Monday, February 7, 2011


I have been trying to be a little more intentional about exercising lately for a lot of reasons.  I am planning a beach trip this summer and don't want to horrify the masses when I put on a swimming suit.  I also want W to grow up with two parents who make physical fitness a priority.  Ryan has always been good at this.  Me-not so much. 

So I have been hitting the gym often.  Usually I have W, so we go in a special room that has equipment for me and toys for him.  It works out fine, until he inevitably gets bored or frustrated and ready to leave right as I am starting to break a sweat.  I was going alone today because W was at a playgroup.  I should have been excited at this prospect, but I was having a hard time finding motivation this morning.  I just wasn't feeling it.  But I went anyway-determined to have the discipline to get it done.  My feet felt like cinder blocks as I dragged myself into the gym.  And then I saw what has now become my inspiration. 

Incirlik is home to many different kinds of troops.  Some are like us-having moved here with family for 2 years to work.  Others are deployed here, and still others come here for a short time to prepare to go "downrange"-which I have discovered usually means Iraq or Afghanistan.  The man on the treadmill in front of me belonged in this group.  He was dressed in normal Air Force standard issue exercise gear-but with one exception.  He was wearing heavy, tall combat boots.  He had a huge backpack on his back that must have weighed at least 40 pounds.  He was carrying a fake wooden rifle in one hand.  And he was running-fast.  No doubt training for active duty where he would have to run to escape or catch an enemy with all the above gear with him. His physical fitness could literally mean the difference between life and death.

And I was grumbling about a mile.  In tennis shoes.  For a beach trip.  I shook my head and silently told myself to suck it up.  I also said a silent prayer of thanksgiving for this guy and the many like him. 

Think about this soldier the next time you feel "blah" about exercising.  It might just give you the extra motivation you need.  It worked for me.

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