I Press On

Written By: Rhonda Sue Page


30 minutes……..It’s just 30 minutes. One half of a single hour of the entire day. How bad can it be?

I’ve been somewhat lackluster about my workouts lately. It’s no one’s fault exactly. I’m just in that part of doing something that requires perseverance because my feelings keep leaving me high and dry.

I’d rather sleep….or eat a corn dog. Ooof, that’s bad, I don’t even like corn dogs!

So I say to myself:

“Self….get going. April’s waiting. She’ll be needing that amazing smile and award-winning charm of yours today.”

My Self isn’t so sure. My Self thinks I have that backwards. Especially when April lights up like a Christmas tree upon catching sight of me.

“Good morning Rhonda!!” April smiles & waves cheerily from her office. I return the wave and check the clock. Good I still have 10 minutes before we start.

I always try to show up a little early to “hit the mat”, you know……. get in a good stretch. Fitness magazines say that stretching really wards off all that soreness. My Self hopes to experience this for itself someday.

Oh, who am I kidding? I go early because I like the gym at its emptiest. Nobody needs to witness what’s about to go down here today. Heck, I shouldn’t even have to witness this.… But no one told the interior decorator bent on covering an entire wall with one massive mirror.

I start stretching my quads and calves and by the time I’m on my hamstrings, perky little April’s headed over with her notebook.

April’s notebook is full of stuff. The bad news is she’s planned for every second of these 30 minutes, the good news is I have no idea what’s coming. She has completely averted my ability to dread it. Genius……….absolute genius.

“How are you feeling today?”

Now, I may not be genius…..but I am not stupid.

“Sore!” I respond.

(It also happens to be the truth. It just that normally I like to appear strong and capable when asked this question…….I’d have used the word “fine” with anyone else. Problem is April is NOT just anyone else.)

“Good, I love it!” Her smile actually grows bigger and her eyes dance.

See what I mean?

April begins rattling off her routine for the day. I’m a little tired from stretching…….. so I just follow her around as she gathers materials and nod in all the appropriate places.
The great thing about April is she doesn’t judge me. She explains the exercise verbally. Then……..to erase the blank look in my eyes, she begins demonstrating what she wants me to do.

It’s not that I’m dim-witted mind you. It’s just that sometimes……when my muscles get tired……….and I can’t get enough air into my lungs….my head goes blank again. It’s problematic.

But April is a Pro.

She’s helped me to discover that I’m naturally strong and plans ways for me to show it. She’s just as proud of “bumping up the weight” for me as I am.
I concentrate very hard. I close me eyes and try to remember all the steps. Tuck in my butt – tighten my core – use abs – breath in – push and breath out.

April counts for me.

“One…….two, good slowly lower……….., three, ……..four, Breathe………five….. BREATHE!!!”
(MAN….I always forget to breathe.)

“Rhonda try watching this move in the mirror as you do it.”

I open my eyes and catch sight of myself in the mirror……IS THAT MY TONGUE STICKING OUT? Merciful heavens it is!!! I have the intense focus of a four year old learning to write.
I can’t help it……I burst out laughing. Which is no easy feat in itself. It’s not like I have extra oxygen just hanging out in my lungs.

Now I have just officially drawn everyone’s attention.

Good! Pay attention people. I’m about to do these cardio intervals that will leave me looking like a newly-dropped fawn three sheets to the wind. You won’t wanna miss it!

Well that’s nice……..I’ve completely bypassed my “don’t self-destruct” mode.

I blame Elsa. She “let it go”……… and it slapped me in the face. No Disney magic’s gonna give me a Jessica Rabbit moment though. April’s making me work for it. My legs are shaking and forget that rhythmic breathing crap….I am sucking wind.

I’m this close to calling ‘MEDIC” when April finally calls “TIME”.

“Oh, thank you Lord Jesus, Kiss your mamma for me. I thought I was going to die!” I pray in my head. I mean I’m not ashamed to pray it out loud or anything…….I just have no oxygen to do so.

“Shake it out, catch your breath and get a drink” April says kindly. She has no idea how close I just came to throwing in the towel.

I race to my water bottle……IN MY MIND….. actually I sort of limp toward it with longing.

I look at the clock. Surely, I’ve gone over those 30 minutes by at least 5.

NOPE…….But I am halfway through – the simple half of one hour – in an entire series of hours – in the this one day.

April starts explaining the next circuit of exercises. Sometimes, If what we are doing looks especially awkward, I have her show me twice. I want everyone daring to watch us from the safety of their machines to know I didn’t just invent some weird move.

April brings us to a bench. She sits and shows me that she wants one leg placed out front floating in the air and both hands up in front of me. April stands using one leg and no hands this way. Now it’s my turn. I assume the position and go to stand. Nothing happens. I smile up at April and query as to wether I “look” right or not. She assures me I am in perfect position and that I should stand. I nod and give it another go. I give my best push…….nothing, I got nothing.


April tells me I can put one foot on top of the other if I need to, so I try that. It works…….I wobble like a Weeble, but I’m able to stand. Problem is, it hurts.
Basically I’m stepping on my own foot. I’d say “watch where your walking!” if I were anyone else.

I start to wonder if this is worth it……..

I’m beginning to realize that in the past….THIS is the place I’d normally quit on myself. I’d find at least three other really important things to slip into the place of exercise.

So that night, My Self and the Big Guy had a heart to heart.

“God, I know that it’s your will for me to take good care of myself. Please forgive me and help me to be aware of this quitter attitude when it starts to take root in me. Thank you that I’m strong and physically able to do what it takes to get in shape. Thank you for the amazing support you’ve given me along the way. No matter how I “feel”, help me keep choosing to “show-up” not just for April but for My Self as well.”


I press on to the prize……..

Rhonda Sue

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