I hate running. I hate exercise. I hate being with my own thoughts. I like sitting at home. I like drinking wine. I like dedicating all my time to work and achieving.
This storyline had played out in my head for years. On repeat. The long playing narrative of my life making grooves so deep they were in danger of being ground in forever.
I don’t remember being very sporty as a child. As an adult there were pockets where I exercised: for a few years I swam regularly, and while travelling we walked many Australian hills and gorges, becoming almost accidentally fit in the process. But always the same narrative played in the background. It was never done with joy.
Now getting out of bed at 6.45am to put on my running trainers, or actively choosing a Kettlebell session mid-day while working in the house, I wonder about my motivations and what has changed.
Mulling it over I reckon four things have changed my tune.
Firstly, being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I feel sorry for the newly diagnosed me who used to lie in bed in the morning feeling terrible with super high blood sugars (18-20s). I shout from the future, “GO FOR A WALK!”. It took me a few years to clock that exercise had a massive impact on my blood sugars. When I did, I wanted to be able to do something that didn’t require a gym, or equipment, and could be done anywhere. I settled on running. Being able to help try to manage my diabetes – lower blood sugars, stability - through exercise gives me a sense of control.
Secondly, getting fitter. I wasn’t at all fit, so there was no pleasure in sport. There’s a pain barrier with running after which you reach your ‘forever pace’. I hadn’t ever reached the pain barrier and the thought of running forever – pah! Starting to get past the pain has made me appreciate the added benefits of exercise: being fitter, stronger, mentally and emotionally better, and lots of other things besides.
Thirdly, mediation. I picked up meditation shortly after my diagnosis to cope with the mental and emotional debris of diagnosis. After a few months of learning, practicing, letting go of thoughts, storylines and patterns of thinking, I realised I didn’t have to carry that narrative anymore. I didn’t have to hate running, or like staying at home instead with a glass of wine. Maybe things could change.
Lastly, space. As a self-employed, working Mum, it is tough to even find the space to breathe sometimes. Running feels like space (although I can’t always breathe) and something to do that’s just mine. It’s a reason to just be.
Add them all together and this cocktail of changes have become my motivation – and we all need motivation to change.
They’re my reason for getting out of bed at 6.45am, for adding more weight, for trying harder, faster, longer. They drive me to keep running and try weights – despite the difficulties with my blood sugars. To sit with my thoughts, meditate and create the space I need in my day to look after myself and my diabetes. Collectively they swirl together, serving to make me feel better, fitter, stronger and more in control of my body and my health.
Now, I’ll drink to that…but it’ll have to be an alcohol-free beer!