Monday, January 28, 2008

Something to Prove

There is nothing else like running in the rain. I love it. I woke up last night and heard rain pouring down outside and immediately thought of my morning run, and how my glasses were going to get all wet. I couldn't wait to go run in the rain.

Now you may be thinking, wait a second...wouldn't someone who claims to hate cardio look for any and every opportunity to skip it? You'd think that a downpour of rain would be cause for celebration - 20 more minutes of sleep! Well, you would be wrong.

As you've probably noticed by now, I am one of those people who like to overcome the odds. Give me a morning run and I'll do it, but that's boring. Give me a morning run in the cold, and I'm there. Give me a morning run in the cold with rain, and I am jumping at the starting line. I don't know why, but I love the kind of pain that comes along with pushing through something that would make most people quit. There is probably a special chapter in psychology text books about people like me.

It came out the other day in the weight room, too. It was a shoulders and back workout, and our trainer was really pushing us to our limits. The weight was heavy, the exercises were purposely inefficient, and he was smiling just a little too much at our anguished faces and furrowed brows. When the last set was done, I couldn't help myself - I went back for more. One more hurculean hoist of a shoulder press just to prove that he hadn't whipped me. I almost turned my car around once to go back and do another set of dead lifts just to show that I could.

But I had to wonder, who was I trying to convince - him or me? Sure, I don't like to be beaten, but that's his job - to get me to the point of exhaustion and fatigue so my body responds and changes. While the smartass in me enjoys doing one more rep as if to say, "that wasn't so hard," and challenge him to challenge me even further, I am also reminding myself that strength training is often mind over matter.

But the real realization came to me when I contemplated how this plays out throughout the rest of my day. After the sun comes up and I go on to my roles as mother, wife, and employee, many of the situations I face are out of my control, up for negotiation, or generally out of my hands. For someone like me, that can be frustrating. When I want to power through and make things happen, I have to play by someone else's rules.

Then it made perfect sense. I run in the cold and rain and do one more rep because in the gym, I am in control of my own destiny. I can push the limits, raise the bar, and prove to myself that while the rest of my day may be subject to approval, I make the rules in the gym.

When I got up this morning for my run, the rain had almost stopped. It was a light drizzle, windy, and cold. I zipped up my fleece jacket, put on my hat, and headed out for my daily dose of martyrdom. And when I arrived back at the gym 25 minutes later and walked in soaked and cold, a workout buddy remarked, "you're crazy." I smiled, stepped on the treadmill, and started my interval training. I'll show him crazy.

No comments: