Sunday, March 09, 2014

Fear becomes Fit

Growing up, sports were just not my thing. I always panicked before gym class, knowing I'd be the last one picked, and that once we started the activity, I would be revealed for the uncoordinated goober that I was. And pudgy to boot, which became even more embarrassing when we had to be split into shirts or skins; invariably, I was put on the skins team. When my mom used to get angry about me staying inside all day (drawing, reading, playing music, and making stuff out of construction paper), I'd go outside...and read a book.

I dreaded the annual President's Fitness Test; couldn't do a push-up, couldn't do a pull-up, and running invariably meant I would see the backsides of my classmates as I struggled to keep up with them, let alone finish. I loved swimming, but unfortunately that was not part of gym.

By the time I got to college, I decided it was time to change. The collegiate years are a great time to reinvent yourself. I discovered the HPER (Health, Physical Education, and Recreation) Building, which had a crowded weightroom down in the basement area.

Determined to change my body (and my health), I went religiously, voraciously reading fitness books by Bob Paris (pictured below), Tom Platz, and (of course) Arnold to help me build a better physique. Although I didn't look like any of those guys, at least I could now do push-ups, pull-ups, and my new favorite...dips!

Besides the outside of my body, I also became interested in maintaining the insides as well. Thinking more about the foods that I ate combined with a previously non-existent cardio regime helped give me more energy and made me feel better about myself. By June of 2003, I completed my first race, the infamous Camp Pendleton Mud Run. My shirt started out white, but by the end of the race, it had permanently been stained brown. It was a great experience, but I had no desire to do that one again!

That was my last race for a while; I dropped out of running for the most part until I discovered Disney Running, which had events that ran through both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Of course I had to do both.

Even though I have done it for years, I still can't say I really enjoy the act of running. The pounding of the pavement, the soreness afterwards, the sweat from the heat...not really a lot of fun. However, the opportunity to run early in the morning, clear my head, and plan out my day while taking a look at my surroundings (no headphones or music for me) can be exhilarating. The races are also intoxicating for my competitive nature, while giving a great excuse to visit cities outside of the one I live in. Besides, who doesn't like the bling that goes along with it?

The last few years, I have found that the marriage of photography and athletic events can be a fun and lucrative way to combine two hobbies. From Mud Runs:

to CrossFit:

Athletics aren't just about the physicality of what you are doing; they also include the emotion of a personal achievement:

or two people working together to achieve a common goal, like these two sisters:

While you are reading this today, I will be running the San Diego Half Marathon, hoping for a Personal Record. With the varying elements of how my body feels, the temperatures, and so many other factors, it can often be difficult to know what my final time will be. Naturally, this adds to the excitement. Once I am done, I'll be racing over to the CrossFit619 facility to do a photo shoot there.

As the saying goes, no rest for the weary!

Follow my Daveland updates on Twitter and view my most recent photos on Flickr. See more Daveland photography on my main website.


Elizabeth Shaw said...

And look at you now! Rockstar :)!
I have to admit, I too was ALWAYS struggling to keep up with the "fast kids" for the Presidential Fitness Award in grammar school but somewhere in high school fell in love with x-country and though no 1/2 marathon for me today, I greatly enjoyed the San Diego 5K! Great job Dave, keep it up!

Connie Moreno said...

Great post, Dave!

Major Pepperidge said...

Good luck in the half marathon!

JG said...

Great story, Dave. Thank you.

My son just ran the Tough Mudder in Lake Tahoe last summer. He loved it.

My idea of a workout is lifting a Big Mac.


Mark Taft said...

Dave, you look great! Isn't funny how life sometimes comes full circle?
Insights and Sounds