21, December 2010



                  I open my eyes, look at the clock, get the kids off to school, straighten up the beds, and drag my body towards the day ahead.  It is time to visit my happy place.  That’s what I have been doing for the past year of my life.  Three days a week from 9:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., I am in my happy place.  I sweat, I pant, I run ragged, I weaken, I struggle, I overexert, I deplete, I dispel.  I am in my happy place.

            It doesn’t seem to make any sense, even to me, but a year ago I joined a gym.  It was a HUGE deal for me because I have never been the gym type of girl.  I am overweight, out of shape, and think all gyms are just a waste of time.   I eat unhealthy, I like an occasional cocktail and a smoke, and I like to cuddle up on the couch with a bag of chips and a good movie.  Don’t get me wrong, I am active.  I like to go on long hikes, I like to walk along the beach, I like to play some touch football with the kids, I like activities.  I don’t like to encapsulate everything into one hour, have sweat dripping from my body, and struggle to complete the task requested of me.  Doing all of this while everyone is watching me.  No thank you.

            A year ago, a friend of mine said to me, “Come with me to this gym.  It’s awesome.  Just try it out.  They offer a free trial class.”  I figured I had nothing to loose, so I went.  It wasn’t like all the gyms I created in my mind.  There were no machines.  There weren’t a bunch of jack up body builders.  The people there came in all different sizes and shapes.  Maybe this would be fun.  Fun is not the word I would use to describe my first experience at RAW, entertaining maybe, but not fun.  I was happy that I was able to complete the task requested of me without everyone staring and judging, so I went a second time.

            The weekend after my first two experiences at RAW was quite the challenge.  I could not go to the bathroom without every single muscle in my body screaming “Hold it in, I can’t stretch that way.”  I not only thought to myself that I was crazy, I shared with my sisters, “What the hell was I thinking?  This is completely insane!”

            Tuesday morning approached and I decided that I was going to join, just for a month because that was all I could probably handle.  There was something enticing about the experience even though I couldn’t walk for days, and I was ready to commit.  I started to see results in the shape of my arms, in everyday projects, and in my ASS.  It actually started to have a bump.  The little things kept me coming back for more and more pain.  I would accommodate the gym first, and everything else would be secondary.  I started attaining goals I personally set out for myself as well as what was petitioned to me.  I did handstands, sit-ups, push-ups, lifted weights, carries rocks on my back, and ran up and down hills.  I started encouraging my family to work out.   Who was this person?  The old me was gone and a new healthier me had emerged. 

            It was a chilly November morning.  I was excited and scared, but I was going to do it.  I was going to run in my first 5K.  3.2 miles of pure adrenaline was pumping through my veins.  I am not a runner.  I pant after a quarter of mile.  What makes me think I can do this?  The whistle blew and we were off.  I escaped into another world and I was going to do this!  I figured if I had to I would walk, but I had to finish.  The time did not matter, I just had to finish.  After the first mile, I felt pretty good.  I wasn’t the first in the bunch, but I wasn’t the last.  Words of wisdom from my son before I left, “Mom, I know you-you won’t finish first and you won’t finish last-but you will finish.  And here I was, living the words.  The words ran through my mind with every muscle aching in my legs and I was determined.  A tear fell from my eye as I thought of how much this experience has taught my children to never give up, always complete what you have set out to do, and always finish what you start.  I crossed the finish line barely breathing, feeling like I was going to vomit right then and there.  I didn’t vomit but I DID FINISH. 

            I have had such strong feelings of accomplishment from my past year at RAW.  I have performed tasks I never expected could be possible.  I stare at the WALL every time I arrive and think, “They’re crazy, this cannot be done in an hour,” but somehow it is.  I am pushed to my breaking point at least once a week.  I am sore everyday.  I sweat, I pant, I run ragged, I weaken, I struggle, I overexert, I deplete, I dispel.  I am in my happy place.

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