Tagged in: Motivation and Personal Fitness Journey, Move Live Learn Blog, Wellness

Mover thoughts from the Birthday Girl

Secrets shared for a healthy, productive and satisfying perspective on life

I’ll keep it short - I have some partying to do. By partying I mean playing dress up with my two little ones. They love birthday parties so we’re having pretend tea with the stuffies in honor of my 37th big one. I’m not one to walk around and tell the world it’s my birthaversary (yep, I eloped on my 30th) but I’m pulling out all the stunts in hopes that I have folks’ attention. I don’t have much time (the party animals should wake from their nap shortly), so let me cut to the chase. This morning I took the girls for a run in Queeny Park. It’s really (REALLY - yes, I’m shouting) hilly. It’s so hilly that when I’m pushing the double stroller, I sometimes think I’m going backwards. I don’t care though. It has made me a tougher runner (mentally) and completing the runs with the girls leave me feeling empowered to take on the world (this can’t be a bad thing?). I realize that my speed slows down because I’m pushing a lot of weight, yet that while my speed is slower I’m improving strength (and, role modeling). So, I remain a happy camper.

You see, it’s not always (or, in many cases, ever at all) about speed - or lack thereof. When walking/running for health benefit it’s about getting out there and doing it than how fast you are moving. That’s not to say goals related to speed aren’t worthwhile - they are for many, but not for all.

Nope. You won’t hear me beating myself up when I post a really slow time. My friends will tell you - I’m the queen of self-talk (those years of sport and exercise psychology classes were not a waste of coin).

I wish everyone was privy to such self talk...
This morning, a runner was passing a walker while going up a hill. Not at a fast pace - the hills are steep. I was coming up behind the both of them. The walker complimented the runner for running up the hill. The runner’s response, “I’m brutal on these hills. It’s embarrassing. This woman is pushing kids and keeping up. I should turn around.” She was serious. Sad, eh?

I realize not everyone wants to receive “life coach levels” of encouragement during a bad run. So, I kept my mouth shut (a first?). I didn’t want to draw more attention to myself than my rattling stroller was already drawing. But, you know what happened? The empowering mood I felt while connecting to nature prior to coming across this exchange was altered. I felt so sad for both women. I couldn’t get it out of my head. The empathetic nature of my personality resulted in my thinking:

How might the walker feel about herself if the runner is proclaiming that “she’s brutal” for getting passed on a hill?

How might the runner feel throughout the rest of the run, or when she completes this very tough route, after talking to herself in such a way?

“No one is going to like you more.”
My dear friend Suzanne (a sub-3 hour marathoner) has a saying (which, I love). “No one is going to like you more.” Believe it or not, when she reached her goal of a sub-3 hour marathon - she had the same family and friends as before this incredible accomplishment. No more/no less than if she ran a 3:59 as opposed to a 2:59 for the 26.2 mile jaunt.

Whether you run fast...or you run slow...or you walk fast....or you walk slow - it doesn’t matter. You see, speed does not define you as a person. What does define all of us “movers” is that we are taking responsibility for our own health.

In turn, you will:

  • Be more productive.
  • Be less likely to develop many diseases.
  • Have a better sense of self-esteem (think of how bad those folks who aren’t exercising are talking to themselves).
  • Meet people through physical activity.
  • Be more likely to make healthier choices related to nutrition.
  • Be less taxing on the health care system.

My birthday wish(es)
[I’m getting stingy in my own age - have more than one wish]

  1. No matter your performance, if you get out there and try - feel good about yourself. Repeat this statement: “I showed up. This is what matters.
  2. If you do not meet a goal, realize there is always next time. Repeat these statements: “The most ‘successful’ people are often the ones who didn’t quit when things got a bit tough. I am a doer, not a quitter.
  3. You speak to yourself the way you would speak to your favorite person in the world. Personally, I would never tell my kids that they “stink” or they are “fat” or they are “not good enough”. What would that do to their ability to reach their fullest potential? What would it do to mine?

I saw the woman after my second loop of the park was completed. She was sitting on a park bench and enjoying some water by the parking lot. I smiled at her and told her that I thought any person who shows up to take care of her/his health in the park is pretty amazing. She smiled back and responded she never thought of it that way. I kept going and gave her a thumbs up. I hope it made a difference - but I don’t take myself too seriously to think that I have that power.

It’s just that..the Facebook messages, Tweets, texts, and E-mails (especially the gift card from my Mom and Dad via E-mail - Whaoo!) wishing me a Happy Birthday warmed my heart more than you can imagine. Gosh, if we all spoke to ourselves so nicely we could all walk around feeling ‘loved’ - as I do - on this 8th day of July, 2013.

How about you? (I love hearing from you)
What areas of your life do you think you can improve how you speak to yourself?

How has speaking kindly to yourself aided different areas of your life?

  • your mom

    Best article ever!! Inspiring. May you have many many more birthdays and just as many anniversaries to share with your family.

  • John Stanec

    Hey Amanda,very nice post. I could totally picture you running around Queeny with that dreaded stroller! Your girls are going to remember those fun rides! Thanks for sharing the moment. So glad to have you as my sister!


    OMG i love your Suzanne quote! what a freeing notion that whatever you choose to do, it’s about you; not about your attempts to manipulate anyone’s thoughts or feelings. and how fun is that? it makes everything about play!!and happy belated birthday. 37 is almost as good as 56