Addicted to exercise: Am I or not?
It's a question I've frequently asked myself over the last 15 years or so, sometimes more often than others. Especially when I didn't miss a day of exercise (bare minimum: a 30-minute sweat session) for more than six years straight. Yup, more than 2,000 days with no rest for the weary. (If this sounds vaguely familiar, you might have read one of my two articles about The Streak, as I called it--one in Conde Nast Sports for Women, and one post-Streak in HERS.) Even when I was in the midst of The Streak, I was convinced I wasn't addicted, just perhaps a wee bit obsessed. I finally broke The Streak on a three-month, around-the-world trip Jack and I took as newlyweds in 2000. I figured it was more important to return home with a husband rather than a high VO2 max or buff biceps.
While training for my last two marathons, I did fine on the rest days built into my training schedule. I didn't get antsy--not in my body, but more importantly, not in my brain. No nagging voice telling me I'd become a sloth if I didn't exercise for a day. So I hadn't had an "addicted or not?" thought in a while, but then today I started wondering again. Last night, I flew cross-country--three flights, ugh!--with the three kids and Jack to see my family in Connecticut. My plan all along was to do a Sunday-type workout on Saturday (I did a repeat of last Sunday's run up Terwilliger then swam for 50 minutes), then take today as a rest day.
Except when we arrived at my parents' house, despite feeling grotty from fractured, plane-seat sleep, I immediately started thinking I should go for a run. To shake the legs out, get the blood flowing, enjoy the fresh air, soak in the excitement of being on vacation with my family...and not sink into slothdom. Even as I type this, I'm still contemplating going on that run--and debating what qualifies as an exercise "addiction." What's the dividing line between dedication and disease?
I'd love to hear from you, especially as I'm writing about the topic this week for Dimity's and my book. Thanks.