Monday, November 23, 2009

Inspired

It started like this: I was at the gym, mounting a stationary bike (Geez, get your mind out of the gutter, please), when I noticed an older woman finishing up a sweaty workout on the elliptical beside me.

I’d seen her before, actually more than a few times, but we’d never spoken to one another. I’m still not completely sure about the etiquette of talking to folks who are plugged into their headphones. I mean, I’ve generally got the volume turned up to “brain damage” when I’ve got my headphones on, so I’m hesitant to strike up a conversation with others when they have them on.

However, the timing was just right today. She was just finishing up at the same time I was getting started, and we caught each other’s eye.

“No fair,” I smiled. “I wanna be done with my workout, too.”

I was just being friendly, but what transpired over the next few minutes simply took my breath away and forced me rethink this whole weight-loss journey, made me see it in a shiny bright new light.

Sounds pretty dramatic, huh?

Let me explain.

She told me how she had just done four miles on the elliptical.

Four miles. Pretty impressive, huh?

Well, truthfully, that didn’t impress me much either. I’ve almost done four miles plenty of times, after all.

Then she told me she runs four miles on the elliptical six days every week.

Six days. Every week.

Waitaminute. I just remembered the “impressive” part: she’s 72 years old (and truthfully, looked to be no older than late 50’s).

Impressive, huh? Oh wait, did I tell you that she’s had four rounds of chemotherapy and over 40 radiation treatments in the last ten years? The nurses at the clinic she goes to told her that she was the fittest person they’d ever had come through there… at any age.

“I don’t want to be one of those weak little sisters that walks around with her gown on backwards,” she told me. I still don’t know exactly what that means, but we talked for another few minutes before she made her way out of the gym and left me to my pedaling.

Some days my workouts seem incredibly long and tiresome, but not so much today. I was thinking about the strength and determination that it takes to be the healthiest individual at the cancer clinic. I was ruminating on what it’s going to feel like to be fit and healthy in my 70’s, sporting energy and muscles a man half my age would covet. I was thinking about how maybe my fear of being old isn't justified after all... not in the least little bit.

Time flies when you’re feeling inspired.

48 comments:

  1. What an amazing lady. I aspire to be like that (only without the cancer and the chemo etc. obviously!). It's great to see someone being so positive and taking action for themselves, and yeah really inspiring for the rest of us!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't believe this was "chance" at all - this was your guardian angel planning an encounter. We all need these sometimes to get our vision corrected to 20/20.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a great story. I feel inspired by my grandparents, who both walked everyday. I never understood that as a child, but now I know they took care of themselves and I should do the same.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I know what you mean - I sure don't want my old age to be like my parents'.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Just got goose bumps reading about your amazing inspiration lady. Glad you got a positive boost after your hard weigh in.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Kinda makes that .2lbs a little less important and the fact your getting healthy the real important reason huh?? She's a real inspiration to us all. We need more of the rose coloured glasses people in the world. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Jack, I have to tell you about my 94 year old Aunt. She had heart bypass surgery and a surgery to bring more blood to one leg within 6 months of eachother. The Drs. said they wouldn't have done either surgery if she hadn't been so fit. They said she had the body of a 60 year old. She bounced back from both surgeries really quickly. Unbelievable.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Definitely inspiring! If only more people had that mindset.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I do believe you were meant to meet her Jack. There is no other way about it. We all have those moments, when we come across something so tremendous that it makes us stop and think about what we've been doing. I can tell she's made an impression on you already Jack; now RUN with it *S*

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow, what a cool experience to meet her and get to chat. I always feel like it's fate when that stuff happens, when I'm blessed with getting some inspiration from a person in passing. I swear she sounded like my grandmom, she lived to be 94 and up until she got alzeheimers she walked everyday. Thanks for sharing Jack you always make me feel better.

    ReplyDelete
  11. LOVED THIS JACK!!! INSPIRING!!! I want to be like that in my 70's & I have NOT had cancer! Amazing testament to survivors!!!! I see people out walking on my Sunday jog that have had strokes or are using a cane or walker but still trying... says something doesn't it!!! People can do this if they really want to! Like my You will motivate you post. You have to want it enough to do it yourself!

    THX for this great post!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love this story. I actually am related to one of those people. My dad is one of those people. He fights tooth and nail to keep his body strong, because over and over as his health has been challenged, as he has beat the odds, some doctor ALWAYS ALWAYS says he has the endurance to keep winning because he takes care of his body.

    So. Great post. Once again.

    ReplyDelete
  13. seriously...what an amazing lady!!

    and the etiquette... don't speak to anyone! i've tried a few times and peeps usually run the other direction after a slow nod.

    i swear I'm not crazy...ok, maybe just a little bit! =)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow that is some inspiration! I'd love to be like that woman. I certainly don't want to be one of those decrepit old people whistfully remembering when they were young. I want to be a kickass grandma - like the neighbour we have who tears around playing soccer with her grandsons every weekend. Now that's growing old with style!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Here's to being the fittest oldie in the home :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. That is inspiring! We can really make the most of our lives by getting healthy and fit!

    ReplyDelete
  17. That is very inspirational! :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. life does throw curveballs huh! It sure don't always kick you when you're down, it's full of amazing moments too that sure make you thankful. Beautiful story overall, even more so in the light of this week's celebration!
    She obviously rocks and I sure wouldn't mind being the fit Grandma either! :) Bring it on!!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. It's is wonderful to read stories like this Jack. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  20. thanks for sharing that! it really does make me think about being healthy for my life now AND in the future ... not just lookin good now. have a great day!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Some one once asked me how I would prefer to die. I can think of no other: I want to be shot by a jealous lover in the nursing home.

    Your gym lady is my idol!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Wow, that's incredible. Makes all my lame excuses for not working out seem...well...lame.

    ReplyDelete
  23. "Sisters walking around with their nightgowns on backwards" - Love it!

    When I turned 40 I vowed to run my age in minutes every year for my birthday until I can't move at all. You could apply the same to the elliptical.

    We live in the Land of the SuperFit, and the Oldsters are no exception. Many of them are WAY fitter than I will ever be! Inspiring indeed.

    The Pilates class where my DH got called out for farting on the mat was loaded with oldsters. In awesome shape.

    ReplyDelete
  24. You are so lucky to have met her, and we're lucky that you shared it. Who knows what that stranger's life story is...this is definitely a reminder of that.

    Now, I have no right to complain about anything. Ever.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Now I'm inspired as well...fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!
    No more than fantastic...FREAKING FANTASTIC

    ReplyDelete
  26. An amazing lady, I hope to be that fit and still fighting when I reach that age

    ReplyDelete
  27. Ah, I love these kinds of stories!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Wonderful post, Jack! I think I need to come back and read this again later today so that I can get a belly full of fire right before I workout!

    ReplyDelete
  29. That's really cool. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I love hearing stories about fit people in their 70's and even 80's. That is truly an inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Well, now you've done it. I'm at work and in tears. Such a beautiful re-telling of your encounter with this amazing soul. Thanks, Jack.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Aw, love this. Love her. She reminds me of my great-grandma, who walked every day, right up till the end. And also made random, weird comments that made me laugh, though I wasn't sure why.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Excellent post. Makes you reconsider your goals, your objectives, the point of working out. Are we striving for big pecs, or for healthier hearts? Are we striving for ripped abs, or for the kind of system that can undergo the beat that a disease might deliver and still leave us on our feet?

    ReplyDelete
  34. What an amazing encounter - to spin it all in a new light. Thanks for sharing that, too.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Pretty sure she means a hospital gown, don't you think?

    You're forcing me to think about my elliptical. Damn you Jack!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Wow! What an amazing woman. Next time I start to whine about working out I'm going to remember her. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  37. You just met one smart lady, Jack!

    It is cool what happens when we get our ipods out of our ears, and engae a bit. I should do that more often too.

    Doing so certainly enhanced your day...and as a result...ours.

    great post.

    ReplyDelete
  38. That lady is freaking awesome. I'm totally inspired by her and I didn't even have the pleasure of meeting her.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Amazing lady! I read to an 85-year old man every morning. He walks for 2 hours before we meet, then walks for an hour or more when he leaves. Throughout the day he hops on and off his stair climber and works with weights. All this despite being functionally blind. It certainly inspires me to keep fighting the good fight! :)

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

    ReplyDelete
  40. my mom has worked at a nursing home for years. and when she talks about shuffling around with her gown on backwards, I have a feeling she is talking about those elderly people who have slipped a bit upstairs...are too weak to take care of themselves and no longer have the ability to maintain their dignity. It's sad. Good on her for trying to stave it off. Good on you for noticing.

    ReplyDelete
  41. She really was an inspiration! The thought of doing ANY running (let alone on a machine at the gym) fills me with dread, but it IS one of my goals...

    I used to work in Palliative Care at a large London hospital and the positive attitude of many of the patients made me feel thoroughly ashamed of any negative thoughts I might have...

    ReplyDelete
  42. Great story! That makes me feel like I can do whatever I put my mind too...I mean I am about 45 years younger and all ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  43. wow.

    nothing like that happens to me at my gym. i just turn into a pervert. its full of hotties so its not my fault but still...

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails