I have recently found a new love online. The Daily Mile is a fitness journal and social networking site for runners and athletes. When I joined it I was looking for a place to keep track of my mileage. I have tried fitness logs for years but found them to be time consuming and not very effective. I knew that I needed someone else to do the work for me. With the Daily Mile I put in my mileage or my time spent lifting and the program keeps track of it for me – showing me how much time I have spent working out each day, week, month and year, allowing me to see patterns in how I workout. I knew I would love that part of the program before I signed up. What I didn’t know was how much fun it would be to follow like minded athletes or the support I would get from other runners or even how nice it would feel to be able to encourage other runners who are struggling through a workout. The social aspect turned out to be a real surprise.
Last week several of the runners began posting before and after photos. You can see the photos over at RunBlogger. Looking at these pictures as they came across last week, I was amazed at the way people have been able to change their bodies through exercise. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a bit of a “fitness freak.” I am the girl who can’t stand to miss a day of some form of exercise and the girl people can’t stand to be around if I have missed a day. Even so, I don’t think I realized until the pictures started coming across my desktop exactly how much it makes a difference to be physically active.
When you go to RunBlogger and look at the pictures, you will notice the weight lost, the muscle gained and the physical improvements overall, but take a minute longer to look at each picture. Notice in the before pictures a darkness to the faces, the lack of a smile that makes it all the way to their eyes. Notice their surroundings, what they are doing in the pictures. And then look at the after pictures. Look at the smiles that light up their whole face. Notice their surroundings, what they are doing now instead of sitting still. Notice the confidence you see in each person in their after pictures.
This confidence is something most of the runners did not expect. They may not have even noticed they were missing it before. But it is the confidence they gained through running and exercise that is the real change. The confidence doesn’t come just from losing the weight, looking good and feeling good. It comes from knowing that they were the ones that did it. It wasn’t some fad diet or some protein drink that got them to this point. It was hard work. It was getting up everyday with a plan to get moving and putting that plan in action even when the workouts were tough. Most of the runners and athletes on Daily Mile achieved their transformation through training for a 5k,10k or even half and full marathons. And for these runners it wasn’t just crossing the finish line that gave them the confidence you see in those pictures. It was the months of training and hard work that lead to that point. It was in discovering exactly how far they can push themselves and how much they can overcome.
So, I do have a new love. I love the Daily Mile, not just because it is a great place to keep track of what I do, but because I am rewarded everyday by the other runners I encounter there. Their hard work and the confidence they have built through the hard work shine through in every entry. And it is their confidence that allows me to see mine.