Sprawled on the cold floor of the gym waiting for my ragged breath to calm and the spaghettis attached to my trunk to transform back into legs, I thought “maybe I should be miserable,” but I couldn’t be further from it.
Minutes before, I’d been in a slow-motion nightmare, pushing a prowler loaded with 130 pounds of weights as fast as my spent legs could carry me. I was on lap 5 of some devilish prowler sprints Ben cooked up in which I added weights each time. (a far cry from when I do my own prowler sprints – my version of “as heavy as possible” as instructed is to load it 50 pounds). On lap 4 I’d nearly quit, my feet slipping and sliding on the painted concrete floor as I tried to swing it around for the return trip, less weight behind my mightiest push than was on the sled. But can you quit when your coach is yelling “Dig in, dig in, GO!!!” In a word, no.
A roaring in my ears accompanied by my vision going dark around the edges told me, along with the sick feeling in my gut, that I may be about to lose it, to finally become a victim of the prowler. My desperate attempts to heave in breaths the last few tortuous feet and inches sounded alarmingly close to crying to my own ears. (hopefully the blasting stereo masked it!)
I thought Ben would take pity on me, my bright red face, quivering legs and surely woebegone expression. “You’re done,” he’d say, sending me on to blessed back extensions and sit-ups. But no.
“Do it in under 51 seconds next time or you’re doing ab work – and not the nice kind,” he said. “But my shoes are slippery,” I weakly argued. He showed me how to dig in, not raising up on toes of both my feet like a sprinter. “Do that,” he said, “and beat your last time.”
I got some water and eyed the prowler as I made my way back on trembling legs. “You’re strong,” I told myself. I pictured the scores of squats I’ve done, the weights I’ve lifted. “You can do this.” It wasn’t all that convincing, but I had no choice. Saying no is just not an option. I’m not here to quit, I’m here to get strong.
I got behind the prowler for the final lap and dug in like Ben showed me and heaved off to much shouting. Slinging it around at the far end of the gym was my sticking point. If I couldn’t get it going again I’d be done for. “DIG IN” came the shout. Other people started yelling too. How long had it been? It felt like forever. The other end of the gym was So Far Away. I’m not sure I could even feel my legs at this point but I picked up my feet and leaned with all my power into that thing and, though surely running like through heavy syrup, careened into the end. And promptly got myself prone. Somewhere, like on the far side of a tunnel I heard Ben call out 33 seconds. “Sand bagging on me!” he cried. I realized faintly that meant he’d make it harder next time.
I was nauseated, limp as a noodle, and possessed a crazed jack hammer for a heart. But I was damn proud of myself. I’d wanted so much to give in, to take the easy way out, but I didn’t let myself. Yes I had to dash to the ladies’ while unloading the weights to throw cold water on my face to quell the nausea, and rest for quite some time before I could collect myself enough to get changed for work. But I had conquered what I’d have thought would be an unimaginable weight on the prowler. And I’d done it without pleading for mercy.
I’ll be back for more.