Bet you didn't know....

...people used to call me the fish. Well they did, more on that later.

Working out is a commitment just like anything else. Keeping your room clean, eating healthy, going to work, staying organized. None of these things come easily but with a little dedication, and a can-do attitude, we get them done.

I've been an athlete my whole life. My love for sports started at a young age when my grandfather taught me to swim by holding onto the wall of the pool and kick-kick-kicking my legs. From that first dip in the pool I don't think anyone knew quite how big of a role swimming would play in my life, but year after year, despite injuries and pure exhaustion, I've always been grateful to my grandfather for encouraging me to swim and stick with it.

For years I was a swimmer. That was my identity. I swam before school, after school, on vacation, on command (I faced more "let's race I bet I can beat you" challenges than I can count and always won). Eventually my family started provoking strangers to challenge me, knowing my small 5 foot frame and then-scrawny arms would fool anyone into thinking they'd crush me. Suckers.

As I got older and everything changed, swimming remained a constant. Throughout high school my childhood nickname 'the fish' stayed true and as each swim meet rolled around, friends and family made it into stands whenever they could. But the one person who was always there, for every single meet- no matter how far away, what time, or what season- was my grandfather. He'd never tell me he was coming or let me know he was there, but every meet I knew he was watching. He'd sit in the back of the bleachers and after my races I'd make my way up to him. He'd put his hand on my shoulder and say the same thing every time "in that had me worried until the bitter end, it was like you were waiting for them to challenge you, then when you got tired of waiting you took off". It became a game- how close could I let them come only to surge at the end, pretty darn close I found out. I'm lucky that my anything-but-taught, highly unconventional, "lazy" swimmer habits never impacted me. I don't kick when I swim freestyle, ever, and I don't do alternate breathing (I always breather on the right) but nevertheless, in the pool I was untouchable.

Junior year I hurt my shoulder pretty badly in one too many IM- 100 butterfly combos, but kept it to myself for fear of being benched. We all know how this story ends...I swam injured, hurt my shoulder beyond repair, had to give up my love of laps and now feel a faint clicking every time I move my left arm. Whattadream.

The purpose of this post is not to detail my shoulder's musical talents but is instead aimed at shedding some light on why I am the way I am and how deep my relationship with athletics truly goes. People at work call me crazy because I go to a class or get a run in most days before work but the thing is, that's normal for me. I was an athlete before I was a straight-A student, or teenager, or Maryland grad or a content strategist. I was an athlete before I was anything else and even though my shoulder injury rocked me to the core (I didn't workout at all for almost the first 2 years of college,- part withdrawal, part pain, part anger) I've been able to find joy in exercise again, on dry land this time.

My swimming coach used to joke that when I ran, I was a fish out of water. I was slow, uncoordinated and had NO stamina (even though I could swim laps consistently for 3 hours). I didn't like running, didn't understand it and frankly- didn't need it. Fast forward 8 years, a shoulder injury, an NYC address (how many pools do you know of in NY? yea me too) and it's a whole different ball game. When I moved to the city 2 years ago I vowed to become "a runner". I would be one of those people, decked out in LuLu Lemon spandex and brightly colored workout tanks, gliding along Central Park West with ease. Reality: I can only run in shorts, nothing from lu lu lemon fits me right (no matter the size), and grandma-shuffle would be a better description than gliding. Recently my best friend Marlee' told me about a challenge she'd given herself (I believe from Runners World originally) to run a mile everyday. Just get out there and run 1 mile, and anything else you did is a bonus. She said she'd had 18 days of consecutive success and recommended we (my gals) all try it. Seeing as I'd already run 3 days in a row, I decided to take on the challenge and today is day 7! It's been great to have a challenge motivating me to get out there and log some miles and so far, each day, I've done more than the required mile (not by much but more is more!). I'm so excited to see how long I can keep this going and how much further I can push myself.

It's been a big change over the last few years to transition from being a swimmer and to figure out how to re-incorporate athletics into my life without the structure of a team and while I'm still learning- I'm on my way. Running is never going to be easy for me. I'm never going to be one of those people who bounces off the sidewalk and looks down only to realize they've logged 5 miles- I count each tenth of a mile- but nevertheless, I'm out there. I lace up my sneakers, put my hair on top of my head, blast my most recently downloaded pop song and I go and right now- that's good enough for me.

Mid-run in Boston a few weeks ago

Have a great weekend everyone. I'm celebrating my birthday tonight and lots of other family occassions this weekend. Stay cool, and happy running!