Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hi. My Name is Jill and I’m a Big Girl Athlete

I’ve posted before that I haven’t considered myself an athlete for most of my life. Mostly, because of my body size. I don’t look like an athlete. But there’s no denying that I am. 
My trainer mentioned the other day that a friend of hers (who happens to be a big girl) gets frustrated when people act surprised that she’s an athlete. I see where she’s coming from. I mean, you don’t have to be tall and skinny to be an athlete. I can totally understand someone getting frustrated that someone assumes they’re not an athlete because of their size. Don’t judge a book by its cover. (You should read me first. I have a great plot line; and a surprise ending!) 
But I happen to enjoy watching the surprise on peoples’ faces when they find out I run marathons. It kind of fun to watch the expressions pass over their face as they: size me up, try to decide if I’m joking. Then the eye brow raise when they realize I’m not, followed by the smile of awe that a big girl can run marathons. 
I like breaking people’s stereotypes. But even more, I like being an example of what people can do. After they say, “Wow.” I say, “Yeah, I love it. So what do you like to do?”
Rarely, do I get the answer of, “I run too.” Or any activity for that matter. I do sometimes get, “Well, I wanted to start running  but....” But I find it odd that I don’t know a lot of people who have a passion for an activity. 
Why do I care? I don’t care so much what people do with their time. But when you have a passion for something, you don’t want others to miss out on the joy you experience. You know what I mean? Like, if you are really into stamp collecting, then you want others to know how fun it is because you are sure they’ll enjoy it as much as you do. 
Of course, not everyone will enjoy stamp collecting. But it’s hard to understand that when you are a hard-core philatelist. 
So it’s hard for me to understand why other people aren’t into regular activities either. People will tell me they don’t have time, they are too old, too fat, they have kids, etc etc. But I keep thinking if they knew how good it makes you feel and how fun it is, they will make time for it, not worry about their age or weight and they would take their kids with them to enjoy the activity too. 
I know it’s hard to move from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one. But for me, it was just about finding the activity that made me feel good. The trick however, is to give activity a fair chance to hook us. After listening to me expound about the joys of endorphins for about the millionth time, a friend of mine went to a cardio class. He came back and told me, “I don’t know what you are talking about! I sweated for an hour in that damn class and the endorphins never showed up!” 
My husband and I chuckled. Endorphins usually don’t show up the first day. The first day your body is just trying to survive this new assault on its status quo. It doesn’t know what is happening or what to do about it. It’s not until you repeat this process several times that the body realizes you are going to keep doing this crazy thing. So it better do something about it. That’s when it starts pumping out the endorphins. That’s when you get hooked. 
It’s like budging a boulder downhill. It takes a lot of effort at first. But once you get it rolling, there’s no stopping it! 
So go out, try something. Give it a good push! 

No comments: