Last Friday was our last "sanctioned" run, but neither one of us had acknowledged that to each other. I had to dress for the snow that was falling. As I made my way down the dark street where we meet up, I wasn't absolutely positive she'd be there. We hardly confirm our regularly scheduled workouts anymore, but sometimes in inclement weather one or both of us doesn't always make it out. But there she was, back lit by the street light behind her. Rather than taking off together in one direction, we stood under that streetlight, snow falling around us and gave each other a long, long hug. This one was too important to miss. Once we finally got off, we used our entire hour. The snowfall was beautiful and we soon realized, like we always do when the temperatures first plunge, that we overdressed (there are certain layers for various temperature ranges, and I was dressed for 10 degrees, not 30 degrees).
So, the moment of truth came earlier this week, on another cold early morning. When my alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. the first thought that crossed my mind was that I would be running/walking alone. The first hurdle was getting out of bed. Second hurdle was getting out the door at my designated time. Third hurdle was not cutting my workout short.
But I didn't consider all three hurdles at once. I focused first on getting out of bed. If I didn't keep up with my routine, I put my fitness on a slippery slope. I could choose not to workout outside, I told myself. I had lots of options. If I need to be with people, I could always go to the gym. And so I got out of bed. With that, I decided to forge ahead with my outdoor workout. Bundled up (within reason), my dog and I (who to her credit is an awesome workout partner, except that sometimes she poops at the most inopportune times) braved the 27 degrees and set out for our walk. Big deal, 27 degrees, I had to tell myself. This is just the start of the Minnesota winter, sister. If you want to make it through January, grow that second skin now. I made myself walk for 30 minutes. At 30 minutes I made a deal to go on to 45. By 45 I knew I had that hour in me. And when I returned home, I couldn't have been more proud. By sticking to my schedule from day one, I had sent an important message to myself: My fitness was going to remain a priority. Although I love Pam's entertainment, I enjoyed that solo workout too. I appreciated the peace of the early morning and the company of my own thoughts. Mostly though, I felt empowered, especially because I did it and know I will do it: without the motivation of another person or an upcoming race goal. This is fitness for fitness' sake.
But then I got tested AGAIN the very next day.
I showed up to my Wednesday morning barbell strength class. I'm very motivated to attend--in an hour I get a great strength workout by a Jillianesque instructor, in a room full of eager students, even one 6-months pregnant like me. But yesterday the class was full. I didn't get my name on the sign-up sheet and I got booted. Another moment of truth. I sure did have a lot going on that day and I worked out the day before so chucking the gym would have been pretty easy. I didn't know what to do with myself in light of my failed plan. There was a cycling class in the next room but I wanted to keep up the momentum for my muscles. I refused to leave. I was there. Isn't that the hardest part? So I found an elliptical machine and warmed up for 20 minutes then proceeded to wander aimlessly through the weight room. That's a tough place to be when you don't have a plan. I got down to the basics: squats, lunges, chest press, then copied what other people were doing that looked interesting. Since I'm a titch sore this morning, I suppose my self-guided weight workout was a success. Again, empowering. I can self-motivate.
Today is a designated day off. However, I do plan to take the girls rock climbing after preschool. I am certainly game to give it a go myself, however if they have a rule against gestating women scaling the wall I probably will not put this new empowering focus to use to find a way to make the summit anyway. While enthusiastic about my fitness independence, taking those designated days off are also important to the motivation to be fit.
My time will come again tomorrow morning. The alarm will ring at 5:30 a.m. and I will have choices to make again. Committing my intention to all of you certainly will make it that much harder to stay in bed!