Today’s post comes from Ellie, as Jon is wrastling with the Interwebs in San Diego . . .

Typing that title made me think of the lemurs from Madagascar . . . who are awesome. Why are lemurs so awesome?! I guess you can’t question it; you just have to accept it.

You KNOW they like to move it, move it.

Anywho, back to the question: am I actually physically fit? Sure, I go to the gym and clock in some hours there, I run a few kilometers a couple times a week, and I eat relatively healthily. So I would think I am fit, in shape, a strapping young lass. . . . But maybe I’m wrong.

I noticed it first when Jon and I did our first official 5k in December. Granted, I had just recently gotten back into running and had only prepared for the Reindeer Run a couple weeks before by doing one or two 5-kilometer runs. It wasn’t ideal and I didn’t feel completely ready, but I had run more than that for years! All through college I would run laps around Forest Lawn (the same cemetery in which the Reindeer Run took place), and in Germany I would run until I got lost and then have to somehow navigate my way home before dark. (Mom and Dad, sorry about my lack of sound judgement at that time . . . but at least I made it home! Only once did someone ask me to get in his car with him, and I said “Nein, danke!”)

Well color me surprised when I struggled to finish a 5k through Forest Lawn. I think they did some landscaping in there since I last ran it. They made it more hilly, I swear.

So while I was wheezing with my hands on my hips, doing my best to power-walk up the hill that lasted a mile, I was thinking “What happened?!” I hadn’t felt that crappy while running since ninth-grade JV soccer, when I thought I had sports-induced asthma. In reality, I think I was just out of shape back then. But, man, did I want an inhaler. All the cool kids had inhalers . . . which is the opposite of what you would normally think when talking about “cool kids.” But back to the point: I’ve gotten so comfortable with my workouts at the gym and my short trots with the pup that I forgot to push myself every now and again. My body has gotten used to it, too. It knows what’s up. It’s thinking, “Here we go. We’re on this machine, legs bobbing up and down for half an hour. Then we move to another machine, legs swishing back and forth for another half hour. We got this; easy peasy.”

No one is smiling right before they use their inhalers.

I’ve been reading Jon’s posts about changing up his routine and doing speed 5ks and, while it scares me a little (flashbacks to the wheezing and all), I know it’s what my body needs. I really want to run in more official races and work at running a half marathon, but I’ve got to push myself to go farther, to run faster, and to build up my endurance. I want to be able to run a 5k and then feel like I could run 5 more, a somewhat crazy concept at this point in time. I want to come home after an exciting workout at the gym and think, “Take THAT body! Didn’t know that was coming, did you?!” But recently I have developed a habit of forming habits. When I say I have to push myself, I mean it. If there is a way I could reach behind myself and shove myself toward a different machine, that’s what I need to do. (If anyone knows how I can do this, please share. It might also help tone my arms.)

So, to sum it up, my message is to change it up. Like me, you might feel like you can jump around on that leg machine thing (I still don’t know the name of it) for hours—and maybe you can. But are you really pushing yourself and your body? Before you get into a habit/rut like me, change something. Keep your body confused! Try a different type of workout, like swimming or Zumba (all the cool kids also do Zumba); try running faster than you ever have, if even just for fifteen seconds; try running a different route, maybe one with a few more hills. I think I might try all of these things I just listed as part of my March personal challenge. Try something out! Let me know how it goes!!!