One of the great things about exercising is knowing that you can. Today, I went to the Spin4Heroes event to raise money for the Heroes Foundation. The Heroes Foundation raises money to fund cancer research at IU, deliver Legos to pediatric cancer patients, and promote a healthy lifestyle as a way to minimize cancer.
The event was a 4-hour spin-a-thon. Teams of up to four had four hours to ride their bike as far as possible, and extra miles could be earned with additional fundraising. Dan and I were part of the LiftLab team, and because of inclement weather and some ill-time illness, we were the only ones who were able to make it. Luckily, LiftLab-er Craig H. had brought his daughter along, and she kindly volunteered to help Dan and me out. We had a lot of fun, heard some great music, and go to see some truly talented cyclists crush 100s of miles.
Every hour, a different instructor/motivator was leading the group of riders, and they were fun, but it was the woman leading the third hour (during my second 45 minute ride) who really kept my attention. She spent almost no time on the bike in the front of the room, and continuously circled the room asking people why they weren’t more enthused and energetic. This, at first, was really off-putting. I was about to ride for another 45 minutes, and there were people in the room who hadn’t gotten off their bikes at all! They were doing the full 4 hours alone, so yeah, after the end of hour 2, they were sweaty, hungry, saddle sore, and sick of staring at the back of the same guy’s shirt.
What she kept reminding people of was this: the pain we were feeling would stop the minute we stopped riding hard. We could stop whenever we wanted and we would be just fine. This is not the case for those fighting cancer. We could ride bikes, exercise, and exert ourselves, and they can not. We had to crank out the Watts in the saddle for a mere 4 hours of our lives on a snowy Sunday afternoon, and then we could be done with the hard work. For some people battling cancer, the hard work never ends. Every day is just that: a battle, a never-ending fight. So suck it up, she said, and enjoy the opportunity to suffer to help those who are truly suffering.
Her point, while tough to swallow when your legs are burning and your heart is pounding, and your toes are kind of starting to get numb, and you look at your watch and your brain has one of those you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me-there’s-still-36-more-minutes moments, totally changed my perspective and performance at this event. Instead of cruising along and just “getting through it”, I pushed harder. It’s too easy to take your good health for granted. And it’s too easy to decide not to work to keep yourself in good health. Leading a healthy lifestyle requires work and energy, but is there really anything more worth working for?
Take the opportunity to be powerful today.
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