Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Giving Birth

She panted for breath and groaned that she wanted to give up. The pain in her stomach made it practically impossible to think of anything else. I know she had practiced for this, but it seemed more difficult now that she was actually doing it. All of a sudden, she stopped trying.

"Come on," I said, pushing her to keep going. "Just keep breathing, we're almost there."

She glanced up, and could see the light at the end of the tunnel. It seemed so far away, but at least now the end was in sight. A slight bend in the road represented the finish line.

We crossed it together, and I stopped the time on the stopwatch. There it was: Thirteen minutes and fifty-two seconds. Our goal had been to walk or run a mile in less than fifteen minutes. I shared the good news with my sister and we both whooped aloud like crazy people, even though we were doubled over, gasping for air.

Okay, so maybe I cannot or should not compare exercising to giving birth. Both are similar, though, when thought of as painful processes that lead to something great in the end. Through giving birth, one receives a beautiful baby; through exercise, a beach body.

The day before my single mile marathon, I attempted to improve my upper body strength. My goals were to perform as many sit ups, wall sits, push ups, calf lifts, and bench lifts as I could. Extended across the floor, I tried the push ups first. Onnnnneeee! That wasn't so bad. Twwwwwwwoooooooo! Wow, that one was pretty tough. Thh--Nope. Not going to happen. Lying on the floor, defeated, I saw the carpet closer than I have ever seen it. Two inches from my nose was a bug. I just vacuumed! And a little further away was a wood chip? No, it was a leaf, probably dragged in from outside by our German Shepherd. My nose wrinkled as a repulsive odor met it from the carpet. The dog was probably responsible for that as well.

Maybe it wasn't worth it, I thought, as I crept to my knees and then slunk into the chair and began typing on the computer. All of this work and what would I have to show for it? A six-pack of steely abs? Perhaps. Greater stamina to propel me through the day? Probably. The highest grade in my kickboxing class in the spring? Now, that sounded pretty good to me. Maybe the key to exercising faithfully or having a baby is telling yourself over and over again what there is to gain from all the pain.