Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Identity Crisis

Have you ever noticed that the best compliments come at the oddest times? For me, it's usually when I'm out of my comfort zone. Take, for instance, this afternoon as I'm checking out in Whole Foods. Let me preface this saying that Whole Foods and I are casual strangers. I go in there every now and then, but it's few and far between, and I certainly do not know where anything is except the produce and the salad & hot bars. I went in looking for some frozen steam-able vegetables, but I don't know what I was thinking--that would be pretty contradictory to Whole Foods' philosophy. At least that's the only explanation I can come up with.

So there I am, out of my comfort zone with a practically empty cart containing only a salad bar container of garlicky kale and a Bragg's Ginger Spice Apple Cider Vinegar Drink, which I picked up on a whim. Did I mention that I am in stinky, skimpy gym clothes (think Nike Pro 2" compression shorts and a Ellie top inspired by Lululemon)? Clearly post-workout. So I'm checking out all of my two items when the girl next to me, who is maybe 5 or so years my senior, asks me, "Excuse me--are you a runner?" Without hesitation, I replied, "Yeah!" to which she told me, "I thought so. You have great legs! I wish I had runner's legs like yours. Instead I'm stuck with these chicken legs." She was the only other person I actually noticed was wearing workout gear as well, so it was twice the compliment. But it got me thinking.

Where's Waldo?
Am I a runner? Sure, I run. I tend to enjoy it. Even when I don't, I still do. I know that doesn't sound very logical, I'm a firm believer that running is not only physical but mental as well (and even emotional at times). So while I may not have my head in the game one day, I can certainly enjoy the physical benefits of it. But am I really a runner? Running is only a small portion of fitness for me. I sign up for races here and there, but the last time I truly considered myself a runner was at the peak of my high school cross country and track experience back in 2006-2007.

#winning. I already hate myself for hashtagging that.
So here I am 6 years later questioning what I am. As soon as I responded to the Whole Foods girl, I immediately started questioning myself. It was a quick answer. It was an easy answer. Much easier than telling her, "Well, yes, I do run, but that's only the half of it." How do I explain what I do?

Humidity v.100.0
I have yet to consider myself a bikini competitor. I haven't even stepped foot on stage yet. And even when I do, I would still be hesitant to give myself that title. Does one competition make me a competitor? Does cooking one meal make one a chef?

Then there's the term athlete, which I mentioned in yesterday's post. Yes, I lift. Yes, I strength train and do cardio. Yes, I try new things all the time, and I am competitive. But I think Athlete is a whole other level to which I have not yet reached. YET.

It's easier to say what I am not. I'm not a fitness expert, that's for sure. I don't even have any fitness credentials--no certifications or anything of the likes of that. And yet I love fitness. I'd love to progress further with my training, with my knowledge, with the ability to give the the occasional gym-goer some  (accurate) advice when prompted. I'm enthusiastic, that's for sure...

I have aspirations. I use the word "love" when referring to working out. I'm not afraid to try new things or ask for help. I make workouts a priority, not a chore. So what does that make me? A fitness enthusiast?? Bingo.

For all intents and purposes, I am a Fitness Enthusiast. This is not the beginning for me, nor is it the end. It's merely one step toward one of my goals. And when I succeed with achieving that one, it's onto the next. Because part of being competitive is always choosing the next competition, the next hurdle.

That sums up me. How do you describe what you do/are?

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