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I Look Pretty

Friday, December 11, 2015

No I'm not complimenting my appearance. I met an inspirational man at the gym today who told me to say that. I'll get back to that in a minute.

Last I blogged, I wrote about running in frigid, snowy weather. What a difference three weeks makes. It's been more like Easter weather here in the Chicago area rather than almost Christmas weather.... sunny and 40s-50s.

So what have I been up to? Last weekend was another weekend of two 5Ks. Saturday's run benefitted the Arthritis Foundation. I met a very brave 5 year-old girl struggling with Rheumatoid Arthritis and an inspirational woman who felt her first symptoms of the disease on her honeymoon.

Sunday was the 7th Annual Frigid 5K at a local park district. Thankfully the day was not frigid. Afterward I enjoyed hot chocolate and a banana with members of my running group.

So back to the inspirational man at the gym.... Orange Theory Fitness.

Some of you may remember I blogged about this before. It's an hour of different intensities on the treadmill followed by body weight and free-weight exercises, followed by some time on the water rowing machine. Every time I go, it's different and every time I leave, I'm drenched in sweat.

Towards the end of the workout today, the trainer instructed us to row 1600 meters, followed by a plank exercise and then an exercise using straps which made me curl my face due to my spent muscles.

The inspirational man next to me touched my shoulder lightly in a shushing manner and said "No, you can do that and you will say 'I look pretty'." On the inside I said 'pretty is not the word I had in mind' But I appreciated what he was doing so I kept that inside.

I certainly did NOT feel pretty during all that but while I was struggling to reach 1600 meters on the rowing machine, I noticed my arms in the mirror. I could see muscles moving and working. I've never seen that before!

When I was using the straps, I turned to look in the mirror to check my form and I looked almost like I knew what I was doing. No, I did not look pretty but I was working and I was completing exercises that I never ever thought I'd be able to even attempt.

How did I get here?!! I started slow, following Chris Downey's 10 minutes of activity every day and slowly built up to 10 minutes of activity a few times a day which included cardio and strength. 10 minute workouts fit my schedule.

So pretty took on a different meaning today. I saw strength and determination in myself. I remembered the 5 year-old and the young woman battling Rheumatoid Arthritis with strength and a smile. Now that's pretty!

"So often we become so focused on the finish line that we fail to enjoy the journey." -Dieter F. Uchtdorf
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