A Stranger's Inspiration

Well, I made it to Friday. I almost didn't work out today since the BF crawled back into bed post alarm and decided he was not. Given the fact I was already awake and two other alarms kept going off, I took it as a cue to get my ass out of bed and go to the gym anyway. I may try and pull a double if I can.

I ran for 35 minutes on the treadmill, followed by some leg raises (3x10) and tricep dips (2x5). I then hit the mat and did 4 variations of push ups. Ugh. 10 at wide stance, 10 at narrow stance, 10 pyramid push ups and a very painful 8 reps in pike position. Those are the devil.

While I was headed to the treadmill, I saw a woman I see mostly every day doing her thing, walking uphill. She does this for about 30-40 minutes each day, or sometimes hops on the elliptical next to me. What's different about her is that she is obviously going through or underwent some sort of treatment (my guess is chemo therapy). At first, her stature startled me. She appeared weak and frail, a tiny thing. She has a disfigured back and barely any hair on her body or meat on her bones. Yet she walks. She moves. She commits every day.

Sometimes she makes me sad. I'm not sad for her, but for the state she is in. I can smell the medication on her. I can sens the frailty in the locker room. I hate it for her. A eucalyptus breeze mixed in with menthol pain relief--reminiscent of a Salonpas patch or Icy-Hot--travels down the line of cardio machines or when she walks by.

I wonder about her. Was she in the peak of her life when something out of her control hit? Was she a fitness enthusiast who loved to work out when she was blindsided by illness? Or is she just trying to get better, maintain momentum and not give into whatever is ailing her? It's none of my business, but she is tenacious. She is inspiring. She is motivating. I am glad I woke up and forced myself to the gym just because I could.

There must have been a time when this stranger so desperately wanted to but couldn't. I'll never know what she went through or what she goes through on a daily basis. I can only see her getting faster every day. I think back to my own hurdles now and they pale in comparison in my mind. The days of being laid up in bed with hundreds of healing sutures, not even able to sleep on my back fade in the distance. Remembering the pain of an out of place rib or sore back, the summer spent at the chiropractor...it seems far behind me now. I still pull from those memories though. I still wake up half hating where I am in this journey, but also quite thankful for the energy I have now to be and stay ON this journey.
keep going


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