Old Memories

So, I'm training for a triathlon. A sprint distance, nothing crazy. Since I've been recovered from disordered eating and exercise, I've kept my love of running, but one thing has changed; I only run outside. I don't think this was a completely conscious choice, but since I've had kids, I have to bring them running, and I can't exactly push them on the treadmill in their stroller, and I've discovered I really love to run outside.

On Sunday I went to the gym for the first time in a long time. I did an easy swim, quickly changed and got on the treadmill. Plugged my ipod in, pushed all the buttons and started running.

And all the memories came back. Like a Mack truck.

The smell of the gym, the people there, the sound of the treadmill. The digital time ticking, telling me how much time has elapsed, how many miles I have run, and of coarse, how many calories I have burned. I would race the clock to see if I could make a certain distance before the time got there. Or, I would run until I burned x amount of imaginary calories. I wonder if that ever made my happy.

On Sunday I ran for only 20 minutes, but in that time I thought about how I used to be when I was on the treadmill. Thinking obsessing about calories, wondering how much more distance I could take, hoping my legs wouldn't buckle out from under me. Trying to ignore the hungry feeling in my stomach. And on and on. And thinking.....that was normal.

After the 20 minutes was up, I stopped. The old me would have pushed on for another 20 or 30 minutes, just to...I don't know. Prove something.

In times like that, when I see my old ghost, I take note of how far I've come. I'm sad for a moment. Thinking of how happy I thought I was. Then happy, taking note of how "grown up" I feel now. Exercising to be fit. Huh. Now, that makes me happy. I'm sure of it.

8 comments:

Alex said...

That is wonderful that you can now listen to your body and stop when it tells you to stop. I also enjoy running outside so much more than the treadmill. Who wouldn't want to stare at the beautiful outdoors versus a mirror image of you sweating!

Andrea said...

@Alex- I agree! I don't think I realized how much I love running outside until I got back on the treadmill!

Kiersten said...

I rarely go to the gym anymore. Even though I am exercising for completely different reasons than I did when I had an ED, I still get bad memories when I go to the gym. I also don't like having the number of calories I burned being counted right in front of my face. I'd rather just take a walk outside and not think about that stuff.

Andrea said...

@Kiersten- Me too. The calories burned is unrealistic anyway, it's more annoying than anything. And even for people that don't have an ED, I think it's unhelpful.

starfirenz said...

I'm just about to try a break from the gym for a bit - my membership's just expired, and I figured I'd try letting it lapse for a bit and just focus on walking, running and bodyweight resistance exercises that I can do at home.

I like gymwork - really I do, but the marketing messaging my gym's been using has been annoying me lately, and I've been at one gym or another for so long, it feels about time to try something different for a bit :-)

Andrea said...

@starfirenz I'm finding I like the gym as well. It's nice to have a "new" relationship with it. Good luck with your new workouts!

Kathryn & Brandi said...

Hi Andrea....

Running indoors and outdoors has always seemed like two entirely different sports...I would run in the snow before hitting a treadmill:)

Lily Jane said...

I totally and completely get this. I just finished training for my first marathon (did it last Sunday), and now I hope to move on to triathlons. Boy, it's been a ROUGH journey, and I'm not quite sure it's healthy yet. But yeah, I get it.