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Athletes

by Meghann on August 24, 2010

It’s a rare occasion, but every once in a while I love to splurge on smoked salmon at the grocery store.

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It’s salty, fishy, smelly and absolutely amazing with cream cheese and capers on a bagel.

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Granted, I rarely keep bagels or cream cheese in the house, but an Arnold’s Thin and some pain yogurt did just fine. 😉

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With some fresh figs and chickpea salad (from the deli) lunch is served. 🙂

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Earlier: Peanut Butter Pretzels Snack

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Meghann the Athlete

When I was in elementary school my brother and I told my Dad we wanted to play baseball. What did he do? He signed us up for soccer the next day. (My Dad loathes baseball) I continued playing soccer throughout elementary school, but was never very good at it. I played on a few comp teams, but ended up quitting in middle school.

On the flipside my Mom signed me up for dance classes when I was 2. I hated going and used to throw tantrums to get out of going to class. I would refuse to wear the leotard and the only time my Mom could bribe me into going to class was when she threatened to pull me out of the yearly recitals. What can I say? I loved being the center of attention once a year.

Eventually in high school I joined the cheerleading team and finally found a sport that I could appreciate. I loved being on the squad, but when it came down to it, I wasn’t very good at it either. I could never do any of the back flips and –let’s face it – there’s a reason they placed me in the back for most of the dance routines (even though I was one of the shortest girls!)

As you can see, though I did a lot of athletic activities growing up, I never considered myself much of an athlete. I couldn’t throw a ball, I couldn’t hold a beat, and I was terrible at anything that involved kicking, passing, or catching. 

Then I started running.

I wasn’t very good at running either. I couldn’t make it to the end of the block without walking and I returned home each evening feeling drained for what I was putting my body through. I wasn’t what you would call very fast either. My first 5k was completed in around 33 minutes and even to this day I am damn proud of that time. 🙂

But, for some reason not being very good at running didn’t seem to bother me this time around. There was something about it that kept me coming back for more. Maybe it was the fact that this was a solo sport. Maybe it was because the only person I was challenging was myself? Or maybe with running I could disappear in the crowd and no one who passed me on the street knew who I was. No one knew how fast or how far I was going and I’m pretty sure nobody cared either.

With running I slowly built up my athletic confidence and before I knew it I was actively participating in a sport that I loved. Somewhere along the line I went from not being very athletic to being called an athlete. I can’t tell you when exactly that happened or why it did, but now I’m proud to say I am in fact an athlete.

I still may not be able to shoot a hoop or hit a ball with a bat, but I can run and that’s all that matters to me. 🙂

What’s your story? Do you consider yourself an athlete?

1 Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday August 24, 2010 at 2:29 pm

You should try making your own lox. It’s so easy. I have a recipe here if you’d like:
http://gamereviewwiki.com/bikinibirthday/2010/02/09/day-14/

2 Dynamics August 24, 2010 at 2:29 pm

People laugh at me when I tell them this, but I was a Badminton Champ. Does that qualify as an athlete?

3 britchickruns August 24, 2010 at 2:29 pm

I love your story (and your lunch!)!
I sucked at sports at school – I came last in the 2 races I did on Sports Day, which – aged 15 – was HUMILIATING! But I’m like you – since I took up running, I feel I can call myself an athlete. Athlete and proud!

4 lowandbhold August 24, 2010 at 2:30 pm

I was the same way, I never really excelled at any sports. Even though I don’t really excel at running, either I love it and definitely consider myself and athlete now. It makes me happy 🙂

5 carly August 24, 2010 at 2:30 pm

That lunch looks delicious! To be honest, I’ve never had a fig. And I’ve never really had a desire to try them, but these pictures make them look too good. I just may have to taste one!

I don’t currently consider myself an athlete, but growing up I definitely did. Up through middle school I was heavily involved in gymnastics and dance, and then beginning in middle school and through high school I was a cheerleader. I couldn’t tumble either! But I was really good at stunts and dancing.

I would love to get back to that place where I considered myself an athlete. It was such an important part of who I was, and I miss it.

6 Beth August 24, 2010 at 2:31 pm

I love this post! I still struggle with the idea of calling myself an athlete, though I am in the process of training for a half marathon and work out 4-6 times a week. I think its easier for me to say I’m athletic than a full out athlete. Working on it!

7 silvershadow157 August 24, 2010 at 2:34 pm

I’ve played at least one sport pretty much my entire life but never really excelled at any of them when I was younger. However, for about 9 years I was intensely into horseback riding, which I think counts as a sport (you try maneuvering a 1000 pounds animal around a course of jumps and tell me that doesn’t take athletic ability). I took a hiatus from sports during college, which is also when I gained a lot of weight, and towards the middle of my junior year started exercising again. Last year I started running and now I’m addicted and will be running my first 5K in a couple of weeks. I love being active and athletic and never want to lose that again.

8 Red August 24, 2010 at 2:34 pm

I totally feel the same way! Don’t get me involved in any sport that involves a ball because I am no good at it! Running is the only thing I truly think I am good at!

9 hundredtenpounds August 24, 2010 at 2:35 pm

I never used to consider myself an athlete. I was 100+ pounds overweight and hated exercising. After I lost all the weight and became a runner I found that I AM an athlete!

10 It All Changes August 24, 2010 at 2:35 pm

I have horrible coordination so I was a band geek. But now that I am a runner I consider myself an athlete in a sense. Just not one that plays well with others 🙂

11 Kelly August 24, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Yes, I would consider myself an athlete. I did gymnastics for 10 years, ran track for 8, played field hockey for 4, and basketball for 3. Haha I think I’m definitely an athlete, plus I still run now!

12 Rae August 24, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Great post, Meghann, and I can really relate! My story is really similar to yours in terms of athleticism…but whats crazy is when I started running, I never considered myself an athlete…or a triathelete….untill I finished the ironman this year….now I figure if I dont call myself an athlete, I am just being dumb! 😛

13 Megan (Braise The Roof) August 24, 2010 at 2:44 pm

I can totally relate to your story. My mom put my in figure skating and MADE me take lessons for about 5 years before I finally convinced her to let me quit. I always enjoyed playing sports (soccer was my favorite) and I wasn’t bad at any of them, but never good enough to get any attention. So, I switched to theater. And I ended up majoring in it during college- go figure!

14 Katy @ MonsterProof August 24, 2010 at 2:44 pm

I don’t think I ever have. I always played sports, but I was more interested in arts, so never considered myself an “athlete”. I was decent enough, it just never was my focus. I agree with the above comment that I’m “athletic”, but an athlete? I think it requires self-definition that I don’t have.

15 gavrielski August 24, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Thanks for sharing your athlete story! I absolutely consider myself an athlete. I played varsity soccer in high school and college, and I am about to complete my first triathlon and half-marathon! If I didn’t consider myself an athlete already, swimming in the San Francisco Bay for the first time ever yesterday would have confirmed it for me! 🙂 I love being athletic, and being an athlete makes me feel powerful, strong, and alive. Thanks for the great post!

16 runningwithsass August 24, 2010 at 3:01 pm

you go girl!

I am def an athlete. played vball, bball,a nd ra track and played soccer all growing up and through high school (except soccer) was athlete of the year at my high school, district MVP, etc. I lived and breathed sports. then I move don to coaching vball and bball, so i could live vicariously through the girls on my teams! running is great since its solo, but I get frustrated b/c all the other sports came naturally to me but running hasnt!

17 Amy @ Second City Randomness August 24, 2010 at 3:03 pm

I think I love running so much because it’s a solo sport. It keeps me competing against myself- and yes, I would like to think of myself as an athlete because of it.

In high school, I did a few team sports like basketball and softball. My dad was so upset when I quit basketball (it’s like a legacy thing in my family) and I never really got into softball. So when I found running, and kept with it because I actually loved it, I was so excited! It’s a sport that a lot of people don’t understand (“what… so basically you just pay to run?”), but that’s ok. And that’s why I love having a blog- because I found people who actually DO get it and love talking about it as much as I do!

18 Heather August 24, 2010 at 3:04 pm

I was terrible at all sports and still am to this day. I just don’t have the coordination and am clumsy, so I started running. I figured you don’t have to have much coordination for that. I’m still not very fast at all, but it’s something I won’t give up on. Unlike every other sport I tried it’s something I actually want to get better at so I keep on trying!

19 Sana August 24, 2010 at 3:22 pm

I am an athlete and I even have a trophy to prove it!!!

20 NYCRunnerGirl August 24, 2010 at 3:34 pm

I definitely consider myself an athlete! I thought I was athletic growing up and in high school, but I don’t think I truly appreciated what my body does until recently.

Great post!

21 Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine August 24, 2010 at 3:42 pm

I’m a horrible athlete except when it comes to running too!! I have absolutely ZERO hand-eye coordination. Ooops 🙂

22 Nicole - yuppie yogini August 24, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Those figs are beautiful. I considered myself an athlete until I was injured 🙁

23 Corey - The Runner's Cookie August 24, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Great question! I definitely see myself as an athlete. I think people, with their own abilities and preferences, would have different “thresholds” at which they consider themselves “athletes.” If we compare ourselves with what others do, it’s impossible to be satisfied – there’s always someone who is running faster and farther than you. To me, being an athlete means mentally/physically pushing myself more days of the week than not, and always trying to improve!

24 newleafeats August 24, 2010 at 4:04 pm

I don’t consider myself an athlete. I never liked competitive sports (with the exception of soccer, and I did enjoy basketball when I finally got into it), so my activities were limited to spurts of martial arts and dance.

But the other day I almost referred to my body as an “athletic” body, because I regularly work out. Makes you wonder, what qualifies as an athletic body? Is it the way my body looks? Or the way it behaves?

25 Dorry August 24, 2010 at 4:16 pm

I like to think I’m active and fit but not really an athlete. I’m embracing an new identity as a runner and I love yoga but I didn’t play sports after middle school. 🙂

26 pursuitofhealthfulness August 24, 2010 at 4:29 pm

I think that being an athlete is a frame of mind and a lifestyle, rather than a social category. If you are active and enjoy working out, then, gosh darn, you are an athlete.

27 Shanna, like Banana August 24, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Nope, not much of an athlete…I played Volleyball, Softball, Soccer, Basketball, ran Track, etc, but wasn’t really great at any of them. I *was* good at dance team though 😉

And now I consider Bikram and keeping fit my ‘sport’!

28 Taysa August 24, 2010 at 4:41 pm

I enjoyed this. I am absolutely not an athlete, though from sixth to eleventh grade I played soccer year round, sometimes on three different teams at a time! And the truth is I totally hated it! I hate competing, but I loved my friends on the team and practices were fun.

I just started running last year and it’s been a long, hard, slow start, but I keep going back to it. I like competing against myself and it’s helpful to know that other runners I admire did not start out at the speed or strength they have now. Thanks!

29 Anne @ Your Kind of Salad August 24, 2010 at 5:08 pm

I loved this! I am NOT into team sports and never was. I didn’t find running, yoga and spinning until I was an adult; but those are my true loves. I describe them as sports you CAN do in a group (vibe the energy and competition); but not WITH a group (awkwardness is not a factor!) Rock on!

30 Tina August 24, 2010 at 5:08 pm

I consider myself an athlete because I educated myself on things related to fitness and know how to get in effective workouts. I push myself and see results. I’m not anything specific in the athletic world, but I’m still an athlete regardless.

Love your story!

31 Abby August 24, 2010 at 5:29 pm

This is great! I completely relate. I was pretty good at softball, but my family lived and breathed baseball, so I guess it’s a genetic thing. But there was always something about running that made me want to do it even though I wasn’t very good it. I should have stuck with softball, but I didn’t want to. I just wanted to run..unfortunately I didn’t learn that until college!!

32 SaraRM August 24, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Our stories are very similar. I played basketball, ran track, cheerleading, etc in middle school but was never really that great at it and stopped everything my juinor year in high school. I started working out again in college but always felt akward and never really knew what to do or how to do it right. I started working with a strength trainer a year after graduation and really loved it. I started running over a year ago, training for races and now proudly call myself a RUNNER and have the muscles to go with it! I consider myself more athletic now that I ever did when I actually was in “athletics”.

33 christina cadden August 24, 2010 at 6:01 pm

That food looks so good!

34 runningwifle August 24, 2010 at 6:37 pm

I played soccer from ages 5-18 and off and on through college, and dabbled a bit in basketball as well (until I got cut from the team in HS), but I always hated just plain running. Now, running is my favorite athletic activity by far, though I still struggle with calling myself an athlete. I think running has become “my thing” because it is all about me and competing with myself, and it has become such a great physical and emotional outlet as well!

35 Vaala ? August 24, 2010 at 6:40 pm

It only occurred to me last week that I might be an athlete…which cracked up my coaches and my friends. They couldn’t believe I hadn’t worked it out sooner!

36 Vaala ? August 24, 2010 at 6:40 pm

It only occurred to me last week that I might be an athlete…which cracked up my coaches and my friends. They couldn’t believe I hadn’t worked it out sooner!

37 Vaala ? August 24, 2010 at 6:40 pm

It only occurred to me last week that I might be an athlete…which cracked up my coaches and my friends. They couldn’t believe I hadn’t worked it out sooner!

38 Vaala ? August 24, 2010 at 6:40 pm

It only occurred to me last week that I might be an athlete…which cracked up my coaches and my friends. They couldn’t believe I hadn’t worked it out sooner!

39 molly August 24, 2010 at 6:49 pm

I call myself an athlete- I ran cross country and track through my freshman year of college. In high school I went to state in cross country and the 3200m in track. Now I mainly do triathlons and am about to start marathon training. In my mind an athlete has a competitive spirit and is active,but the term is broad.

40 Becky August 24, 2010 at 6:52 pm

I feel like you wrote my story! I come from a family of athletes. My brothers played hockey and my mom went to college on a full scholarship of basketball. My parents coached little league, softball, basketball, and field hockey throughout my childhood. I always went to games and I’d run around on the sidelines, but I never wanted to play. I joined the field hockey team in middle school and stuck with it through high school, but only because I loved being part of the team. I could’ve cared less about the sport.

It wasn’t until I started running that I loved a sport. It was different because my performance didn’t affect anyone else. No team! I loved challenging myself. I also loved that time and dedication were the keys to success. I didn’t need to have tons of eye-hand coordination or remember to rules or steps. I just ran. And I keep on running!

41 Beer and Burrito Body August 24, 2010 at 7:04 pm

I also think that running gives you a feeling that can become really addictive. You just don’t feel the same without a good energy drain every once in a while.

42 Ajay August 24, 2010 at 7:21 pm

I was never an athlete growing up, I was always picked last for teams in PE during primary (elementary) school and didn’t participate in any sports outside of school. I was a horrible runner, and couldn’t throw or catch to save my life (not much has changed).

I started rhythmic gymnastics at the age of 12 and enjoyed some success, competing at national competitions. When I quit, I started attending group fitness classes at the gym.

5 years after joining the gym, I decided to take the steps to start instructing. Nearly 2 years on now, I’m teaching a lot of group fitness, including Les Mills BODYATTACK which involves a lot of running… and I love it. As an instructor, yep, I am an athlete. Maybe not in the traditional sense, but I’m out there every evening after work inspiring my participants to work harder, and to have fun while they do it! 😉

43 Lauren August 24, 2010 at 7:56 pm

I adore smoked salmon. I just had some myself today and tried out a new version that I have to share with you because I know you would love it. Cinnamon Raisin Bread, Smoked Salmon, Goat Cheese, Peaches and Spinach. Please try this and tell me you did. I promise you will LOVE it! 😉

44 Yin August 24, 2010 at 8:14 pm

(New reader!) I love the runner story you put because that’s how I’m feeling. I started taking running seriously a couple weeks ago and have no idea why I’m hooked, but I love it!

P.S. If you’re going to New York, you should stop by the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (65 Bayard Street, New York, NY 10013). I’ve been there once (ordered pistachio) but wasn’t blown away; however, I’ve heard such great things since I’ve been back (which was years ago). Check that out if you have time and are craving ice cream!

45 emilydianne August 24, 2010 at 8:17 pm

That lunch looks absolutely scumptious – and just reminds me that I NEED to buy some figs. I’ve never considered myself an athlete, and still don’t. For some reason, I feel like running is like dancing – sure you’re exercising and working out while doing both, but unless you’re competing (and I’ve never run with the concept of competition in mind) then I guess well, that component is missing for me. I run because I love to run, because I love the way it makes me feel. But am I an athlete because I run? Yes.

46 thedailyoatmeal August 24, 2010 at 8:41 pm

It took me an inordinant amount of time to call myself a runner, and probably longer to consider myself in the ranks of “athlete.” Looking back on it, I suppose it seems weird, but I’m proud that I feel I earned the titles. Neither came easily for sure. Now that I’m working my way back from injury, I still consider myself a runner and athlete, but it gives me something to strive for, so I can call myself that loud and clear again!

47 Jenna August 24, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Great story!!!

48 Shay August 24, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Great post!! Really inspiring:)

49 Kendall @ Whisk Her Away August 24, 2010 at 9:20 pm

I feel the exact same way about yoga. If I lose my balance in tree pose, the only person judging me is ME. Love that.

50 Melissa @ TryingToHeal August 24, 2010 at 9:28 pm

your story is just like me, except i wasn’t a cheerleader. all i could really do was put one foot infront of the other. was never fast, but my dedication, passion and commitment to my team was what counted the most!

51 Pearl Lee August 25, 2010 at 11:50 am

salmon looks so good! i’ve never seen it that red before!

and second, yaay for trying out different athletic activities! thank you for sharing!

52 sarah August 25, 2010 at 12:42 pm

love hearing your story meghann:). i think there are so many definitions of an athlete and your def fit in to that!

i always did sports at a kid but my main ones were gymnastics and diving. i was obsessed and looking back feel so lucky i found something i loved. i wasn’t ever the best but i loved doing it. it is really hard to continue gymnastics and diving past high school so in college i did nothing haha. my dad was an amazing runner up until his knees gave out and i just picked it up this year. the longest race i have done is a 10k and i want to do a half marathon next spring…hopefully i can!

53 Heather August 25, 2010 at 4:09 pm

This post really, again, exemplifies why you’re one of the best healthy living bloggers around. You’re self aware, self deprecating and not afraid to admit your shortcomings and weaknesses–real weaknesses… not “Tee hee, I can’t stop eating dark chocolate. That’s just how I roll.”

I get so tired of reading blog posts that are just a platform for people who think they’re so clever and overachieving. (I guess this is probably the point where said bloggers would tell me to stop reading if I don’t like it!) I love that you don’t brag, and you’ve shared your life in a way that is highly relate-able… thank you!! Keep it up!!

54 Meghann August 25, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Thank you Heather 🙂

I really appreciate the comment. It made my day!

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