I had just finished my run on the elliptical. I was sweating buckets, but proud of every drop because I had just run a personal best. 3 miles in 33 minutes on the random hills setting. I know it doesn't sound like much to anyone who is a runner. I, however, am not a runner. The first mile I completed in 9 minutes and 25 seconds, another personal best. The second two miles took a bit longer averaging at 11 minutes and 45 seconds. Still, I was proud. Happy even.
The gym at my apartment complex was quiet. I was the only one, so it was easier to push myself to the point of panting. (It wasn't pretty.) There was no one to hear me struggle and I liked it that way. Next, it was on to my circuit for the day. There is no real method to my circuit except that I just go through all the weight machines in my little apartment gym, 3 times. The first two rounds, I do 12 reps at a weight that challenges me, and quickly move on to the next machine. On the third go-round I lower the weights and go until exhaustion. There's no real science to it, I just use what I've got.
So I was just finishing up my second machine when I heard the door open. Immediately I'm concerned. What if this person not only interrupts my solitude, but what if they need one of my machines. Instantly I'm a little annoyed. Then I see her round the corner. A blonde about my age, with a very fit body. But then my eye catches something unexpected- a prosthetic leg.
I've never been one to stare, but as I move to the next machine in my sequence, I see that the pretty blonde has not one but two prosthetic legs. And in another glance, I notice her right arm only goes to her elbow. She climbs on the treadmill and begins to walk at an impressive incline. Instantly, I am not only impressed, but also inspired and motivated.
I keep going through my circuit. With each rep I push harder, simultaneously counting my blessings and admiring her strength. I don't know this girls story. I don't know how she became a triple amputee or perhaps she was born this way. I do know however, that she is strong, she believes in herself, she takes care of herself and she doesn't let anything hold her back. Those qualities make her my hero. Those qualities inspire me to exude those things myself.
As I leave the gym, I catch her eye and she smiles. I smile back.
I learned two things in the gym today; use what you've got and never give up on yourself. What keeps you going?