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When quitting isn't really quitting

Posted by Elizabeth Comeau  April 11, 2013 07:00 AM

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It was recently brought to my attention by a dear friend that I have done a lot of fit things over the course of my life.

Here's my laundry list of a few of the fit things I've tried:
Rock climbing
Figure skating
Field hockey

For the most part, I stuck with all of those activities. I still climb (although it's been awhile, and I promise, Sarah, we are going to have a climb date soon!). I still skate ... still could manage my way around a dinghy without causing too much of a ruckus ...

But there's one sport, one activity I flat out love that I quit: Rowing.

When I took up rowing my freshman year of college it was love at first oar-slap against the water. Rowing was challenging. It used my entire body, and left me with almost no energy left after a regatta.

Rowing allowed me to learn how to properly weight train, too. I became a huge fan of deadlifts, overhead presses, and weighted squats. By freshman year I could bench about 105, which, when you are a 5 foot tall gal makes you feel like you basically own the world.

Freshman year at Simmons I was stroke seat -- the lead seat in the boat. I was team co-captain. I loved every second of crew. The team became my family. We ate ridiculous amounts of hard-boiled eggs at breakfast after practice and got up at 4 a.m. to suffer on the cold water of the Charles together.

But, by the end of my sophomore year/beginning of my junior year, I had to give up crew. I had landed my first internship (right here at The Boston Globe) where I was working 40 hours a week (or more) taking a full course load of classes, and working a second job. Sleep became my main priority. Survival.

I couldn't give up weekends to races anymore: I had to focus on landing a real job rather than an internship, and it pained me to see my crew family on the water without me.

The shift away from crew, as much as I missed it, did allow me to find a job, and I took my love of weight lifting to the gym where I secretly competed against the musclehead dudes who always gave the short girl in the room the hairy eyeball.

Quitting crew was also the catalyst that drove me to really try running. While I knew I could not commit to being on a crew team when I started this blog, I knew I wanted to find a sport that had the same feel. I wanted a sport that used every ounce of my strength and willpower to complete. I wanted to find a group of people who were passionate about running (most dedicated runners, non-runners will likely tell you, love talking about running almost as much as they love actually running).

Crew is the one sport I quit, but have never really given up. Instead, it opened up entirely new paths for me.

And bonus: all my spandex from my rowing days works just as well for running.

What's something you've given up, and why?

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.


Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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