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Monday, July 21, 2014

The Week Begins with a SMILE

I have given myself a personal challenge and I met that challenge two days in a row. Today will be day three and I am determined to keep the promise to myself and meet that challenge again.

The challenge is simple - up my cardio in the gym to 45 minutes before hitting the weight machines.

That probably seems a little weird to some people; however, what I know about me is that going to the gym is always going to feel a little odd and uncomfortable. I have been pretty faithful in my attendance, excluding times of illness, for the past three years. I know where the gym is, I have a locker and work out clothes and I even take a quick shower there because (finally) my metabolism has changed enough that I actually sweat while exercising.

All that being what it is, whenever I am on the treadmill doing my little jogging routine, I half expect someone to walk up to me and say, "I'm sorry, Ma'am. We checked the records and you do not belong here. If you will allow me to escort you across the street to the pizza parlour, I will be glad to order you an extra large pan pizza with lots and lots of cheese. However, you need to stop this whole exercise thing right now. It does not fit you at all".

This attitude has permeated my 'let's get fit' goal. It holds me back. It keeps me at the minimum.

Starting last Saturday, I told myself my new routine for the three times I go this week would be:

15 minutes on the treadmill (jogging, not just walking)
15 minutes on the elliptical (if I spelled that right)
15 minutes on the bicycle (at a good strong level)

45 minutes of solid cardio, mixed up to keep me focused (as I have the attention span of a flea), but done before I do my six or seven weight machine exercises (three sets of 12, thank you).

Let me tell you what is funny - half way through the first 15 minutes, my little alkie head said, "Hmmm...I wonder if I really need to do THAT much cardio?".


Here is what I do when that happens: I remind myself that this is not about what I need to do; rather, it is now a matter of integrity. I made myself a promise. If I don't keep that promise I am not being an honorable and trustworthy woman. If I can't even trust ME to be good to me, how can I expect anyone outside of me to be good to me?

Yes, actually deciding that keeping my word is a matter of integrity and allows me to be a better steward of this creature that is me helped me to stay on that treadmill, move to the bike and then do that dumb ol other thing that I can never spell.

And I did that Sunday too. In fact, I not only did that Sunday, I upped the time by two minutes just for fun.

And tonight, after work, will be day 3.

I liken my determination to honor my own promises to me to my reconversion to the Catholic Faith. Incremental in its application, I would tell myself "I will faithfully attend Mass for one month and see how it goes". I would not slack on it (ok, so that is only 4 times in a row but trust me, I can talk myself out of pretty much anything that is good for me) and then I would evaluate the experience. If there was nothing negative about it, I would continue and today I cannot imagine not celebrating the Eucharist on Sunday with my Catholic family. The sermon can be lousy, the music can stink and I might not like the person standing next to me or in front of me but by golly I am there - no longer for me, but for Him.

My hope is that by challenging myself in the gym I will begin to have a minor conversion experience and start to feel as though it is ok that I go there three to four times a week. No one will kick me out or say, "Forget it, Lady, you are out of here".

I may never be a real athlete, and you will not see me compete on America Ninja Warrior, but I can take good care of my temple and do so with honor.

That too is a way to be Catholic - Out Loud.

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