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Stepping stone

December 7, 2012

Somehow I forgot about the fitness challenge in Steve’s Triple Fusion class. A week ago I was pretty fired up about it. I missed the plank contest because I was in Hawaii but I was hungry to compete. At something, anything again. When I walked in and realized that it was today, I was excited. I crave the feeling of competition again and while this was not a race… just a challenge in a class I take every week….  anything I can do to put myself in a situation to help me practice getting the feel of competition again is one I want to take.

The past 3 weeks have been good. I feel like I have settled in, relaxed, leaned into the process. My feet are underneath me again, I have found solid ground and the road forward has begun. It’s not the mad rush to get through, get to the next phase, roll forward at all costs, like I was in some sort of race against an outside force. There are no more feelings of….  will I be able to claw my way back, those have vanished.

It seemed pretty simple, I didn’t know what to expect. I don’t even know what the move is called. From a standing position you squat down, walk your hands out to a plank position, walk your hands back in stand up. I don’t know how many of us began the challenge, maybe 15? Steve directed us through, we went on his instruction, his cadence if you will, and the last one standing was the winner.

After over 100 of them there were four of us left. Four girls. I honestly don’t remember much before that, or after that. I remember we did 10 push ups after a hundred and something, and then twelve push ups after another bunch. My friend Diane was next to me and I kept pace with her.

I remember nothing. That is exactly what I have been looking for. That feeling of being on autopilot yet at the same time completely conscious of what you are doing. No big thoughts rolling through your mind except go. I never felt like quitting. I was hurting, and I do remember telling myself (or maybe I said it out loud) to not worry about how fast…. I would rather lose the whole thing with proper form than rush through it with sh*t form.

(I do remember giving Steve the finger. Sorry ’bout that. Sometimes that happens when I am in the thick of it.)

I didn’t really look up at who else was left until there were two of us. Then I just focused on myself knowing that I routinely complete races that are 140.6 miles. This was nothing. Sure it hurt but never, not once did the thought of quitting enter my mind. In fact I don’t remember anything passing through my mind. I remember the feeling of….. of drive.

Drive towards it. Drive through it. Reach, feel, breathe, go. This was a challenge in a class with no big accolades…… it was really just me stepping into my own ring and getting out of my own way. I think I was second place, neither of us gave up. If it came down to speed she was a few ahead of me. I could have gone faster but I would have sacrificed my form, and that could mean injury and I am not willing to do that.

He called it around 200 with a minute-long plank. She and I shook hands, she was a fabulous competitor. I laid down on my mat and felt horrible and awesome at the same time. These types of challenges are new to me and they are important in rehearsing that feeling of stepping into that ring again. Being out of my head, being in my body as an athlete. Not one who is enduring something but is through that and is on her way.

I won an Entertainment Book, which was ironic because I had helped Luc sell so many for school and forgot to buy one myself!

I physically shook as I walked out of the gym and headed to the pool. I was shaky. I felt weak yet at the same time I felt strong. And I knew….. I know…. I am on my way.

It’s not about winning necessarily. There was a time I liked to win to simply kick people’s ass. Winning these days has taken on a much deeper meaning because of what I have been through.

When I was a young swimmer, after a race my Dad would ask me…. did you give 100%? The rule always was….. as long as you gave 100% (in school and sport) you were good. That might mean a best time, it might mean you miss the podium. But if you can walk away stating that you gave everything you could…… that was what you had then.

I gave 100% this morning. I have to credit this work I have been doing with Steve both on a 1-1 basis and in class for what has been happening. I am stronger in different ways now. Before I was swim bike and run. Now I have strength to add to that swim bike and run. I have strength between my ears again.

It was a stepping stone to where I am going. Finally a small seed of success after a lot of struggle (athletic struggle).

I am always amazed at how I seem to find the people who seem to have the knack for digging me out of myself. It’s not something that I build or develop…. it’s here. It’s all right here. It has taken a few people to give me a good kick in the ass. Reminding me that I am no one special, regardless of who I think I was or am or what I have done before. It’s not about the past it’s about the present. It’s about the future. So take off the tiara and get comfortable being uncomfortable.

It’s about the people who are there to guide you…. grabbing you by the shoulders, turning you around and saying….. GO.

My road to success, as all roads to success…. will be built one small stepping stone at a time. The challenge was the first stepping stone. It was a small stone but a big step. I have been working hard to get out of my comfort zone, to change things up and to again, get comfortable with being uncomfortable. A year ago I would have never done anything like this. In fact a year ago I would have never been in this class or working with someone 1-1 for strength. After all I am in the fitness business. I am supposed to be the expert. I can’t tell you how much I love being the student and how I am loving the opportunity to learn.

I got uncomfortable today. I didn’t get into my head. I didn’t think about it at all. I felt it. And I liked what I felt.

I get the chance to do that again in a different venue… Sunday.

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