The Best Workouts

The best workouts are the ones when you wake up and don’t want to do it. The leg hurts, the allergies are bad, the meds make you groggy, and you’re just plain tired.

But you go anyway. “This is the work, work is hard, you can do it,” you tell yourself. You know you are full of mumbo jumbo, and don’t truly believe in yourself. But, you go.

When you get to the pool you think of a thousand places you’d rather be. You look at the pool and lanes are full of triathletes with ironman swim caps. You sigh. Your leg is already shaking. You sigh harder, adjust your suit, put on your goggles, and get in.

The water is cold, but familiar. And so you start. You count every lap, every breath, every stroke, every minute. You force yourself to keep going despite every ounce of your being begging for you to stop.

You count and count and count until it’s time to count down to the time you can get the heck out of the pool. And that last lap comes, as it always does, with a sense of great relief. You don’t feel proud or accomplished, just glad that it’s over for today.

You hoist yourself out of the pool and hobble over to your towel. You sit there shaking for several minutes, before doing the obligatory stretches and ankle exercises, before putting the foot back into its boot.

And then comes an unexpected reward. Out of the ether, a voice says, “you are a beast.” And you look up to see who is talking to whom. The lifeguard. To you. Huh?

She repeats, “you are a beast. How long did you swim?”

“Just over an hour and a half.”

“Your stamina is insane. You just kept going, and going strong. Do you do ironmans?”

Wait, what? Is she talking to you? You look around just to be sure. No one else is there.

You laugh nervously. “No,” you say with a smile, “I hate to run.” She laughs.

You go on your way, but take away a lesson. The struggle you felt was definitely true. It was horribly difficult and painful. But, the observer saw a strength in you that you didn’t know was there.

The best workouts are the ones when you wake up and don’t want to do it.

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