"Out of the dark the fragile come
into the bright of the day...
we rise and stake our claim
we raise our banners high and sing in union...
we live free and die free
we stand as one and take on all
on the road to victory."
Today's music was the Ramshackle Army, a Celtic punk band out of Australia that opened one of the St. Pat's shows at the House of Blues for the Dropkick Murphys. Their song "Uprising Young Citizen" seemed appropriate today as we were asked to bring shirts to be tagged "November Project." It's a shirt I'll wear with pride because this is one I've truly earned.
The numbers of this group have grown exponentially since I started doing this. Looking back over the last six weeks (has it only been six weeks?), there were about 40 people and today there were probably close to a couple of hundred! How amazing is that? We truly are a ramshackle army throwing off the conventional gyms and workouts to challenge ourselves on our own terms. It doesn't matter if you're an overweight middle aged woman walking the stairs or a fit athlete that is doing "the Frog man" (50 sections in under 30 minutes). We are there and we are high-fiving, cheering and encouraging each other to keep going.
Today I covered 15 sections in under 35 minutes a PR for me. (^_^) There were only a few "I think I want to die" moments and I realized how hard I was pushing myself when I understood why people puke when pushing themselves to the limit and beyond. My water wasn't sitting well as I kept pushing instead of stopping. I only paused a couple of times on the trips up and only sat at the top once.
One high point today, as I worked my way up a section about 25 minutes in, someone stood at the top and "reeled" me in to keep me going. "We all need a little help sometimes," she said with a smile. Another woman and I kept reminding each other "20 minutes to go, we got this..." "only 10 more minutes, keep going...." "you can get one more section, there's just under 5 minutes to go...." At the finish, when we were picking up our shirts and getting ready for the group photo, people were all greeting each other in a similar manner: You looked good out there, how many did you get in today?
It is easy to work out when you have support. It's also easier to push yourself when you see others doing so as well. Let's get real, too often our minds quit on us long before our bodies do. Whether it's the mental fight with the bed magnet in the morning, walking instead of pushing yourself a bit more when you run, that last set of reps that get the better of you... you name it. We hold ourselves accountable more easily when we know we're accountable in public.
I will really miss this group come the start of the school year. Most people have an extra hour to get their butts into work than I do. I have to be in the building by 8, which means leaving the house by 7:40 and with a shower ahead of that, I have to be home by 7. This gives me two choices: finish my work out by 6:40 or find a way to connect virtually. Instead of Harvard Stadium, perhaps the football stadium at the local high school and the killer hill across from the high school that climbs over 100 feet in .23 miles similar to the Brookline hill we run on Fridays. Deck of cards work out? I have a living room floor and a deck of cards.... I can continue this and will have to mentally flash on the summer days where people smiled, high fived and called out encouragement.
So I will raise the banner of this ramshackle army high and with pride and really enjoy pushing myself the next four weeks.