Motivation – it is such a tricky and transitory concept when it comes to fitness. This concept has changed much in my life with the patience and grace that comes from circumstances over time. When I was a child, teenager, and young adult I was simply active. I was in organized sports through half of my college career when I finally had enough of the NCAA system. I went to practice, I worked hard, it was what I did almost like an automated robot ready to compete.
When my head was lifted from the sand to explore what life had to offer away from the track and soccer field I chose to head to the outdoors. I had lived most of my life in an urban concrete jungle and took off for the wilds of NGOs out of the country and eventually a backcountry AmeriCorps position in Montana. Backpacking and the strength developed from carrying work tools and life possessions on my back became my new metric of fitness. I was motivated by nature, exploration, and living in the present.
I had to return to the academic world eventually and was pursing wildlife biology as an undergraduate and ecology as a graduate. For field research I had to keep fit but found myself back in an awesome, narcissistic groove of cross-training with backpacking, tree climbing, and running some killer times just because I was on the go at elevation pretty often. I was prepping for a 1:45 half-marathon when the patience and grace that come with time left me for a while after a car accident.
Life’s circumstances can take you to a low place from time to time. I was at my lowest as I had to leave a PhD program and learn how to walk again. I went from flying on my feet as I packed on mileage to being in constant pain and stuck in a bed. It took a year-and-a-half to walk while still having a bit of pain. I think it took about five years for my ego to finally walk from my academic tract. It was the therapy no one ever knows that they need when they become a yoga instructor that got me to a reconciliation of where my body and present life were.
So what motivates me now? I am still jazzed out of my mind that I can walk and run again. I will never forget the depression I had after my car accident, I am grateful for my mobility. My mobility is currently hampered with a second pregnancy and that ensuing joy. I am very mindful of my fitness as I attempt a second home birth with teaching a good deal of yoga, plus doing my cardio and strength work. My current fitness motivation is another home birth.
I already have my eye on post-partum motivation too – taking it easy and letting my body heal with slow heart rate monitor training to prep for a 2014 race season. After my first child I did a 1/2 marathon 4 months post-partum, it was fun but I think my diastasis recti took the brunt of the training. This time around I am challenging myself for the patience and grace to rest and train smarter. I suppose pragmatism for changing circumstances is a great way to describe my lifelong fitness motivation.
Kia Ruiz blogs at bodhibear.net and teaches yoga locally in the Denver/Boulder area and nationally at conferences and corporate retreats. Her new bundle of joy is set to arrive around the spring equinox.