At 8:45 am in the driving rain, Jessica Topper and I, along with about 75 other Dirty Girls in our wave, began jogging up a ski hill at Kissing Bridge. Why? I don’t know why Jess was doing it, but I was braving rain, mud and unknown obstacles because I had decided it’s never too late to get strong. I admit it – having kids did a number on me, and it has taken me YEARS to get my mojo back. Postpartum hemorrhage, nursing, sleep deprivation, working nights to avoid paying day care, picking up part-time jobs when the economy crashed and deciding to become a writer and seek publication made me tired. Really freaking tired. And weak. And every time I tried to get back in shape something hurt – or broke – and I got even more discouraged.
Then I discovered yoga. I also remembered something I knew ten years ago and had forgotten – the only thing that is going to get my ass into the gym is a deadline. For me, that means if it’s not an exercise class, forget about it. However, yoga on Monday at 9? I’m there. Zumba on Wednesday at 10? You bet! Dirty Girl Mud Run in September? Sure! It’s good to have a goal, right? Get strong or eat mud. Yes, deadlines are very motivating. Plus, at least 2.5% of the registration fees for the Dirty Girl go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. I love helping to fight breast cancer!
I didn’t do nearly enough training over the summer, but on the day of the Dirty Girl, Jess and I were standing at the starting line, ready to tackle whatever the course might bring. Icy rain. Mud. Hills. Walls. Cargo nets. And you know what we talked about as we ran? YOGA! Yup. Jess loves yoga, too, and it figures heavily into the plot of her new book. We brainstormed in the rain storm, taking time out to climb over or slog through whatever happened to be in front of us. And I felt strong.
As I lay on the floor during savasana at yoga yesterday morning, I pondered how getting stronger is a lot like writing a book (or reaching other intimidating goals). It happens in small bits, over a period of time. I’ve been doing yoga for a year. A YEAR. Sometimes once a week. Sometimes twice. Sometimes not at all when the kids are home during the summer. But I can now do poses that would have sent me into a week-long cramp last year. The writing journey has taken more than a year (more like 9) but I can now write a first draft in a month, and it doesn’t suck nearly as much as my first draft of Scrumptious. Small muscles develop over time. Start with the core. Start small. Get stronger. Keep showing up. And if you are like me, give yourself a goal or a deadline!
My new deadline is the Tough Mudder next July. I watched my husband complete the course last April and it was one of the most inspiring things I have ever witnessed. The Tough Mudder course is reputed to be the toughest obstacle course on the planet. Am I tough enough? Probably not…but it’s a hell of a motivator! And I do love a deadline.
What about you? What gets you there? Where do you find motivation to tackle things that make you want to hide under the covers?