Focusing Fitness into Fun

It’s been a while since I've posted anything here, but I'll be changing that soon. Here’s a quick bit about what to expect from the blog from here.

My main posts will still be focused on outdoor adventures and inspirational things that I do. I may throw in some writing posts too, but I’ve been trying to find a good angle for those so it doesn't feel like I’m repeating myself or rehashing the same basic information that you would find everywhere else. In the past, I found that tying them in to things I enjoy like books, shows, or games helps so maybe I'll do more of that.

Anyway, the last few months have been very busy. I finished my degree after a very packed final semester. But even when I was busy with school, I still made time for fitness and here’s why.

Fitness should be fun.

The concept of getting in shape for the sake of being in shape has never been all that appealing to me. I needed something more before I became a gym regular. For me, it was the simple addition of having fun fitness goals, usually centered around activities and accomplishments. Starting last year, I began to sign up for some fitness events to turn my exercise routine into preparation from fun and exciting things. Even while I was busy with classes, I still had a few events to prepare for.

The first of these was the Rex Lee Run 10k. I chose this as a good event to warm up for the other harder events later. With great weather and a great course, I did well but kept a slower pace because I'd be running an even tougher event the next weekend. My final time was about 1 hour 11 minutes.

And the thing I remember best was the little kids that came out to give us high fives in the neighborhood after the halfway point. With such energetic supporters, it was easy to run a little faster for a few blocks.

The weekend after the 10k, I did my first Spartan race, the Las Vegas Spartan Super. It was 8 miles of tough terrain and even tougher obstacles. I jogged through sand, rivers, and hills, but the obstacles killed me more than the running. Everything from lifting heavy things like cement balls, sandbags, or a bucket full of gravel wore me out, so I could barely move by the end.

It was strange how over the course of a race, jumping over six foot walls can become normal, but I loved it. I may have been covered in mud and sweat, but I could hold my finisher medal high with a smile on my face after doing something so tough.

But there wasn't time to rest after that. I had the West Mountain Marathon to prepare for. Going into the race, the weather looked bad, but on race day, it was mostly windy rather than rainy or cold. 26.2 miles is tough on any day, but the amazing orchards, farms, and shoreline along the route helped the miles go by.

Like my last marathon attempt, my tendons started hurting by halfway, so I was worried I’d have to stop as running then walking became painful. Luckily, running events and those who help at them are some of the kindest people I've found. The helper at the the halfway point gave me some advice that I may need better insoles or footwear, and also gave me some ibuprofen. I rested and stretched out my worn out tendons and decided I’d keep trying. It hurt at first, but as the painkillers kicked in, I was able to resume a good speedwalking pace.

The going was still tough, but soon my family found me to cheer me on. I had expected them at the end, waiting for me, but they found me on the course to encourage me. I felt loved as they accompanied me on the remaining part of my journey. My brother and sometimes the dog ran along with me and soon we reached the final stretch of road. I half-ran and half-limped across the finish line. Even if it took a bit more than 7 hours, I had finished a marathon for the first time.

Each of these events helped show me the great things and lasting memories that can be made by making fitness fun. Some of these events and my fitness goals have been scary, but I still did the hard work of showing up and training to achieve them. And I’m grateful for all the love and support I've seen from those who helped me meet these challenges.

With this same attitude, I’m sure I'll continue to do tough events and hikes in the future. For a goal to be fun, it needs to be challenging but achievable, and fitness goals are no different. What that might be will be different for each person. Fitness is all about being able to do the physical activities we’ll find memorable and meaningful.