I have found a mountain and climbed it. My mountain represents something very significant to me, my journey, and my life. It is a mountain I did not think I would ever climb. It was not even in my vision in early 2009!
As you know, I was in the worst physical shape and health of my life in February 2009. I labored under the weight of 360 pounds and nothing was easy for me. When I think about how bad I felt and how difficult all of the simple things had become, it makes me sad. Nothing was simple and I avoided the most routine things because of my weight. I struggled to bend over to pick up the dogs water and food bowls from the floor. I struggled with almost everything. One thing that stuck out in my mind then and now is how I would work SO HARD to avoid a flight of steps. Not multiple flights of steps, just ONE flight of steps. I would hunt down an elevator no matter where it was in the building. Taking just one flight of steps would wind me and cause me to feel tired. I hated that feeling and struggle.
As I started my journey to ME in March of 2009, I started thinking differently and started challenging ME. That thinking got ME to pursue some Personal Training Certifications which lead me to try different exercise and fitness routines in and out of the gym. Every time I started to master something I would look for another challenge or a different routine.
On 9/9/09 I spotted MY mountain! I was down about 104 pounds and feeling much stronger than the guy I was just 192 days before. I had to run a quick errand and then hit the gym. While I was running my errand I passed a high school football stadium (Stoney Field) less than a half mile from my house. I had passed this stadium a multitude of times before without much notice to it. On this day I looked over at it and it was calling to ME. Don't laugh at ME! I saw the bleachers and steps and I swear they were calling to ME. They were there calling ME and telling ME they were the mountain I was to climb. My main thought at this moment was how I had hated climbing even ONE flight of steps. I hated that feeling and I would use that memory to my advantage. Now I was looking at how I could use these bleachers to challenge ME. What would MY mountain look like?
I went directly to the bleachers and counted. I found 17 bleachers I would go up and 34 steps I would go down. That day I did 32 repetitions (which I did in multiple sets) of going up the bleachers and down the steps. I included some walking around the track to get 45 minutes of a workout done. My only thought was how I had hated steps. MY mountain would be 100 straight repetitions of this exercise. Besides it is a great leg work out!
To advance toward this goal, I started doing various workouts at Stoney Field to include all of MY leg work. I had that one thought in mind each time I passed that field and each time I exercised there. That thought was the 100 straight repetitions of the bleachers and steps would be MY mountain. It would help to erase that feeling I had of the guy that could not and would not climb one flight of stairs.
On 11/2/09 the day came that I conquered MY mountain. I scaled those 17 bleachers and came down those 34 steps 100 straight times without stopping. It took about an hour and it is just one of the tools that has added years to MY life. Since then I have done 100 plus reps of those stands many times, but that is not the end of this story.
On the first day of this year I had not done the stands in awhile. I needed to add a physical challenge to MY New Year Resolutions to help ME continue to become a better ME. I thought about it for just a moment and decided that I would target doing 150 straight reps at Stoney Field by the end of March. I would add some height to MY mountain.
And on 2/8/2012 I made it up MY mountain in 97 minutes. 2550 bleachers going up and 5100 steps going down. The feeling I had when I completed that 150th rep is hard to explain. It is a feeling we should all know and challenge ourselves to achieve. One thing I can tell you is that I felt physically better after completing that 150th rep than I did after climbing just one flight of stairs in early 2009. Was I tired? Yes! But unlike 2009, the feeling was exhilarating!
I wish I could bottle the changes and feelings I have had over the past few years so you could know just how bad I felt in 2009 and just how good I feel now. If it were a fragrance it would have smelled horrible in 2009 and 'oh so sweet' now.
Note to ME and YOU: Find your mountain and conquer it. Then look for your next mountain!