Last week an email went out to all employees at our company asking if anyone would be interested in forming a softball team to play in a local tournament. I deleted it. Team sports are definitely not my thing.
My immediate negative reaction started the gears turning in my brain.
I grew up with a negative attitude toward physical fitness and exercise because I associated those things with the misery that was gym class. I was so very bad at all of it - running laps, team sports; I hated every minute of it.
Yet here I am now: a person who makes a point to exercise and even kinda thinks it's fun. But I still don't want to play softball.
Somewhere along the line I decided I wanted to run though. The first yearnings actually had nothing to do with physical fitness or weight loss. The first time that I ever remember thinking that I wanted to run was during my mid-twenties. I was having a bit of an identity crisis and experiencing more than a little bit of depression, though at the time I did not realize what it was. And I wanted to run.
I wanted to run because the idea of running away was so appealing. The idea of physically running seemed attractive; it seemed like it must feel so free. That was the image I had in my mind.
These days I'm pretty happy with my life. I feel fortunate that I was able to get to this place. But I still want to run. Now it's not about running away though.
Part of it is absolutely about weight loss. No matter how many times I tell myself that exercise is not going to do it for me, that I have to figure out how to eat to lose weight, I still find myself wanting exercise to be the answer. Running is so often spoken of as the ultimate calorie burner, so I can't help but hope that if I could actually do it, I might lose some of these pounds.
But part of it is also the idea that if I am a fit person, I should be able to run. I'm not sure why I think that exactly. I have absolutely no problem saying that I am crap at team sports and I have no interest in playing them. That does not enter into my vision of fitness. But I can't shake the idea that I should be able to run.
If someone else were saying this to me, I'd say that maybe not everyone is built to be a runner. There are plenty of other things one can do to be fit. But it seems I can't let myself off the hook.
So my question is: What does it mean to be fit?
How does one know they are fit? How do you measure your physical fitness?