Believe it or not, I hate working out. I still do. I wasn’t a fan of it in middle school or in high school (I took a weights and fitness class too). Being sweaty and gross wasn’t cool to me.
Suffice to say, I was not the most athletic kid growing up. I didn’t really develop those sports-type skills like other kids did. I was never on a soccer, basketball, or baseball team. Or pop warner. I remember I played street hockey and tennis, these were probably my favorite activities to play in PE and I did okay. However, when my sophomore year ended, I was glad that I didn’t have to get all “hot and sweaty.”
I was still more or less active I suppose. I walked home from high school. I participated in Philippine Dance with SDSU’s Andres Bonifacio’s Samahan annually in college. I was also in PASACAT for a year. But since then, I was eating a lot of pizza, fries, soda, and other unhealthy foods. Slowly but surely, those freshman lbs were not going away. In fact, my weight was increasing. And I wasn’t healthy.
Cut to 2010. After working for several years as a teacher, the economy was heading on a downward spiral. My livelihood was being threatened and at this time, I must have received another layoff notice for the 2nd or 3rd year in a row. Life was stressful. At my doctor’s visit, I had inquired about stress and anxiety medication. Test results indicated I had high cholesterol. The doctor gave me an anti-anxiety prescription (just in case). He advised that I increase my physical activity.
Being the rule follower that I am (and devastated that I didn’t have a clean bill of health), I decided to make some lifestyle changes. I went for walks after work. I tried jogging for 10 minutes and I thought I was going to die. I set my stopwatch and looked at it constantly wondering why time was standing still. I was gasping for air and thought my heart would explode.
Soon, 10 minutes became running for 15 minutes. And then 20 minutes. So you can see where this is going. I got better, healthier. A friend of mine had recommended the Runkeeper App for my iPhone and I have used it ever since. My first organized run was the 5K Thanksgiving Run at Balboa Park with said friend. The Silverstrand Half Marathon was my first official 13.1 mile run. I’ve participated in the Triple Crown Series (Carlsbad, La Jolla, and AFC-all half marathons). I ran the Carlsbad 26.2 mile marathon. I’ve also done the RUN for AUTISM 5K several times, and the San Diego Half and the CAL1020 runs since their inception.
I lost some weight and I try to keep it off. I eat healthy now and I’m conscious of what I put in my system. I love fruit smoothies. I don’t drink soda anymore. I ask for a box and cut my portions in half when I eat out. But I have my cheat days too. More when I’m stressed. I’m not perfect but I try and that’s the point. I get excited to try new forms of exercise like yoga, bikram yoga, rock wall climbing, bike riding, and even racing against my students. I like playing dodgeball and handball with them. It’s fun.
I didn’t think I’d be that guy. An athlete. I still hate getting up in the morning. But I know how beneficial being active is. I feel better and I’m healthier than I’ve ever been. The endorphins kick in and it helps to alleviate life’s stressful moments. It’s been 5 years now, I use a fitbit, and I can’t imagine not running.
Oh, and the anti-anxiety prescription that I asked for. I never had to use them. I’m hoping to participate in another organized run soon. I just signed up for the Star Wars Half Marathon in January. Wish me luck and until then, catch me if you can!