For the past 5 months, I’ve been self-conscious about working out. I know, I know, an Olympian scared to workout? Well that’s precisely the problem. When I retired, I was super excited about the freedom I had to do all those fun workout classes other women did: yoga, spin, barre, OrangeTheory…
However, the first OrangeTheory class I attended was a nightmare. I was already nervous because I didn’t know what to expect. Then some lady came up to me and said, “You’re that track star, right? Oh, you’re gonna KILL this!” I wanted to walk out. I was already nervous and uncomfortable in this new workout environment, one that was DRASTICALLY different from what I was used to, and now I had people recognizing me and expecting me to absolutely demolish it? Shit!
My body is used to speed/power workouts; sprinting hard for short distances with full recovery, explosive gym exercises with light weights. I was specialized to do my event really well, not all sports and workouts really well.
I didn’t demolish the OrangeTheory workout. In fact, it demolished me. I was doing the endurance intervals on the rower, barely able to breathe and with that white, spitty slime building at the corners of my mouth — just on the edge of functioning. After that, I had to lay on the couch for the rest of the day; my whole system was totally fried.
The biggest misconception among the general public is probably how often and far Ashton and I run. People think that we could run a 10-miler or jump in a marathon no problem. Let me put it this way, when we were training for the Olympics, we would complain about a 5-minute run, saying that “our calves got too tight,” “our feet hurt,” or “it’ll make us slow.”
So when Michael Chitwood from Team World Vision called 2.5 months ago and said, “So you ready to run a marathon with us?” I laughed out loud. We’ve been going to Africa with him for the past two years to see all the work World Vision is doing to bring clean water to people in need. I love the organization, but I could barely do a 1 hour endurance workout at OrangeTheory, how the hell would I do a marathon?! He was out of his mind. He told me to “think about it.”
Well…I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The more I thought about it, the more appealing it was to me. First, because doing it would benefit someone else, it would help me stay fit, it’d give me a workout routine and structure, and I could challenge myself in a way I’ve never done before.
So I committed. I committed to running the Chicago Marathon with Team World Vision at the beginning of October, and I’m training like a madwoman because I’m terrified. At some point during every long run I do I think, “Wtf did I get myself into?!” I can barely feel my legs at the end of those runs, but it’s super rewarding! I actually look forward to doing them now.
I’ve had people say, “you’ll qualify for Boston,” or “you’ll easily run under 4 hours.” I actually have no idea what either of those mean. I don’t know what the Boston qualifying time is and I don’t know how fast my miles would have to be to run 4 hours. I don’t care either. I don’t care what other people think or what their expectations are. I’m doing this to raise money for a great cause and to challenge myself.
So if any of you are having the same problem I was: the fear or embarrassment to work out because of what people will think of you, SCREW IT! Who cares about those people. Do it for you, do it for your health, do it for your happiness, or do it for someone else or a charity. Committing is the hardest part, but once you get passed that, it’s honestly really rewarding.
If you think I’m crazy, stupid, awesome, nuts, inspiring, off my rocker or badass for doing this, please support me in this marathon by helping me raise enough money to provide 60 people in Africa with clean water. You can do that HERE.