Strength Training as Cross Training…and More…

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I mentioned a while back that I was attempting to get into the fitness centre twice a week to do weights and strength training with my friends from work, JJ and Shannon. I figured this would be helpful for my Spartan Races….which it has! I have had a tough time sticking with going on both Monday and Wednesday morning, partly because I get lazy in the morning. Unless it is a race day or a long run with Runners Soul Marathon Club on a Saturday, I love to SLEEP. This week, I could not pull myself out of bed on Monday for our workout (I felt just exhausted and beat from my half marathon the day before). But, I did get myself up and out of bed in time for our Wednesday workout…..but OUR workout turned out to be just a ME workout.

JJ and Shannon ditched me Wednesday. Alright, alright, they didn’t ditch me…just on Monday when I ditched them, they decided they wouldn’t be coming in Wednesday (Shannon was going to be at Curling Zones that day). I just didn’t find out about this until I got to work at 6:50 am and no one was there. For a split second, I was tempted to just change into my regular clothes and bail. Then, I thought of just going in and doing the elliptical. It wasn’t until I actually walked in the doors of the fitness centre that I realized I should just stick with what I was going to be doing all along—arms and abs.

I still am not wise when it comes to being in a weight room, but I had luckily remembered 7 of the 8 exercises from the circuit we did the Wednesday prior. We did this circuit three times, with a short break in between. I laid out the mat for bicycle abs, the Swiss ball for the other thing of abs, got a plate ready for whatever the thing is where you are inclined on your stomach and lift up….got barbells set for lunges and bench press…got a bar out with light weights for what I think is called “Military Press” and some other squat thing…and since I couldn’t remember the 8th thing, I took out a box to out under the hand grips by the chin up bar so I could reach and do hanging abs. Wow….I am such a fish out of water in the weight room, can you tell? I seriously don’t know what any of the proper names of things are…I just follow JJ and Shannon around.

It would be boring to go on and try to explain everything I did, because it would also be painful to try to interpret what the hell I’m saying. But I will say this—immediately upon starting my first set in the weight room solo, I thought of my dad. And I couldn’t stop thinking about him. The weight room was his place of worship. It was his safe haven. I had these images in my head of heading into our basement to go ask him a question and stopping outside the back room…his weight room. If he was in the middle of a set I knew to just stand and wait and then talk to him after. I remembered the random home video from the late 1980s we have of him doing bench presses in the basement while I’m dribbling a basketball next to him. I have mentioned before that he would mention to me on occasion about trying to lift, and I always shot him down. He never pushed, though, because he wasn’t like that. As I grew up, he could clearly see it “wasn’t my thing” so we left it at that. But having all these thoughts in my head early on a Wednesday morning made me push myself.

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I never pictured myself in a million years in a fitness centre, alone, doing a weight training circuit. But this Wednesday, I was. I started this blog to honour the memory of my dad, I started all my crazy running to help deal with my loss…and now I have found that being alone in the weight room is another way to reflect and just live. I felt alive. And I felt like he was there with me. He always is.

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The pictures of my dad before the last paragraph are from 1995. He had undergone triple bypass surgery in June of that same year. These were taken in November. He was 43 years old. Heart Disease can effect anyone.

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