The Beautiful Place Where Nothing Grows

dancersposeWith sunshine in the sky, and spring in the air come outside runs and a surge of motivation — for me, anyways.

There’s something just happier about life in spring. Days are longer, just-gotta-make-it-home survival-mode is over, and people smile more. And I’m not sure what it is but I’ve been conditioned to clean up my eating and amp up the fitness at the first signs of melting snow.

Bikinis are beckoning. Maybe it’s that.

But with this surge of spring motivation often comes the reminder that I’m not as fit as I thought I was. I start to question whether or not that 5-minute mile I banged out religiously before breakfast last year was a mere figment of my imagination. And I know comfort zones are beautiful places where nothing grows, but I’m a realist (sometimes) and some things have obviously changed. My heart rate is telling me so.

I recently did  a favour for some classmates who needed a yogi in their magazine ad and as we shot, we began chatting about flexibility. We agreed that as dancers in our younger lives, it was startling to see the flexibility that goes hand-in-hand with dance-life disappear as fast as our tap shoes hit the floor of our closet the year we quit. I pointed out that something like flexibility can be lost quickly, but that it can also be regained — just as fast. I slipped into Trainer Tannis mode and supported my comment with offer of encouragement. I said that daily stretching, even short bouts of it, would slowly amp up the rate of “flexi” and that it wasn’t lost forever.

As soon as I heard the words leave my mouth, I realized that very thread of thought was connected to why I love my spring runs.

I’m addicted to noticeable, measurable results.

Just how you can manipulate your muscles to loosen and lengthen over time, you can improve your cardio conditioning in increments. By pushing yourself just a bit further and further out of that toxic comfort zone every run, your endurance will improve. You’ll notice the improvement, establish benchmarks, and fly past them.

And then I realized those benchmarks served relevance in few other areas of my life. Notable ones — School ones.

“Work on your writing.” I heard it, I did it, and I heard it some more. Never did I see myself a poor writer until I went to a writing school, of sorts. But like my fitness endeavours and my persistence in that facet, I struggle, I practice, I fail, and I achieve.

Well, sometimes I achieve.

Other times, I want to throw in the towel and quit — ah, the nostalgic feeling of despair. Through my days of fitness modelling and competing, I cannot count on the hands I have how many times I have toyed with the idea of quitting. Literally, I fantasized about it. Let’s just say it was hard, but I had already committed to myself so of course I never did. And of course, through this, I learned the power of commitment.

And I learned how completely and utterly rewarding it is to see those small wins string together to form big victories. So for spring, it’s the season of reminders and it’s the season of change. Spring is the season of perseverance.

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