Once upon a time, I was an athlete. But that seems like so long ago.
I grew up in a family of basketball players. My dad and uncles played for teams that went to state in high school, played in college, and one was a high school boys basketball coach for a number of years. I remember playing as early as second grade and it was probably even earlier than that. I continued to enjoy basketball until high school when my already shaky self esteem let me down. An incident where I took some criticism to heart led to me completely quit what I had grown to love. Basketball wasn’t the only sport I played, but it was the only sport I was playing in high school. In the past, I had played volleyball and swam competitively. If the coaches had their way, I would’ve done shot-put and discus for the track team. I was strong and my body responded well during basketball strength and conditioning; the coaches pleaded with me to join the track team and the only thing that stopped me? I did not want to run.
Since college, I have grown to idolize runners – their long and lean muscles, techy running gear, the racing community and dedication to their sport – rain, heat, snow, or shine. I jumped on the running bandwagon in 2006. I thoroughly enjoyed my outdoor runs – it was the only time during the day that I really had time to think and sort out things in my head. I discovered a new appreciation for my surroundings and was very observant on those runs. In 2007, I threw the outdoor runs aside and took to the treadmill to lose weight. I managed to lose about 35 lbs. doing high intensity interval training in addition to cleaning up my diet – but I hated every minute of it. For me, treadmill runs were brutal and mundane and that phase didn’t last long.
I found kettlebells in May of 2010 and have been a very loyal fan 🙂 Up until this point, I haven’t felt the urge to run because kettlebell training encompasses both cardio and strength training and burns up to 20 calories per minute . Kettlebell training has enabled me to tap into potential that I caught brief glimpses of in high school. I unknowingly stumbled into an amazing community of like-minded people, which is exactly what I was craving when I set out to be a runner. I truly have found my niche; I’m training for an insanely difficult instructor certification, I have found discipline, and I continue to surprise myself daily with my mental and physical strength.
With that said, I went for a run tonight (first since I started with kettlebells). It was 98 degrees outside, very humid and very windy. I set out for my usual two-mile route in my neighborhood with the same playlist that I used to run to. I’m happy to say that even with doing run/walk intervals, I managed to shave a good 10 minutes off my best time from 2009-2010. Thank you kettlebells for improving my strength, my speed, and my power. I am proud to say I move better, I feel better, I perform better, I look better!