I’ve been called a lot of things in my life… some good, some bad. Some that made me smile, some that made me sad… and some that made me think. 
The other day I was leaving an exercise class with my friend. We started up a conversation about whether on this journey we can really see our progress… see our “skinny” so to speak. In this conversation my friend looked at me and said… “I hope you realize Mandi that you have become an athlete, you really have”. 

An athlete?? Me??  The person who a year ago was surviving and not truly living. The person who couldn’t accomplish any goals? Me?? 

Yeah right, I thought. I often struggle through my workouts, I have never won a race, or finished a marathon. And let’s face it… the only six pack I own is in my fridge not on my abs. 

I’m not an athlete. 

My reaction was caused by what I thought I knew about athletes. I mean come on,  when you say the word “athlete” what do you think of? Michael Jordan right??  I’m pretty sure you don’t think of a near 40 year old working Mom working out everyday to lose weight and find health. Athletes are heroes! They are strong! They are fearless!  Athletes are the people donning Nike’s and carrying a team to victory on ESPN! 

Or are they? 

Over the next several weeks I couldn’t get this simple conversation out of my head. Am I an athlete? Every time I finished a workout, or hit a personal best in a run I kept hearing my friend. 

“Mandi you are an athlete”. 

So I started thinking about what an athlete truly is. If you think about it, really strip down an athlete to what he or she really is, an athlete is simply a person that is on a constant mission to improve their physical health to accomplish some end. That end could be a basket, a home run, or in my case just a quest to find my health and be the best person I can be. 

An athlete doesn’t always win… but they never stop. They continue to work and practice until they win or achieve their goal. 

Then I thought about me and the journey this past year. The day I posted on Facebook that I was about to run 3 minutes without stopping. That day I stood scared on the start line of my first 5k. That day I lifted my first weight in Body Pump class.  That day I came up with the crazy goal to lose 100 pounds. All of these things seemed impossible to me. All of these things required work to achieve. A lot of work. A lot of focus. A lot of motivation. 

But I achieved all these things. 

So you know what… I have now decided I just may be an athlete after all. I may not have a trophy, or a gold medal and I may never grace the front of a Wheaties box… but the fact my physical health has become my mission, my obsession, something  I work at every single day, makes me an athlete. 

Yes my friends, I am an athlete. 

And you know what? I bet you are too. 

If you get yourself out of bed before sunrise to bust out a workout… you are an athlete. 

If you refuse to accept what is impossible… you are an athlete. 

If you try everyday to make your personal achievements distant memories… you are an athlete.

If you feel every sore muscle is your trophy for hard work… you are an athlete. 

If you somehow find the time as a busy Mom to spend an hour to focus on your own personal health… you are an athlete. 

If you have ever had an internal battle with yourself where you talked yourself into running just a little further or lifting a little more… you are an athlete. 

If your health has become a mission and not just a goal… you are an athlete. 

If you have pushed through the pain, struggled through the out of breath moments and kept going… you are an athlete. 

If you refuse to quit… you are an athlete. 

If you will never stop trying to better yourself… you are an athlete. 

So now I use my inner athlete to motivate me. I repeat “I am an athlete” to myself on the mornings I don’t want to get out bed to work out, or the miles I struggle through, or the times I can’t lift any more weight. Athletes don’t quit, so I in turn can’t quit. 

So let’s go my fellow athletes! We’ve got this. 

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