June 28, 2010

Running Ahead

Now that I am a co-owner of a fitness company, people automatically assume I have a fairly stringent fitness routine - and they would be spot-on.  As an amateur competitive runner, I've run two full marathons, a 1/2 Ironman triathlon, and nearly 50 other road races from 5K to half-marathon to mile sprint.  I adore running.  I do it nearly every day.  And on the days I don't run, I Spin, row, do yoga or lift weights.

However, only five short years ago I was not a runner, nor a fitness buff.  Nowhere near it, in fact.

In college, a dear friend introduced me to the world of "recreational fitness" - a concept I'd never understood, because for me "working out" was synonymous with "practice," the conditioning aspect of playing varsity sports.  Without a sports-related incentive, I could not fathom why someone would continue going to the gym.  Furthermore, without a coach, I had no idea what to do inside a a gym anyway.

I decided to pick up jogging.  I'd seen a lot of other folks running the loop around our campus - about 2 miles - and I started to join them.  It took me 20 minutes to run the two miles, every time, regardless of weather or effort.  I timed myself every now and then just to make sure I wasn't getting slower, but I was complacent with the 10 total miles the runs added up to each week.

Three years after college, a friend of mine was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, and she and her boyfriend asked me to run a 5K with them to support the CCFA.  "Three miles," I thought, incredulous at the idea.  But I went out there and ran my very first 5K race - in just over 24 minutes.  The friend remarked, "I didn't know you were fast!"  And the truth is, I didn't either.  Her single remark - and the renewed confidence that came along with it - spurned me on a mission to get faster, go further, and most of all, discover myself as a runner.

I share this story because here at bene-fit, we are huge believers in the power of peer support.  Sometimes we are afraid to share our deepest dreams and desires because we are afraid that we're not strong/smart/determined/good enough to reach them.  Other times we put ourselves down because we are convinced that our best effort will still be a failure.  Most often we rule out ideas before even giving them fair consideration because of past experiences that have made us think we can't.

This week, bene-fit asks you to reconsider some of your long-lost health and fitness goals and rediscover your own potential.  In other words, as they say and as my story suggests, give it "the old college try."  Find a local 5K race and contact bene-fit for a personalized training plan.  Download a diet tracker and begin being mindful about the food you are using as fuel for your healthy body.  Discover how good it feels to move your body by taking a dance class like Zumba at your local gym.  

Know that joining up with bene-fit is the first step on a journey toward lifelong health and fitness, supported and encouraged at every mile.  How long will you wait to find your bene-fit?  Contact us today for more information on customized fitness planning, personal training, and more.