November 2, 2012 by mybattlebuddyfitness
I’m so excited to share this post with all of you. This was written by my lovely and super talented business partner, Melissa Eisner. This is her story. Enjoy!
The only one holding you back . . . is you
When it came to exercise and sports, I’d say I have always felt average. Growing up around amazing athletes will do that to you. My father was a boxing promoter, which meant that I spent a lot of time in boxing gyms. You see these men, who are in prime condition, muscles gleaning as the light reflected off of their sweaty bodies, were always presented as the pinnacle of fitness. And I never could see how I was going to get there. As I moved from being a little kid into my teenage years, I continued to play sports, but was never amazing. I played volleyball, basketball, softball, and soccer, and I was just ok.
In college, like other girls, I gained my Freshman 15, but using the tools I had learned from my father, I was able to push most of that off by the time I graduated. I had given up organized sports by this time, knowing that I would never be as good as anyone else. But the gym still called my name. When I would go home on breaks, my father would take me to the gym. And he pushed me, constantly, always wanting me to reach a little farther, to try a little harder. Being a shorter and squattier woman, lifting weights in a gym came more naturally to me than more of your cardio endeavors, so I stuck with that as I grew into adulthood.
10 years went by, and I would say that I pretty much stayed the same. Went to the gym 3 times a week, did some cardio, did some lifting, just enough to get thru an hour’s workout, and then on with the rest of my life. I had long given up sports, and had told myself I just wasn’t built to be a runner. And then my father passed away, rather unexpectedly, and going to the gym became a painful reminder that he was no longer with me, and this activity we shared was going to be a solo act from now on.
At about the same time, my good friend Deb was training for the Chicago Marathon. She was what I would call built to run – small frame, slender, and ‘always a runner’. I decided that there was no way I could run a full marathon, but maybe I could keep her company on the last 5 miles, when she would be slowing down, and I would be fresh. I had never run a mile in my life, so I started slowly. I started jogging 2 miles every other day, and then added ½ mile a week for 6 weeks until the race to get there. Race day came, and I found her at mile 19. I think that has to be the worst mile, everyone looked beaten down. With my banana and peanut butter in hand, I jumped into the race and fueled up my friend. We ran along and I would speed ahead a bit to get the crowd to cheer her name. She would laugh and we would run some more. And then something strange happened – we were at mile 26! How did that happen? I mean, I could only run 5 miles, right? And now we are at 7 miles?
I surprised myself that day, and thought maybe it was a fluke. So I signed up for a 10 mile race in Philadelphia. Surely there was no way I could finish 10 miles, it was just a 1 time thing. But I trained anyway, following a half marathon training schedule, and low and behold, I finished the 10 miler. Since then I have run a half marathon, I have hiked the Camino de Santiago in Spain twice for a total of 560 miles, and I recently completed my second triathlon. I have even taken on my fear of heights and started rock wall climbing.
What I have learned is that each time I take on one of these challenges, I start off thinking, “Melissa, there is no way you are going to be able to finish this. These are things that people who are in great shape do, people who have perfect bodies, not people like you.” And every time, I do finish, and I finish strong. I don’t quit and I don’t give up. The only person who thinks I cannot do these things is ME. Not anyone else, not my friends nor my family, it is Melissa.
So now, I approach sports and exercise differently. It isn’t the voice inside that says you will never be able to do this (though it is still there, I have just learned to ignore it), it is the voice that says wow, look at what you are doing, that is AMAZING! It is that voice that makes me strong, physically, mentally, emotionally. It is that voice that gets me thru the lulls in my training cycles (you will always ebb and flow). And it is that voice that pushes me to be the very best version of myself possible.