One of my favorite inspirational quotes comes from season 2 of the adult animated comedy/drama television show Bojack Horseman. In the show, the titular character Bojack (who is an anthropomorphic horse) takes up running to help him prepare for a movie role in which he would play the horse Secretariat (also anthropomorphized) who was his idol as a young child…kid…colt?
Bojack starts running up this steep hill huffing and puffing and sweating like crazy until he collapses on the ground in utter defeat. A baboon comes running up the hill who looks like every sage, wise long-distance runner I’ve ever known or met (and he also looks like my high school cross country running coach if he had hair…). The baboon tells Bojack this:
So today was another rocky day for me mentally. The weight plateau is still stressing me out. I was feeling anxious about my first bike HITT workout because I discovered on my bike ride yesterday that my handlebars were loose. Once upon a time, I fractured my arm while on my bike and now I tend to jump to disaster when my bike makes a strange noise or squeaks a little, so the wiggly handlebars were not cool.
My husband was using my car because his car was in the shop getting new tires, and the bike shop I go to is a 30 minute drive. I felt stuck. I was beating myself up about the wiggly bike handlebars because I should’ve done better maintenance on my bike. (Depression brain you lie!). So I didn’t want to chance it by doing a bike sprint with a faulty bike.
So I decided that today could be a rest day and I’d just arrange my week to compensate, but the weather forecast coming up is calling for rain and the gyms are still closed where I live. I was just bummed out. Doing some sort of physical activity has been part of my routine and I didn’t feel right not doing something.
When my husband got off work, I dropped him off to get his car, loaded the bike onto the rack, and made it to the bike shop by the skin of my teeth. Thankfully the problem was an easy and cheap fix and I’ll have my baby back tomorrow for those bike sprints, but I still had to do something today. So I went for a run.
I had no agenda for how far I was going to go. I put on my audiobook, laced up my new tennis shoes, and gave C25K a rest. I just needed to run my feelings out. I needed to listen to my body and do what I thought felt right in the moment.
Well, I got lost in the book. I got lost in my head. By the time I came back to my senses, I was running up hills like the cross country baboon from tv show. A year ago, I felt more like Bojack: out of shape, plagued by my demons, lacking self-confidence, and wondering whether this whole getting in shape and getting healthy thing was worth it.
I made it back to my apartment and saw that I unintentionally ran a 5K. Yes, it was slow. Yes, I had to stop a couple of times to walk. But this was the easiest 5K I had ever done in my life and I ran each mile faster than last week’s pace by a whole minute.
For the past 17 days, I’ve been fully dedicated to doing some sort of physical activity; even on my rest days I’ll go for a slow walk and play Pokemon Go.
I feel a profound emotional connection to what that baboon said. Anything gets easier if you just keep practicing. The hard part is finding the discipline to continue these healthy habits without letting small setbacks like a broken bike or a bad mood stop you from achieving your goals. And that’s the key difference between motivation and discipline.
I was motivated to fix my bike, but it was my discipline that carried me through to continue my training without it.
Hey. I may be a newbie to all of this but I’m excited to see myself in three months or even one year. I’m excited for my growth and the various ways that I’ll improve and get better that aren’t tied directly to my weight.
As another favorite quote of mine says: