March 11, 2014

I’m a Runner, but I Don’t Do Marathons. ~ Bethany Mullins

Erika Mastny running

For some of us women, it’s unnatural and overwhelming to drop everything and welcome the stamp of fitness on our lives.

We find we just want to be what we’re already good at: dainty, strong on the inside, with a kick-ass style. We’re women who want to be proud of ourselves in a sexy, classy, feminine way. We’re fluid creatures who don’t like to be told how many reps, miles or minutes we need to achieve goddess status. We are already goddesses.  

It’s been my experience that many women who go on a weight-loss journey come out the other end a fitness hog. That’s great for them, but it’s not my cup of tea. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s wonderful that fitness is making a comeback. It’s saving people’s lives and making everyone happier and healthier. But it is possible to overdo it, and I see that often the pendulum swings back.

I’ve been there—overwhelmed and confused as to how I’m supposed to find balance and movement in a way that speaks truly to me.  I know how exhausting it is for those who look at fitness as the ultimate goal, that to be a runner or a yogi, they have to fit a certain mold. Not so.

What I’ve learned to do is wake up in the morning with my own agenda on movement, with my own personal goals and human setbacks.

I rule my body with patience and compassion. I wake up surprised one morning because I have gotten further, longer or faster than the last. This is bliss. When we finally learn this, we’ve taken the bad-seed of comparison out of our thought process. We are finally free from the heavy weight of numbers, measurements and unrealistic goals. We will challenge ourselves with  these firm intentions: We can, and we like it.

What one may like another may loath. Being clear on where we’ve come from on a personal and physical level can shape the future of our body in a beautiful way. We are, after all, a unique story. Make movement as personal and special to you as your dearest family heirloom. Become as true to your body as you are to your most intimate love, and watch it blossom.

Nurturing your body with compassion and challenging it with ambition are the keys to growth and keeping our interest in exercise. Relax and have fun with it. I now know not to let the fitness trends and my 12-mile-a-day neighbor change the delicate yet fierce journey that is my time with my body. No one is our limit, and no one can compare to the beauty of this relationship.


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Editorial Assistant: Pamela Mooman/Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photos: elephant journal archives

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