Ménage à Cardio: I’m stronger than I thought

“There’s no way.” My head is shakes in protest. “I am not a runner.”

Trainer Dude gives me half a grin with a combination raised eyebrow head tilt. He understands but doesn’t care.

“We’ll see.” His tone is borderline annoying.

Shit. This is what I pay him for.

I nod obediently and agree to his ‘one mile on the treadmill’ assignment.

This is going to suck.

Stepping on this deathtrap of a replicated sidewalk feels foreign. She’s dark and cold, like the cloud above my head. I know I don’t speak her language. I can feel her mocking my belly fat as I place my hands on her skinny, curved hips. Her red eyes bat shamelessly, and she cuts to the chase:

Where are you from? (Start)
How are you? (Weight)
How much can you handle? (Miles)

This bitch is a pro.

Standing tall in a precision military-like row of her sister cardio machines, she stands alone in my eyes, daring me to take her on.

I’m from Out-of-shape-ville (I push Start)
You repeat this, I unplug you (I enter my weight)
Four laps (Reluctantly, I enter the assigned distance of one mile)

There is a subtle deep swishing sound coming from her belly. My feet step to her pace without a fight and Trainer Dude seems pleased.

Walking slowly, I try to explain (again) that I am not a runner. “Seriously…” He gives me a look. “I think I have asthma, breathing problems, I am not a…” Pretending not to hear me, Trainer Dude increases the pace and says everything by saying nothing.

Now I am jogging, mostly out of spite. Sure to collapse any minute, I will prove I am not a runner. My breathing is slow, pronounced and causes me to rest every couple of minutes, but I keep going.

“I’m not a runner.” I manage in-between breaths.

After about ten minutes I am still waiting to pass out, but continue my pace. I feel beads of sweat collecting on my skin. Trainer Dude places his hand on my shoulder. He motions toward the mirror across the room and waits until I see my own reflection. He looks at me and smiles. “You are now.”

We are all stronger than we think.
Here’s the part where you tell me something that you thought you weren’t strong enough to do – then you did it. It could be emotionally or physically. Your comment may just inspire someone.

27 thoughts on “Ménage à Cardio: I’m stronger than I thought

  1. Beautiful post again, Christine. Here's what I did: My father died quite suddenly, sending shock waves through all of us along with immeasurable grief. I offered to write his eulogy. My brother offered to help me read it. I come from this big Irish clan and they all descended from Chicago and we had an Irish feast of mourning. Days and nights filled with drink and talk and laughter and memories. The night before the funeral, tired from all the company and worn through with grief, I sat down to write and pay homage to this extraordinary man. I struggled between the relatives popping in my room to tell me stories about my dad and give me encouragement to the fact that this was a writing task like no other in its importance. I struggled. I finally whispered up a prayer for my dad's help and the words came tumbling out. The day of his funeral, just seconds before we were to go up and deliver the eulogy, my brother turned and whispered to me that he could not do it. On my way up to the altar, I stopped and kissed my dad's urn and asked for his strength. I did not break down at all, delivering words of praise for such an honorable man, in a strong, clear voice. My husband was waiting for me at the bottom of the altar stairs. It was only then that I succumbed to my grief. I will humbly say that in all my days of writing, I've never received more high praise than what I wrote for my father. We women are noble creatures, capable of more than we ever thought possible.Thank you for letting me tell my story.


  2. No fare that I have to follow that amazing women!I think that raising my daughter on my own makes me feel much stronger than I ever believed I was. Physically, I did a figure show a couple years back and was at 6% body fat. It was misserably hard, but I did it!


  3. I'm not a runner, either. I used to say I wouldn't run even if I were being chased. So I took up Muay Thai (one of the martial arts UFC fighters use) so I never have to face that predicament. I can just stand and fight, which is metaphorically what I do anyway. Here's what I did. I put up with a philandering husband for 3 agonizing weeks because I thought I couldn't live without him. Then I gave him the Heisman. Then I threw all of his clothes on the back lawn, changed the locks and turned off his credit card. Then I cleaned out a bank account and filed for divorce. Turns out I live very well and peacefully without him. I've lost 30 pounds (muay thai + divorce + no soda = very nearly the exotic dancer's body I came into the marriage with). Every woman is stronger than she thinks she is. It just takes a shove in the right direction. Thanks for asking. Your Kitty.


  4. I'm too busy laughing at your "deathtrap replicating a sidewalk" comment to even think of anything of value.I suppose I left home at the age of 16 and attended High School and worked at the same time. I was kicked out of my house by an abusive father when I was a kid.I suppose I could have chosen a different path, but I did not.I don't know if anyone will think I'm strong for my actions or not. I do though. I had no support system whatsoever and did it all on my own without anybody's help.


  5. @Kitty – WOW! I must try that class! And bravo to you for walking away. I was with an abusive man too ("Issues, party of one") and it took me years to get the strength to leave him (and the drugs). I am proud of all of us! @Shelly – Are you kidding? That's HUGE!!!! Your strength and character show in your writing and now I know why. Everyone should take a page from your story. So inspiring! @Babes – Aweeee thank you!!! I feel truly honored and will check it out. 🙂 Ladies (and gents) – you are all so inspiring and strong. Keep 'em coming, people… xxoo


  6. I havent been a physically very active from the childhood. So when I joined the gym i could not do a push up or pull up or even the abs. There was no instructor to push me around too.So I had to push myself to do it. ANd am really happy with myself


  7. I told myself and my husband that I was not a runner for YEARS. Something happened. I nearly lost everything because emotionally I was broken. I knew I had to turn my life around. Losing weight was a part of that. Guess what? I lost over 60 pounds from running in the past 10 months. I am a runner. Everyone is a runner. Paul and I run nearly every day together. Our marriage and bodies are stronger than ever.


  8. @Kitty- Thank you. I am Googling it right now. So excited… will keep you posted!@Jon – The fact that you pushed yourself is HUGE! Good job. 🙂 @Paul and Kerry – What an inspiring story! I ran for a little bit (jogged) on the beach after work and feel really good about myself this morning. It was hard, but I am going to stick with it. @Secretia – Thanks girlie. It's amazing how it makes us feel!


  9. this is soo true.. i had realised that thing about working out when i was overweight last year and had started my training for marathon. we have huge wells of strength inside us but we never realise it.


  10. Run? Me?Shit… I can hardly walk.If I'da known I'd live this long I'da taken better care of my wheels.On that note – tomorrow it will be eight years since I put the plug in the jug. Then just now I realized that it's been almost two years without a cigarette. And the best part is Life is still good… maybe even better


  11. @Fishy – Did you know public speaking is listed and the #1 fear of the majority? Good for you! 🙂 @Awesome! This is so true. I am not sure I could ever do a marathon. You inspire me! @IT – *Here Here*!!!! I am so happy to read your comment and am giving you a great big hug! Congratulations. xxxoo


  12. I didn't think I was a runner either and I signed up for a jogging class in college. It was my 4th year in college and the class ended up being filled with 18 year old freshmen that were on their cross country teams in high school. Not fair, right? So I hung out with the 3 other "old people" in the class. We finished the run everyday, last of course because we had to stop and walk part of the way. For our final we had to run for 30 min. non stop on the track and I was so scared. I just knew I couldn't do it. I still don't know how those 30 min. went by so fast but before I knew it it was over and I felt like I could have kept going!! What a great feeling!


  13. i frickin hate running. but i do it anyway cause nothing else works like running does. i have two kids, and i never envisioned myself as a mother when i was growing up. i always thought i'd be a career woman, bossing people around and making lots of money. well, i still get to boss people around, but the wage for mothers is pitifully low. anyway, i'm doing it, even though i never thought i could. and you're right, we're all stronger than we think.


  14. Stopping by from Pooba's – glad I did! :)I loved this – and your final note of "We are all stronger than we think." is so very true. I surprised myself when I had the strength to leave my abusive husband years ago. Because I found the strength to do so, I am alive today and blessed with my miracle child. 🙂


  15. I never thought I was strong enough to transition gender before my family, my work, and my family. I guess desperation brought me to the point that I realized I could very well leave this earth without ever having lived in real truth. I didn't think I could do it until i realized new strength would be with me, every new day, every step of the way.


  16. I just love your descriptive way with words. And I love that last line, "you are now". He made his point.That comment by Joann Mannix really inspired me. As for me, I ran a 10k race in 1995. After only two weeks of training for it. I thought I would die long before the finish line, but somehow I kept going and finished. I ran many races after that, and they came so much easier.


  17. I am not really a runner, but the first mile is always a nightmare. If I can just stick it out for a mile (about 10 minutes) then it gets a lot easier after. I try to stay on for an hour. By the time I am finished, I feel a rush, it feels like I just had sex. That feeling alone is totally worth running for.


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