This week's blog assignment was to write about overcoming a personal hurdle. What did I learn during the process? Advice to someone facing a similar hurdle.
My hurdle was exercise.
When I was growing up, I was never very athletic, and I struggled to even get a "C" in P.E. class in high school. Pretty sad when that class kept me from get a 4.0 average. However, when my children were young, they seemed to thrive on activity. My daughter joined a skating team when she was 6 and all 3 of them joined the swim team that year, my boys were 5 and 3. The swim team was their life thereafter.
My kids' love of activity encouraged me to learn to become more active. After our family joined the local Y, I attempted a variety of classes over the years, but my lack of coordination coupled with my extreme shyness usually meant I would end up not enjoying the class so I would quit.
However, I eventually ended up joining an adult swim team known as the Masters. The coach was a man who had polio in his younger life, but he never let that stop him. While his disability prevented him from some sports, it did not prevent his ability to swim which he did every morning before work. He was very encouraging and worked with me to learn to swim better. While I was never an awesome swimmer, I did come to enjoy it.
During the summer the Masters would do family events such as swimming lakes around the southern Oregon area. I remember my first lake swim - it was 1 mile in distance. You swam out 1/2 mile around a buoy and back the 1/2 mile. This was my first time of swimming in open water and the little fishes really freaked me out. I was very slow, but after my coach completed his swim, he swam out and swam in with me. I finished the 1 mile. At that event my middle son, Lee, on the other hand opted to swim 2 miles just for the fun of it.
I even participated in a few Master's swim meets, one with my daughter the year she graduated from high school. That has provided me with many happy memories.
The Masters swim team also participated annually in a swim conducted Labor Day over the Columbia River. The first time I went was so that Lee could swim it. I was shocked when we arrived. This looked like the ocean to me with the waves. I told Lee he could not do it if he chose (I was afraid). He said no way. The next year Lee and a friend joined the swim. The third year my young son, Mark, joined Lee and his friend and the Master's coach talked me into doing it. I was still afraid. For me the most difficult part was jumping off the boat - this meant I went underwater which was not my favorite thing to do. But, with my younger son's waiting (unwillingly) for me to surface and catch my breath, I completed that swim, 1.1 miles that year.
One thing I learned in swimming was to not give up. During warm-ups, after just a few laps, I would become so exhausted, but I learned that if I pushed though, that exhaustion eventually passed and I was able to swim 1500 or more yards. I have found that to be true with other exercises as well.
Also, the friendship of belonging to a team was awesome. I learned that even though I wasn't the fastest or the best my teammates accepted and encouraged me. Belonging to the Master's taught me the value of team spirit.
Over the years I have learned to enjoy being active as well as being less self conscious. I now find that I feel so much better on the days I exercise.
So, my advice to you is to
and never give up. Keep searching and trying new things and you just may surprise yourself and find you are the same way.
I no longer have access to a pool and I really miss swimming. However, I have found that I also enjoy dance - ballet, jazz and especially Zumba, even though I have two left feet and I am usually going the opposite direction of everyone else. Other activities I regularly do include yoga, QiGong, strength training, walking, hiking and biking.
I have learned that if I join challenges I can achieve so much more than I can otherwise. My challenge for 2013 is to accumulate 1,000 miles of activity. This amounts to 2.74 miles 365 days. That doesn't sound like a lot, but this is every single day of 2013 and I am trying to do it without counting strength training time. Right now I am a little behind, but I still have faith in myself that I will be able to achieve it.
and trying until you find what your exercise passion is.
and you will be glad you kept at it.