What Is Spandex Therapy?
The number one question I get is: “What is Spandex Therapy?” And sometimes I have a really hard time explaining it. To me, the name always explained itself and then I realized: not everyone needs therapy and some certainly don’t get it through exercise. Well, over the last year it has become very clear to me (slowly) … that I don’t either! I do not get therapeutic benefits through exercise! I despise exercise! It comes with more demands and expectations, and that’s exactly the reason I need therapy in the first place! I have enough expectations placed on me (mostly those I place on myself) as you probably do, too. Many of us do. Sadly, I lost my passion for Spandex Therapy when I inadvertently turned my passion into an obligation.
I didn’t do this on purpose! It’s just that I’ve always said that running is the real gateway drug and I am one determined addict! Thankfully, there are worse addictions to have! My therapy started with running. First, I was simply a recreational 5k runner. After just a handful of races, however, my gate swung wide open! I found I loved the smell of new tennis shoes. I loved the sound of my feet on the pavement. And, mostly, I loved the comradery among runners, bikers, swimmers, spandex addicts like me. I had found my tribe!
Soon, I was spending all my money on my addiction. I just couldn’t get enough: 5k, 10k, half marathon, Sprint triathlon, Half-Ironman, full marathon, then I over-dosed on the full Ironman. It required so much TRAINING. It started to become clear to me (again, all too slowly) that training is different than Spandex Therapy. My Ironman training—which consisted of the runs, bikes, and swims I used to love—no longer felt like therapy. It felt like stress. Another obligation. Another expectation. Which is what I used to relieve with my Spandex Therapy.
While it pains and shames me to say this, this platform is about honesty and healing. Here, we don’t exercise, we work it out. My “it” was a sad, sick, very dark cloud I had formed in my mind while training for Ironman. And, my confession is: After Ironman in November of 2018, I hated Spandex Therapy. I hated my sneakers, my bike, all those stinking t-shirts, the stupid medals. I didn’t even like the smell of new sneakers anymore. All of that joy and rejuvenation that I used to get from Spandex Therapy had been violently sucked out. In shame, I avoided my spandex tribe. I felt like I didn’t belong there anymore. I felt so lost. I lost the one place I could escape and recharge. I lost my passion. I lost my therapy. Over the next six months I practiced restorative yoga and played on my paddle board. I did ZERO exercise, and you know what happened? Slowly, I started to not hate my sneakers anymore. Slowly, I started to ease back onto my bike. Quickly, I went out and bought a pair of new tennis shoes because I found I once again loved the smell of new sneakers. *sniff* Ahhhhh …
Gradually—without the obligation and expectation of necessary training—I was brought happily, wholeheartedly back to my spandex roots and was redeemed by the realization that Spandex Therapy is not training. It’s not exercise. It’s not about how fast you run, how far you swim, how many mountains you hike, or yoga classes you take. It’s has nothing to do with being seen, recognized, or applauded for your athletic accomplishments; it’s about you, your lungs, your heart, your body, and especially your mind. Spandex Therapy is whatever brings you happiness, that supreme stretchy, comfy body bliss, and recharges you! When all of those daily expectations and obligations, the stress, strain, and worry of your life starts to take its toll, spandex is what you don and therapy is what you get.