I have a strange fascination with sled dogs. Well, maybe it's not that strange, but it's a fascination nonetheless. I love to watch them in action, I watched the Iditarod on television, and I've always wanted to stand on the back of a sled and be pulled through the snow at warp speed. The whole sport seems barbaric to me, but I admit, I can't peel my eyes away from it.
So when I sat down to clean out my DVR, which I do about every week upon realizing that I have three months worth of 30 Rock, The Office, Chuck, and Rock of Love Bus with Bret Michaels that I am never going to have time to watch, I noticed that another of my favorite shows - Dirty Jobs - had an episode where Mike Rowe, beefcake host extraordinaire, takes care of sled dogs.
I didn't delete that one.
And last night, I finally had a chance to watch it. As I sat in amazement and wondered how long I would last in a dog sled race (and as a thin-blooded Southerner, I'm guessing about a nanosecond), I started figuring out what it was about those dogs that I liked. Once they got hooked up to their sled and took off, they were dead-set on their goal. They put their head down, their nose to the grindstone, and they just kept going and going and going and going and going until they were at the end. Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while knows that I appreciate that kind of work ethic.
It's not hard to see how dedicating yourself to a healthier lifestyle can make you feel like a sled dog sometimes. You're not always at the front of the pack, sometimes you've got someone else calling the shots, and once in a while you just have to put your head down and barrel through the tough spots.
This morning as I powered through my hurdle drills and plyometriced my way across the gym parking lot, I thought about another aspect of sled dogs - they're not a specific breed. In other words, they're mutts. They aren't born to power through and win, but rather are trained to. I had caught glimpses over the weekend of television coverage of the Ms. Fitness USA pageant and some SEC NCAA Track and Field competitions, both of which reminded me that I am not 18 anymore. And even when I was 18, I wasn't able to do that stuff. I did my squat jumps and compared myself to an old mutt learning new tricks.
And then later in the gym I channeled the mentality of a sled dog when Captain Awesome tasked me with our usual Friday circuit with a twist - my goal was to lap my training partner, and her goal was to keep me from lapping her. I thought about those sled dogs and mimicked their work - head down and barreling through to the end. I did lap her (sorry, Tracy!) and thanked my virtual sled dogs for the tip.
There are parts of any fitness journey that are tougher than others, and we all have to just deal with that and let it go. The next time you're in that spot, channel the sled dog mentality and see if you don't end up at the front of the pack.