For the last few years I have been working on my image of myself. It wasn’t until recently that I actually came to terms with the idea that I am an athlete.
Growing up I was not particularly sporty other than riding my bike everywhere as transportation until about the eighth grade. I was never a dancer or a track star like my friends were and accepted the fact that I could be the smart one not the skinny fit one. That badge of smart not sporty stayed with me until about a year or so ago when I realized I was more than just the label I had assigned myself at thirteen.
I went in for my annual doctor’s visit and she actually said that it was refreshing to deal with an athlete. My health was good because I was so engaged in activities that support bone mass and heart health and keep my weight in a good zone.
I was concerned because the BMI scale had me as overweight despite having a roughly 20% body fat measurement. She brushed off my worry about my BMI because in her words “they don’t account for someone with as much muscle mass as you, BMI is not designed for serious competitors. Most of the Olympic team would show as overweight or obese because the scale is designed for averages.”
WAIT just a second! She changed my label.
The word athlete was never my badge, and it felt wrong. It didn’t fit me. How could it fit me?
Over the next few days I started to work through my definition of what an athlete was.
Very active (4-6 times a week)-Check
Dedicated to a life of fitness-Check
They have strong, muscular bodies-Check
They are constantly pushing themselves harder-Check
WHOA! Hang on here…. That makes me one of THEM?
So the defense arguments kicked in.
They don’t have cellulite-yes they do
They don’t get tired and feel weak-yes they do
They don’t struggle to improve-yes they do
By my own definition I had become someone who doesn’t casually ride a bike or go for a run, I was committed to a lifestyle of activity. My idea of a fun weekend was going out for eight to twelve hours of cycling with my friends who I could easily define as athletic superstars.
Then my world changed.
About two weeks ago I broke my leg and damaged the ligaments in my knee playing a sport I love and I realized my world was at risk. I am in rehab and just now understand that instead of accepting an injury and going back to that sedentary life I have to train at recovery.
I have to commit to doing the exercises for healing at the same level and with the same dedication I would put forth of a century bike ride, running a marathon or achieving a 5:10 climb.
I am in training for an event right now. That event is my everyday life, because I am an athlete.