Pleasure, Not Punishment

shauna-2I was raised in Oakland.  As a youngling, my sole interest was music.  I spent hours in my room picking away at Chopin (…aaaand Tori Amos) and practicing for my voice lessons; Juilliard paraphernalia taped on the wall above for inspiration.  I traveled 580, San Pablo, 880, College, Grand, and all the bridges en route to musical activities.  And restaurants.  My family loves food and we bonded over great meals all over the East Bay.

I was not an active kid.  Or adult.  My limited and sporadic physical activity was punishment for the food choices that led me to being over 200lbs by age 19.  I got the fancy music conservatory education which led to the classical music career I dreamed of but as we all know, happiness isn’t as simple as having the right job or the right relationship.  In order to be the woman I believed I could be, I needed to become strong – emotionally and physically.

After losing a considerable amount of weight through dietary changes, I felt ready to change my attitude about being physical.  I began a blog called “Pleasure, not Punishment” to see if I could find enjoyment in activity.  One component of this experiment was doing the Couch to 5k progressive running program.  Those early running intervals were exhausting, terrifying, and exhilarating.  The accomplishment I felt at the end of a running workout was unlike anything I had felt before.  While I’d had some great professional success, running was even sweeter because it forced me to challenge my entire personal history to achieve it.  I found tremendous joy and delight in running past the restaurants where I used to eat my feelings.  Every step was an opportunity to redefine and reclaim my hometown and yes, myself.

You know the rest.  Girl meets running.  Girl grins her way through her first 5k.  Girl suffers through her first half marathon.  Girl dreams bigger.  Girl learns to ride a bike and does triathlons!  Girl turns around one day and realizes that she has become the woman she knew was inside.

Oh, and on October 6th, girl ran her first marathon.

Question yourself.  Dream big.  Foam roll.  Find joy.