Inspired in an Unexpected Place

As I sat in my car at the gym this morning trying to find every excuse to not go in, the similar inner voice struggle that has been winning seemingly forever was trying to win once again.   Let’s face it, I am sitting in the parking lot – the only effort at this point is to open the door, grab my gear and walk into the facility.   My only goal was to lift Chest and swim 1000 meters – it is called a basic workout that my overweight and out of shape body can do.   Both things that I enjoy doing also (once I actually show up).   I sat there for at least 15 minutes in a fog on my phone doing nothing.   I am not going to get any other earth shattering thing done in the next 2 hours until I have to pick up my daughter from preschool.   I have to get a shower anyway.   I finally just make myself move, grab my stuff and walk in.

As I was coming down the stairs into the locker room, in front of me is a gentleman I presume to have ALS or similar condition in his wheelchair now with his wife, a care assistant and a trainer.   I have seen him in the past, but since I have not bothered showing up myself for months basically (random showings – nothing consistent) his disease has progressed to this point – last I saw him, he was still able to walk.    It hit me like a sledge hammer over my head.  How much effort did it take for him and his wife and care giver to not only get out of bed today, but go to the gym to do whatever his failing body can do.  

As I am writing this, it is still shaking me to the core.   My overweight out of shape self has no excuses to continue to fail my body.   I know what it is like to be strong, to be thin, to be able to run 10 miles…  I know that by failing to make choices that bring about a strong, thin and fit body – I have let the other voices win and my body continues to just morph into an undirected self – eventually health issues may arise because of it.   The mind game is real, but nothing I face in my life is greater than the effort this gentleman I witnessed today must make to just get up everyday.   He and his wife were such an inspiration to me today.   No I cannot run ten miles right now – I am saddened by what my body has become.   It is my choice to make changes and love my body and do what is required to be a new strong, thin and fit.   I know how to workout – I know how to swim strokes – I know how to ride a bike – I know how to run – I know how to lift free weights…  It is just that my body has to be rebuilt.  It has memory and lifting and swimming are my go to exercises.  I cannot run right now, but I am walking…   I must win the mental game in order to win the physical one.   The voices of procrastination and distraction have to lose and FOCUS has to win.  

I have the 50-year-old birthday coming up in a year and half.   I ventured to look at what the Boston Marathon qualifying times are for my up and coming age.   I cannot run a mile right now, but in my twenties I did run a couple marathons.    In my twenties, the Boston Marathon qualifying times seemed daunting and unachievable for me.   I looked them up to see qualifying times for now 45-49 (3:55) and 50-54 (4:00).   I believe my best twenty something time was 4:15 at the Chicago Marathon circa early 90s.   I have been swishing around in my mind a goal to qualify to run the Boston and then run it as a 50-year-old milestone.   The times seem to be approachable now – if I spend the next 3 months lifting, swimming and walking by fall I should be able to run again.  Then as I approach 49 in December, running up to 5-6 miles should not be an earth shattering effort…   I have planned so much over the years to make a U-Turn on my conditioning – I am discouraged at this point to even plan, because of failing myself.   The reality is – there is no hope of change unless I do set goals and plan – it is just about being true to myself and showing up.

This gentleman today has inspired me so much.   It is difficult to put into words – he demonstrated perseverance in the face of adversity beyond my comprehension.