When I was younger I never thought of myself as an athlete. So strange– I swam with the boys in Junior high because the girls’ team was more for fun than for working out. I beat some boys, too! By the time I got to high school, Title IX had been passed, and there was an excellent girls’ team at our high school which was coached by a former olympic-bound swimmer (she didn’t get to go because WWII happened, but still!). We lifted weights before that was a thing, and I dropped a minute off my 500 time. I never went to state. Maybe that’s why I didn’t think of myself as good. But if you look at times back then, wow is all I’m gonna say. I was a college All-American swimmer. To think I wasn’t an athlete– apparently there’s some disconnect here! I ran on weekends during the swim season when I could run and cross-country skied when not able to run. I just didn’t see myself as an athlete– maybe as a weirdo who wanted to be part of the athlete contingent, but not really part of the show. I remember running in shorts and tights or nylons because there was no such thing as skinnies. Marathons, triathlons, road races– I “ran through Hell” back in the 80s! So I don’t know what didn’t trigger for me that yes, I am an athlete.

So now I am in Houston, TX, and I am feeling the same way as back then– I am finding it challenging to run in the morning heat and humidity (78 degrees and 91%) and feel that I am “not an athlete” if I can’t go run in this. I’m looking for ways to continue to do what I love and keep fit and accept the limitations of the weather. I have to say, I don’t see many people running here for as many people as I know run! My friend Raul has taken up running, and he runs 50 miles a week. That floored me until I found out he runs on a treadmill. At the gym. In the AC. So, there’s that. It’s not the same here¬† as running in Michigan summers, and I realize I have acclimated somewhat to the heat because I can run longer distances– and I know running in snow with 30 lbs of clothing is problematic, too.

My post or question or quandary is this: how do you keep your positive attitude about your performance, accept things as they are (injuries, weather, family commitments, etc) without taking it out on yourself? You’d think at my age I would have this figured out already… But it represents the line between the ability to accept things as they are and feeling like I’m being lazy. I plan to keep this up forever, or at least until I am unable to move at all. But on the same hand I would like to feel like the world won’t end if I miss a day, or week, or month… I am an overachiever, I know that. So how do I relax and let go of expectations that may be unrealistic, and enjoy the ride? Am I still an athlete if I am not able to force myself to go out in the heat and run? Or am I being realistic? What do you think? Maybe my definition of athlete means the person always wants to work out and never misses a practice!

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