Littles: Moooooommmmy – can we buy some more bandaids.

Me: I will buy them just this once, but band-aids are a waste of money, they don’t help things heal.

Littles: Ummm ok. Can we get the spiderman ones?

Me: Yes {thinks to self that I’m throwing $2 away again on bandaids that will get placed all over their little bodies for their imagionary boo boos}

I like to analyze my actions – overanlyze – re-analyze and then analyze some more. I like to beat things until they are silent in my head. It’s how my mind works and I’m okay with it most days.

I allow myself to use band-aids ALL the time, but don’t want my kids to do the same? Mine might not have princess’s on them, but just like the band-aids at target they aren’t really healing anything.


Last year when I started spin I was having issues in my personal life that I couldn’t seem to fix. When I started spinning everything felt clearer and I felt happier. Unlike running where I was alone with my thoughts the entire time – during spin I was either in so much pain, working so hard, or just stuck in the beat of the music – that I didn’t really think at all about much of anything.. It made me feel happy – so I thought I was happy. Endorphins are great for masking things.

Spin was my weekly Band-Aid. It wasn’t helping me do the real work – the emotional work – to fix myself on the inside. Sure it fixed me on the outside, it helped me lose some unwanted weight and it helped me get fit enough to run a pretty decent marathon in the fall despite the lack of long runs – but what good is the outside if the inside is all screwed up.

For multiple reasons, that mostly feel like excuses now, I stopped going to spin and slowly I started to feel sadder more often. In hindsight it wasn’t just spin, I stopped doing other things, started doing some new things and just gave up all together on other things. My point is that I wasn’t doing the real work – the hard work as my mom calls it – the inside work.

For the past 10 years hard work has entailed running longer when I wanted to quit, pushing faster when my lungs were telling me to give up, doing another mile of a tempo run even though I thought it may just kill me {dramtic but when you are on the pain train these are the thoughts that run through your head}. I wasn’t really sure how to do the hard work emotionally and felt weak when everyone else was telling me how strong I was. This made me feel inauthentic and phony. I struggled with this concept on a weekly basis – how can someone be so strong in some areas of life and a complete wimp in other areas?

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A last minute decision this morning to head back to the gym for the first time in forever and get back on the spin bike HELPED me more than any run would have.

Instead of going to spin because I wanted it to help me lose weight, or because I want to be fit again, or because I needed to burn some calories – I went because I felt like I deserved to do something that I enjoyed before I buckled down and got some work done. I wasn’t doing it to mask something else.

I can’t say I won’t ever use spin as a bandaid again, but for now I am peace with separating out the emotional work from the physical work. I’m learning how to look at my life and the things I do and don’t do differently. It’s not easy but it’s well worth it.

The endorphin high of an hour of spin was that much sweeter today because it came from a place of love and not a place of hurt/frustration/anger/sadness/etc.

Do you run or workout because you love it or has your form of exercise become a Band-Aid in your life? 


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  1. I can definitely, honestly say that I’ve had a fairly unhealthy relationship with exercise. SPinning, running, stair climbing…. using it to not deal with the other things that are wrong. Going from one side of an eating disorder (bingeing) to an exercise addiction to burn off every single calorie I’ve eaten.

    So glad you’ve come to the zen that is spinning because you love it and not to hide from anything else. Chances are you’ll love it even MORE now! CHEERS!

  2. Thanks for sharing this post! I read often but, don’t usually comment. I could really relate to this. I lost my mom in 2009 and I started running marathons in 2010 to cope. However, I quickly realized that running, although super awesome, wasn’t addressing the pain in my heart. Once I was able to really deal with the pain of the loss, then I began to love running for the shear pleasure of it! Great post!! Thanks for sharing.

  3. This is where you wrong– you are incredibly strong and not phony whatsoever. Someone phony would never say out loud that I am struggling or I want to improve. Here you are laying it all out for the world to see– fake, no way. You are as much of badass at these emotional issues as you are at the marathon. It’s like when we first starting running– most of us feel a little like impostor, but we’re not– if you run, you’re a runner– if you’re working on emotional stuff, then you’re working on it, you’re growing. I am sure of one thing, you will take this and dive in head first, and do what you need do, even if it hurts… and it will… but you will get through it, just like you do the marathon. Sending my love and prayers. xoxo

  4. I love this post so much. There’s nothing phony about these words or the woman writing them:) It’s OK to be strong in some areas of life and weak in others, sometimes it is who we are and sometimes it is the season of life we are in. For a very long time running for me was all about the calories burned and the weight I wanted to lose, it was all wrapped up in a gigantic eating disorder that I had no idea how to cope with. When I finally let go of running as a means to an end (weight loss/an ideal body) and all the other mental/emotional/spiritual junk at the center of my disordered thinking, running became something that I truly and passionately enjoyed. And life became different. More free. More real. More me. I’m so grateful for each year that I get older…I feel like I learn more about what life is really all about and sometimes I look back and shake my head at all the wasted time. We live, learn and move on. Here’s to moving on!

  5. I love this post so much and agree that there is nothing weak or phony about you. You are willing to take a look inside and that takes major strength my friend. Love your blog and always rooting for YOU!

  6. mhighfil says:

    Great post–thank you for this!!

  7. Whoa! I never thought of my running as a bandaid, but that is exactly what it is for me. I feel it is a safe place, a place to be me, to be angry, to be sad, to feel uncontrollable bliss. It’s a place I feel justified for having these emotions, like no one can take that away from me. I’m going to be thinking about this as I pound out the miles this morning…thank you.

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