes me feel tougher. I’m not talking about stepping out when it is dangerous to be in the elements for even a few minutSes. That’s unnecessary practice because one only gets to lose a nose once.

Plan vs Reality

I planned perfect attendance for my Winter Warriors group program. Getting sick meant I missed a gym session. Not only did I not want to miss that chance to decompress, I wanted to actually get the attendance I’ve been trying to get the past 3 years. There is an incentive for perfect attendance, but I just want to be able to say that I accomplished perfect attendance. Perfect anything and it’s a safe bet I’m going for the title. Except the perfect week reference from HIMYM. Not that.

This is my last week of Winter Warriors. I still get one incentive for my attendance, which is great. Except that I know I missed that one gym session and I’m nuts.

Upcoming

I will be mentoring again. It has been a little over a year since I last mentored any runners. Fortunately, I’m in the 5k program. The distance is nice and I don’t need to train any longer until summer. This also offers me the opportunity to run with people who are just getting into running and remind me why I started and stayed. I found a notebook in a stack I took a photo of my page 1. I’ll bet it was in 2014 before I’d run my first half marathon and when I’d gotten serious about it. Not all plans get sidelined and sometimes they work out really well.

If you ever feel like quitting, remember why you started in the first place:

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I can cross things off that list and I can add things to it, but this is why I started and this is what is at the heart of what I do. I want to keep running for the same reasons.

Why did you start your fitness journey? What brought you to your favorite workout? Make a list for yourself on paper or online and save it where you can go back and reference it from time to time. Don’t change it. Use a different page to update or edit. Then, remember the thoughts that were at the core of your personal journey.