I run. I do Pilates most days. I choose the stairs and the far parking spot. I ride my bike to the grocery store when I only need a few items. If it’s raining I sprint across the parking lot. I’m generally active. As a result I feel pretty good about myself and I feel strong.
Like anyone else, my level of fitness can fluctuation based on the craziness of my life. The hot, humid summer had me running fewer miles and less enjoyable miles. But now the temperatures are turning and I’m feeling faster and more capable when I run. Some days I’m so busy in the studio my workout is less. Other days, I get inspired and go to town on the equipment.
Last Thursday I went running with a local running group from Rhythm Running Store. I like to run with groups because it pushes me. This particular night the weather was iffy and the turnout was less. The group consisted of me, three young fast bucks, and one other gal who announced she’d be running slower. That left me running with the fast boys. The route was pre-set and it was mostly an uphill course until the very end. Not my favorite! BUT I’m a competitive person. If you give me a challenge, I am going to go after it. The challenge that night was to hang with the 20-something year old guys. And I did! I ran stronger and faster than I have lately. After the run I felt good. I felt proud and I felt strong. I was reminded my body is more capable than I think it is. I was reminded I can do more when I try and push myself. The take away from this run – I am strong!
This morning I took a Pilates and fitness class. I like to try out other classes to challenge myself and get out of my routine. This class was a circuit and as the instructor explained the various elements, I noticed the movements that made other students groan (pikes and pushups) I felt excited about. I’ve got those moves down. I’m strong after all. The instructor showed us one movement not using the equipment and said “If you don’t feel ready for step-up on the chair you can do this mat exercise – the helicopter instead.” I’m not one to back down from a challenge and step ups I know! On the second trip around the circuit for fun I thought I’d try the helicopter aka the easier version offered! Holy Cow! I didn’t have it … at all. I nearly fell over. What looked so simple, completely eluded my body. Cleary this was an area of weakness for me. Certainly an area I need to work on. Fortunately it’s one I can work on at home and in my studio. I will get this but it’s going to take some work. I am weak right now.
Being strong or being weak is not an absolute. You are not all one or the other. There are varying degrees of both in all of us. If we focus on one activity we become strong in that area and may still have much weakness in another. Pilates is really a great way to find and strengthen our weaknesses. Pilates helps us build more balanced bodies. Were it not for this Pilates move this morning, I may have continued to become stronger where I am strong and weaker in this area until this resulted in an injury. Don’t fear the weakness – embrace it and learn from it. The weakness is our opportunity area! Failing the first time we try something new is normal and expected. If we succeeded at everything we’d lose interest and would not gain as much from the work.
Next time you are in the studio, I challenge you to request what you are not good at yet. I am always throwing new things at you so maybe we’ll find a weakness that way, too. We can only get stronger when we work on our weaknesses. Let’s challenge our bodies this week and move forward through our weakness!