As I reflected on 2015 and what I accomplished fitness wise, it was hard for me not to feel disappointed.
I started the year with big goals and plans.
But as the year went on, there was so much injury and so much I didn’t accomplish.
Multiple times I missed boot camp for month long (or longer) stretches when my back went out, and I could hardly get out of bed or move without excruciating pain.
I didn’t run another 1/2.
I gained weight and inches.
I often didn’t feel my best.
It was a tough year.
There were highlights, though.
In between injuries, I managed to run under an 8 minute mile.
(It was 7:59, but I was sill pretty dang happy with that!)
And I completed the stair challenge, running 10, 000 steps in one month.
But even more important to me than those things, was that I kept coming back.
As soon as my back would allow it, I’d come back to boot camp and gingerly start working out again.
The trainers helped me modify, modify, modify, and I’d just do my best and keep going.
And as much as I wanted to focus on all that I didn’t do, I knew I needed to stay positive and look at what I did accomplish, despite the obstacles thrown in front of me.
But it wasn’t easy.
Then something happened on New Year’s day that really helped me have the proper perspective.
It was a moment of clarity.
One that I sorely needed.
We took our kids to Joshua Tree National Park for the day.
We love starting out the new year adventuring to some place new and having new experiences.
And since we love hiking and nature, this was a perfect fit.
The park is full of giant, I mean really enormous, boulders that are perfect for climbing on.
As soon as we stopped at one outcrop of boulders, my 3 older kids were off like mountain goats, quickly climbing out of sight, higher and higher.
My 4 year old was close on their heels, slowed down by his size, but not his determination.
My husband and I helped him along, pulling him up rocks, or handing him down to each other when he couldn’t slide down himself.
We had to hustle to keep up with the big kids, calling their names so we didn’t lose them among the giant boulders.
The rocks at Joshua Tree have a real tooth to them, and felt so different than the slippery, sandstone rocks and cliffs we usually climb.
I loved the way my shoes easily gripped the rocks, making it easy to bound up the smaller ones, or leap from rock to rock.
It was fun to carve out a path over each boulder, finding the best way to the top.
I liked when I made it over the hard ones, pushing with my legs and pulling with my arms.
Sometimes it took more than one try.
Sometimes I wanted to give up because it felt too hard.
But then I’d swing my leg up once more, summon some upper body strength that I thought I’d lost, and make it up and over.
With every giant boulder I conquered, I felt more alive.
I was happy.
And working hard.
But having the best time doing it.
We all were.
There were shouts of joy and laughter.
There was excitement and pride over big rocks mastered.
Bouldering is a great sport!
My goal was to catch up to the kiddos.
I wanted a picture of us all at the top of the rocks, or at least as far as all of us could safely climb.
And as I struggled over one particularly tough rock, straining, grunting, and pushing hard to get up it, I thought to myself, “this is why I work out.”
I stopped for a moment and the weight of that statement really hit me.
This is why I work out.
Not to be skinny.
Not to run 1/2 marathons.
Not to have a flat belly.
Not to be the fastest or the strongest.
All those things are nice–wonderful even.
But they are not why I work out.
I work out so I can go rock climbing with my kids.
I work out so I can carry my 50 pound 4 year old over big rocks.
I work out so I can be an active participant in my kids’ play, rather than watching them from the sidelines.
I work out so I can live a fuller life.
It was such a good reminder.
I may not have met my fitness goals for 2015.
I may even have gone backwards in some ways.
But the fact that I could be there in that moment, climbing and leaping from rock to rock with my kids, meant the whole world to me.
This is why I work out.
We all have to find our why.
For you it might be running a 1/2 marathon.
It might be losing inches and firming up.
It might be playing with your kids at the park instead of sitting on the bench and watching them play.
The why is different for all of us.
Its just important to have one.
Because at some point we will all be in a place where our plans have been derailed.
And we’ll have to ask ourselves, “now what? Why should I keep going?”
So find your why.
And embrace it.
Then do whatever you need to do to make that why your reality.
It will help you through the tough spots.
I’m planning on making 2016 a great fitness year.
Right now I am not sure what that is going to look like.
I’m just starting back to regular workouts, and seeing how my back holds up.
But I do know why I am working out, and why I won’t stop.
And that is what matters.
Cheers to a new fitness goals and finding our why.
Now keep on Living Fit!