This isn’t necessarily the post you think it’s going to be. It’s also NOT a thinly disguised humble brag at all. It’s actually the first in a two part series, the next being why it’s easier for you than me. What it is meant to do is point out that we all face challenges and have advantages in regards to living your best, fittest life. I’m lucky in a lot of ways that I get to have space in my life to do all of the fun fitness things I do. But it was on the way to a recent 5k with my mom and stepdad that I was talking about the fact that we were all lucky to have the opportunities we do and I think I should acknowledge that. So here goes.
I don’t have kids
This one is pretty obvious but it also benefits me in ways you wouldn’t think about right away. Of course there are no little ones to run after and I can and do sometimes put myself first at our house so it’s a big one. But there are other things too. I have the energy to funnel into fitness instead of daycare pickups, toilet training and homework. But one of the big things that not having kids allows you to have instead is hobbies. Maybe you used to sew like my mom, ride horses like my sister or hunt like honey did before you had kids. The thing is hobbies take more than time and money. They take space for things like pins and needles so my mom stopped sewing unless it was Halloween costumes, PS mine rocked although I picked weird ones like rum-tum-tugger from CATS, but I digress. For my sister I think it’s a time and money thing and for honey having guns and bullets around at some point was to dangerous for his boys, particularly. He did teach them and trap with them though, and they all had their own trap lines for a time. So it’s a lot more than having more time by not having kids. That being said, lots of moms and dads run everyday, complete marathons and ironman races so it is possible but this definitely does make it easier for me.
I have enough money
Ready to get uncomfortable for a second… Triathlon USA says the average triathletes’s household income is $126,000 and the average NYC marathon runner’s is $130,000. Yup being a weekend warrior means you’re probably battling it out on the weekdays too and winning! We can’t escape the fact that having the time to devote to fitness might come as you climb up the income ladder. I’m pretty famous for my thriftiness, environmental outlook (which is often cheaper too) and I’m happy. to save a dollar where I can so I don’t spend a whole lot on fitness stuff. But I do spend, if I didn’t have such generous family members I would spend more and there’s no getting around the fact I have enough money to do that. I do REALLY consider the bottom line on races, gear and supplies and we work for ourselves which means we have the odd feast and famine cycle. When it’s lean I still have the knowledge it’s coming in soon and that customer will have to pay their bill eventually. But we have enough to pay our bills, do fun things, indulge in our hobbies, eat out a lot and a list of quick jobs to choose from at any given time on the fridge. If I was working for minimum wage I would have to take every shift I could, work hard at side gigs and consider the grocery bill and the utility accounts carefully before I bought a new pair of sneakers or registered for a $100+ dream race. However, lots of things like, walking or running really can be almost free. Lakes are there for swimming and there are lots of cheap options. Hell tomorrow I’ll be going to the $3 lane swim later in the day instead of paying $10.25 for a more convenient time, mostly because I’ll have to leave work for that one. There are cheap or free options out there and lots of races are happy to let you run if it’s the cost that’s holding you back.
I started from an easier point
I’ve been active since I was 13, like running, swimming and yoga active since then. I let things slide completely for about 3.5 years in grad school and gained weight. But I’ve always had that active history to fall back on and I’ve never been overweight a day in my life. If you’ve never been active or you’re overweight it is WAY harder to start! It’s hard to get up and start when you look a certain way and people might be making fun or you. It’s also hard to start not knowing where you’ll end up or what’s even possible. It’s not only physically a lot harder it’s psychologically WAY harder too. I get that it’s easier for me to start than someone else. But… lots of people change their lives everyday and you can too.
We work for ourselves
Spoiler alert this is going to appear on both posts why it’s easier fo me and why it’s easier for you. But let’s focus on the positive for now. The idea that you make you’re own hours is a complete fallacy and even though I’ve registered for, booked accommodations for a triathlon next month something could come up that means I can’t go and more likely honey can’t go. But if I decide to tackle a new challenge and I’m tiered at work for about two months no boss is going to give me crap about it. There is some wiggle room in our schedules but if we only worked 9-5, 5 days a week we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves. But I can literally look down the line decide I need to make some more money or work a little less and make that happen by taking on extra students or not one semester. Overall though it’s a hinderance not a help to fitting in fitness.
I live in an amazing place
If you lived where I live you would almost HAVE to be as active as me. At one end or the other of my driveway I have immediate access to the trans Canada trail, a lake, a sandy ocean beach and impossibly perfect costal road. Within literally a 15 minute drive or walk I have, single track trails (in every difficulty), rock climbing, two yoga and fitness studios, a rec centre and skate park and a tonne of active transport destinations like the market, drugstore, hardware store and the grocery sore. So I run, swim, cycle, mountain bike (they’re different), paddle board, body surf, and just go for a walk and pick up beach glass. If it’s a nice day its almost impossible not to do something active. It is sort of a brag but I really do live in one of the best spots you can live if you’re active, period. Oh and a ball-field and 9 other beaches.
I have an amazing support network
Some people aren’t lucky enough to have even one person in their fitness support circle and I have at least 6 and two of those people are even making more people to support me, and potentially for other reasons. But first and foremost is my partner, Richard. Sure he goes to my races, takes pictures, posts so I get encouraging updates as I go and holds the bum bag in the rain but that’s only 5% of what he does to support me. Mostly what he does is quiet and behind the scenes and actually really special and unique. But let’s start with what he doesn’t do first. He never, ever makes a comment or rolls his eyes that the house is a mess or that he has no socks when I’m busy training. Instead he either pitches in, helps out with my chores without being asked or just lets it ride. If it’s a nice day and I say, “I want to go for a run but I should clean the house,” he gives me a kiss and says it’ll still be a mess when you get home and it’s dark, occasionally he cleans it up when I’m gone. If I’ve already signed up for all the races in my budget, I need another pair of new shoes or that dream race involves taking time off work and travelling he always tells me to do it, it’s my passion and you only live once, plus you can’t take it with you. He’ll tell me from time to time that he misses me and that we should have more couple date time when we do it but he never ever connects that to my workouts. In fact he never casts the slightest amount of shade about my fitness routines and he’s super encouraging. And trust me like any other partner he can and does throw shade in my direction from time to time. Sure he’s not perfect and when I out and out ask him to do something that’s fitness connected sometimes the delay is truly ridiculous, but he’s busy too.
So what does he do, some pretty amazing stuff. When I have long runs or brick workouts he almost always orders my favourite pizza or cooks me dinner so it’s ready as soon as I return. Like twice a week in training season often. He asked to see my runfies and even lies and says every single one is cute! Plus he’s really supportive of me blogging on here. Sure sometimes he says can we talk about something else besides running for a second but he still listens to me drone on for hours. When I was nervous about swim training in the coldest water I’ve ever been in he came and sat on the shore for the best part of an hour as moral support. He helps me load and unload my paddle board and bike into the car even though I can totally do it myself. He buys me virtually ALL of my fitness ‘extras’ I would never by myself like apple watches, paddle boards, road bikes and brand new, brand name, super cute running gear in bulk. Plus he’s often scheduling our work around my workouts when they get nutty and ALWAYS says I can take time away if I need it to train. Even though it’s almost impossible for me to thank him enough for that don’t think for a single solitary moment I don’t get that I realize that makes it SOOO MUCH easier for me to tackle my goals.
But I also have four other big supporters who come to my races and finish lines. My mom who often drives me in, waits the whole time (usually with Honey) and my stepdad, sister and brother in law. So far the last two have even created cute newborns babies just to come to my half-marathon finish lines! Which is to say they make a huge effort to come out and support me (in the rain) for the big ones. They all ask insightful questions about my training, write encouraging things on my instagram posts and do a great job pretending at least to be interested. My mom and stepdad even took up running recently and I don’t think now it’s mostly to support me but it might have been at least a little bit at first. At the very least it’s helped to make me feel supported.
I get that all that support makes it easier for me to get it done and that there really is no replacement for that if you’re not lucky enough to have it. But … now we have the internet, download the nike app and make some friends, join some facebook groups or meet real life running buddies.
What things in your life make it easier for you to get your workouts in compared to others and who is your biggest supporter.