Little Aja Does Not Run

A long time ago, well, not too long ago but it seems like a long time ago, I was not into fitness. I went to the top sports middle school in my district. We never lost a game. They had to order extra space for our banners that display all the years we won the district competitions. We had a lot of school spirit and pride. But I was not into fitness at all. We had PE every day all 3 years, but I was not in the conditioning class. I did try out for volleyball one year, and ended up with the weirdest little purple polka-dot bruises, but not on the team. 

Every Monday and Friday were pure cardio days. We had our “fun run” on Mondays, and Fridays was always a choice day of what kind of cardio; pick your poison, if you will. We had about 5 gym teachers and each one would offer a different choice. One Friday in either 7th or 8th grade, I can’t quite remember, I was sitting with my friends and we’d decided to pick the tiny slope “hill” run being offered by our PE teacher. But for some reason I stood up when they said “hill run” with the top conditioning PE teacher and walked out the door, looking back at my friends like, “why are you still sitting? We agreed to do this!” and they looked at me like I had just signed my own death sentence. I didn’t realize until I was out the door that we were going to be running some of the steepest hills I had ever seen for the next thirty minutes. All the other conditioning students were out there with me, but I stayed behind with two other regular PE girls. The three of us puffed along, pushing ourselves harder than we had ever had in our short lives. The PE teacher hung back nicely encouraging us on. He had always seemed so tough before, but he was so kind and encouraging. I felt so comfortable despite being physically uncomfortable. 

I walked into the locker room after the end of the 30 minutes feeling exhausted and sweaty but awesome. My friends attacked me. They said I was crazy and they couldn’t believe I had done that. I couldn’t believe it either, but I had had so much fun. I was not as fit as the other kids but I had done it and I hadn’t died. But I felt compelled to express feelings that were not my own. I never offered to join the conditioning kids on Fridays ever again. 

At the beginning of 8th grade we had to run the mile, with the intention of running it again at the end of the year to see how we had progressed. I felt so exhilarated once we were done. I don’t remember my mile time, but I was having that wonderful runners high. Again my friends made fun of me, and when we got to the end of the year the PE teachers offered the mile as a Friday choice but no one was required to do it. Myself and my two guy friends ran it. My other non-fitness friends stayed in. I did improve from my last mile, but that’s not the point. I got that runners high again and felt amazing. 

At this point in my life my only forms of exercise came from PE and dancing in my room on the weekends. Once I went to high school PE stopped being mandatory (which is stupid) and I just had my weekend dancing, which didn’t stop me considering I got deep into my disorder at that time. But today I am a certified personal trainer who practices heavy lifting, running, HIIT, Pilates, and yoga. I still dance, too. That active girl was always in me, I just doubted my abilities. Now it’s a lifelong passion. 

Never let others hold you back from your passion. Most importantly, never let yourself hold you back from your passion. 


3 thoughts on “Little Aja Does Not Run

  1. I was always lowsy at the mile run in school too, but today I can run a mile no problem. You are right. Your past can not define you. And your priorities dictate what you can and can not do.

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