September 25, 2008

Running the Race -- Part 1 of 2

The kids are off to school and the house is quiet. A perfect setting to write, except for one little thing—in one hour I’ve mentally committed to go to a spin class at my gym. If I delay, procrastinate or get distracted I’ll miss it…again.

There was a time only a few years ago when neither rain, nor shine nor black of night could keep me from spin class—or exercise commitments. I was focused, motivated and dedicated. I followed a daily training schedule—increasing my endurance, monitoring my heart rate and logging some serious time on my bike. During the weekend I might spend an entire day “in the saddle.”

Why? Because I was in training.

My goal: complete a century, 100-mile bike rides, for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training (TnT). With my TnT team, which included my husband, I've ridden through the deserts of New Mexico (at altitude), around Lake Tahoe (again at altitude), throughout coastal Maryland, and all through Bucks, Montgomery, Philadelphia and Lehigh counties. I don’t know how many miles we logged but it has to be thousands.

Riding for my patient heroes and raising money for cancer was definitely one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had. But along the way I discovered I don’t love cycling such long distances very all. Plus as a mom with young kids, I found it challenging to balance the training requirments with family responsibilities. So after a few intense years, I gave it up. I rode off into the proverbial sunset and in time returned to a sport I really love—tennis.

But tennis time interfered with gym time so season by season most of the fitness I trained so hard for went away. Since June I’ve been sidelined from tennis because of an injury so now my once-intense fitness schedule has been reduced to brisk walks with my dog. (Who, by the way, is very happy with this arrangement!)

The funny thing is, inside I feel energetic and fit. I think if I wanted I could jump back on my bike and ride, certainly not 100, but at least 25 miles.

Well, last week I went to the gym for the first time in months. I procrastinated to get out of the house but made it to spin class, albeit ten minutes late. I jumped on a bike and joined right in. In no time at all beads of sweat ran down my face. Each gasp of air burned in my throat. My leg muscles quivered. I glanced at the clock anxious to see if we were almost done. Six minutes had elapsed. I couldn't believe I was in this much distress already. There was a time I used to “win” spin class (OK, I might be a bit competitive) and now I struggled to finish!

It didn’t matter how confidently my inner voice had comforted me with feelings of energy and strength. The hard cold truth is: I am out of shape.

Oh, it's time for class. Gotta’ go…


Peggy said...

Oh Kelli,
Did you ever know that you are a hero??/
Just to attempt to head back to training again is super hard.
I know you can do it , and just remember that even tho your legs quiver, and breathing is exausting for you you will always have a workout buddy right along side of you.
Just as we discovered in your last blog, God IS a constant and will be with us no matter what. He wants us to be ourselves, and He will give us the power boost we need.
I know you will finish whatever race you begin.
Keep spinning, and let God spin beside you.
blessings and Love.....Peggy

Cheryl Barker said...

Kelli, I love to win, too :) I'm no threat on physical challenges, but I'm a mean game player :)

Sue J. said... now we're all wondering if you wrote Part 2 before or after spin?!

I guess there is no "pre-spin" class. My former boss used to spin a couple night's a week. You pretty much just have to go and do your best to keep up, until you get back into the (ahem) spin of things.

Of course, every time I read the phrase "running the race," I automatically think perseverance. If you are willing on the inside, I think that puts you more than halfway there.

Your spinning will build you up so you can get back on the court with some top spin, yes? Hang in there!