When I first set my sights on crossing the finish line at the More/Fitness Half-Marathon this year, I did so mostly in vain. As a big-time planner (sometimes to a fault!), I saw the half-marathon as an opportunity to set and accomplish a fitness goal. I saw it as a no-fail excuse to stick to a winter workout routine and maintain a healthy weight. And as temperatures chill and sunlight hours dwindle, I saw it as a way to preserve my sanity and avoid the blues I usually feel this time of year. I also saw it as a fun and effective way to preserve my health and keep my immune pumped up during cold and flu season. Lastly, I wanted my family—especially my two sons, 13 and almost 10—to be proud of their mom.
What I have realized, especially as of late, is that my motivation to accomplish my fitness goal (or just get through the day, for that matter) comes from outside myself. Several friends motivate me to take advantage of being able-bodied, to set and achieve fitness goals, and to find a way to not sweat the small stuff. And not just for myself, but for them as well.
An older family friend who loves to walk and play golf was recently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and continues at times to suffer from debilitating pain. One of my favorite walking partners (who, by the way, usually outpaces me) recently had emergency back surgery. She’s recovering well and is able to walk, but she certainly misses her workouts. Despite it all, she takes the time to tell me that my Facebook posts about my training inspire her. (I’m not sure she knows how much that means to me.) And a BFF who recently found out she has a condition that makes it tough for her to ski and be out in the cold always sees the glass as half full and maintains her active lifestyle and vibrant spirit despite her pain.
A dear friend, who was recently diagnosed with cancer in several parts of his body, and his wife (with whom my family has spent some quality time) are teaching me what it truly means to be motivated and determined. They have accepted this great challenge and turned their lives upside down to fight the odds, all while generously sharing their journey with friends and family. Although I have always admired their spirits (not to mention I’ve always been in awe of their athletic prowess—which includes countless races, including marathons)—the grace, determination and positivity they display each and every day are beyond inspiring.
I write about these friends not to expose them but to say that they have taught me that no matter what life throws at you, you truly have a choice in how you respond and react; that you can choose to curl up in a ball and accept defeat, or you can stand tall and fight as hard as you can no matter what the odds.
On my long walk to the More/Fitness Half-Marathon finish line and on the longer walk that is my life, my friends have shown me that I walk not only for myself, but for them. And whether it’s friends facing challenges with unbelievable strength, grace, and positivity, or the Giants winning six straight games to go to Super Bowl XLVI, I hope through these and other examples that I can teach my sons that it isn’t over ‘til it’s over and that you should always fight the good fight. And that no matter what curveballs life throws your way, you do have a choice.
What I completed in Week 4: January 23-30, 2012
Monday: 8-mile walk outside
Tuesday: 1.5-mile walk on treadmill plus 5 arm exercises (2 sets of each) and 200 crunches
Wednesday: 5.2-mile walk outside
Thursday: 3.8-mile walk outside
Friday: 40 minute weight training from Thrive by Vonda Wright, MD
Saturday: 4.0-mile walk outside
Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN is an award winning registered dietitian, creator of The ZIED GUIDE blog and e-newsletter, the author of Nutrition At Your Fingertips, and co-author of Feed Your Family Right!, and So What Can I Eat?! with Ruth Winter, MS. Visit Elisa at elisazied.com and follow her on Twitter at @elisazied.
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