So I pretty much either go to the gym or go running with friends every day of the week. Friday is supposed to be my "rest" day, but it's also a group run day. So whattaya gonna do? Thursdays are the worst. Running, weight training AND softball. Good thing I actually LOVE it all!
But sometimes I'm a lazy butt and don't want to go to the gym. It's so much harder to motivate yourself when you are by yourself. Or for me it is. Usually I get up early on Saturdays to get it over with. But not today. I stayed in that biscuit as long as I dared. If you wait too long, the Y gets crowded with soccer, t-ball and karate kids. Plus then you can't find a parking spot in the shade. A definite must!
I installed myself on my preferred treadmill (the one by the fan AND in front of the a/c vent) and started my run. Still kinda grumbling to myself about having to run today...like anyone is MAKING me, this "schedule" is all self imposed....I looked around to see what regulars were there. And that is when I saw:
1. The strong man from the circus. Okay, he's probably not really a strong man from the circus, but that's what I know him as. He has very dark hair that he slicks back, a black handle bar mustache and he works out in a white undershirt. Just like the old timey strong men! I half expect him to have the old black barbells with the weights written on the round ends. But I jest, not at his expense. He has clearly had several surgeries, for what I do not know. He walks very slowly and as if he is in pain. He has bald spots on his head, with fresh scars. Like he has ongoing health issues. And yet he manages to make it to the gym. I start to feel a little crummy about my attitude.
2. The tiny old man who comes with his OXYGEN TANK in tow! Oh please, if he can lift weight complete with oxygen tank, surely I can suck it up to run a few miles. I start to feel a little worse.
3. The gentleman who walks with a cane, dragging his right leg slightly. He's there every day I'm there. (and probably the days I'm not too) It takes him a long time to make it from the door to the weight room. But he does it. I can't imagine the effort it is for him to even get to the gym. I'm feeling very, very small right now.
4. Finally, a young man (late teens, early twenties) approaches me as I'm starting my last mile. He stands in front of my nicely ventilated treadmill and tries to start up a conversation. I can barely breathe much less talk, but I don't want to be rude to this particular young man. He tells me that he's going swimming this morning with friends. Sure enough, he's got on swim trunks and has a towel slung over his bare shoulder. He asked me how fast I thought he could swim. Hmm, why don't you tell ME how fast you can swim? He then went on to say he's going to be in the Olympics some day. Swimming. And he looked so proud of himself. And my heart melted. (yes, believe it or not, I DO have a heart for some people) You see, this young man has Down's Syndrome. And he is going to the Olympics! He is approaching his Saturday morning swim as if he's training for the Olympics.
This is why I love my YMCA. It's not full of hard bodies, checking themselves out in the mirror. There are no sorority girls in full makeup checking out the guys checking out themselves in the mirror. Just regular people, trying to do right by their bodies. Hoping to get a little stronger each day, a little healthier, gain a little more physical independence.
So, no more excuses! I have a strong body that never fails me. I can do anything I set my mind to. For now. I'm sure each of the three men at the gym once had their strength too.
God has blessed each of us with a vessel to carry us throughout life. It's our responsibility to be a good steward of this vessel and to treat it right.
No more excuses. No more skipping the gym just because I don't want to go. No more whining about running a few miles. After all, it was my big idea to sign up for all these races in the first place! The four men I encountered today have the right mindset and I can learn a lot from them.
So train like you're going to the Olympics! Because Life can sometimes be the toughest race you'll ever run.
"...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." Hebrews 12:1