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Row, Row, Row Your Mind

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I looked at the rowing machine’s monitor. Seven minutes in, I was just about to hit 1500 meters. Seven minutes later, 3316 meters flashed from the screen. The coach came around to check the monitors and wrote mine down – for women over 40 in the 7:45 a.m. class that Saturday morning at that Orange Theory, I went the furthest in the 14-minute row.      Pride came over me – even with a torn meniscus – I won! I snapped a few pictures to memorialize the moment.      At the grocery store deli counter, while my roast beef was getting sliced, I looked at the leader board picture I took at the gym. The board displayed the top distances rowed by gender and age. The three others crossed the 3700 mark. The deli clerk cleared her throat, commanding my attention. Meat in cart, off I went. “You totally could have rowed farther,” I compared their numbers to mine.      Despite winning, despite the torn meniscus, I should have rowed farther. But you see, the mind plays dirty tricks on us – tric…

The Problem with Expectations

Jake Ryan Gregg lays 10 feet from me; half on the dining room rug, half off. The bare wood floor is dark and pressed against his belly it cools his body. I scan him for signs of life. Slowly, his ribs expand and contract as I count his breaths to mine. One full for me, two – nearly three – for him. We are nine days from welcoming his twelfth year, three months from our 12-year anniversary. Expand and contract. My eyes can’t look away, even as they fill with tears. I walk to him and press my face against his failing body. Expand. And contract.
I won’t bore you with the story of our lives. I’m a dog mom, and not a novel one at that. Just like most dog moms, I love mine beyond words. I’ve taken him on countless walks. I’ve held him when he hurt. I’ve snuggled him when he was tired. I’ve joyfully met him at the door every time I opened it. And then one day it all changed. I am a mom. I knew.
“Diabetes,” the vet relayed on a mid-March morning. “Manageable,” she continued. By mid-April, manag…

Dri Tri'ed and Didn't Die Tryin'

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The dense fog covered the county road as I made my way to Orange Theory this morning.Unlike most drives to the gym, my heart was heavy and full of fear.Today was the Dri Tri.Participants row 2,000 meters, do 300 body weight exercises then run 3.1 miles.Each of these are manageable – but cumulatively? A “sprint” option was available:1,000-meter row, 150 body weight exercises, and a shorter run.
The week leading up to the event, I replicated the workout at my other gym – rowing and running for time.I sketched out how long it would take me to complete each activity, even budgeting 20 seconds per body weight repetition.Including an assumed five minute warm up, finishing in 60 minutes seemed plausible.
The internal struggle consumed me for days:You can do the sprint, easily.You’ll finish quickly, maybe even get yourself into the top three.Just do that.Why bother with the full?But the full is a challenge – a real challenge.You hate rowing.Can you imagine hell?Hell includes rowing and burpees.…