Weighty Matters

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When You Think You Can’t, You Can!

on September 2, 2015

This morning at 7:25 a.m., I was at the half-way mark of the rowing class and was fairly sure that I wouldn’t make it to the end.  Today’s workout called for 34 minutes of 200 meter intervals with a :10 rest between intervals.  I was doing my best to row 200 meters in a minute’s time but was falling short by a couple of seconds – hitting the 1:04-1:06 range instead.  Each of us in the class wore a sensor that constantly monitored our heart rates and showed us on the wall monitor if we were in the preferred zone of around 80-89% of our maximum heart rate.  The sensor also estimates our calorie burn, based on our current weight, gender and age.

I was doing pretty good at maintaining my heart rate in that golden zone, but as the minutes went on, I started to think more and more that I’d never make it through. During each rest, I stretched my legs in the machine and jiggled my left foot, which seems to want to go numb on me in the middle of the workout.  I gulped water and wiped the rivulets of sweat off of my face, then picked up the handles again to resume rowing when the clock counted down to zero.

Call me determined or stubborn or crazy, but I refused to quit on the workout.  Even if I was blowing out air like a whale, and soaked with sweat, I was not going to give up.  About :20 seconds into each interval, when I thought I couldn’t keep going, I mentally cried bulls**t on myself and powered through.  I’d make myself work harder, trying to get my time down to a minute per 200 meters.

When we hit the ten-minutes-to-go mark, the trainer started giving us regular updates.  “Ten minutes left.  Keep it up.”  “Only seven minutes to go.  You can do it.”  “Five minutes.”  “Three minutes.”  “Try to finish an interval before the time runs out and start another.”

I finished an interval about :20 before the workout ended so I launched into another one, determined to give it my all.  For that last strong effort I hit the red zone with my heart rate at greater than 90% capacity.  “Finish strong!” encouraged our trainer.  I did.  200 meters in :59!  My best time for the whole workout.

So much for thinking I couldn’t.  While others in the class might have done more intervals than I did, I’m not in competition with them.  For one thing, I am often in class with women who are significantly younger than I am and/or who have been at this rowing thing for a lot longer.  When all is said and done, I’m only measuring up to myself and how much effort I put into the workout.  That said, while we recovered and let our heartbeats gradually slow from the peak performance, the trainer ran us through the class’s collective stats.

I was the Zone Master for the class, which meant that I maintained the desired heart rate zone for the most consistent amount of time!  It made me smile.

After wiping down my rowing machine, returning the sensor to the trainer, and guzzling the rest of my water, I made my way out to my car.  I looked down at my hand and realized that I’d worked up a blister at the base of my ring finger.  (Note to self, don’t wear a ring to rowing class and find your workout gloves.)  It doesn’t hurt much and I kind of consider it a mark of accomplishment.  It’s also a great reminder to me throughout the day.  If at any time I’m tempted to overeat or veer wildly off my food plan, I only need to look at that little red blister and remember how hard I worked this morning.

I’m going to take today’s experience with me into the next class and every one after that.  When I think I can’t finish, I know now that I can.  Not only that, with determination, I can finish strong.

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