When my trainer moved out of town, I worried that I would lose my oomph, my motivation, my accountability. I worried that I wouldn't get up and get out in the mornings if there was no one meeting me to go walking.
That was about the same time I started telling people that I was taking this fitness journey, and several people offered to walk with me. (And I thank every one of you for being willing.) But after the cards were shuffled and dealt, my regular companion has become my next-door neighbor Sandi.
God knew she was exactly who I needed. She is a walking, breathing inspiration for me every day.
First of all, she's a single mom of four, two of whom are still home and in school. One will be a high school senior...the other will be in first grade. Anyone who is or has been - or has been involved with - a single mom will understand how special this is, in and of itself.
Beyond that, she's a Marine. Active for over 25 years, several of those as a drill instructor. She also taught karate, in which she holds a black belt.
The only reason she is no longer active in the Marine Corps is because she had to take a medical retirement after being diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer SEVEN years ago. (The average 5-year survival rate is 20%.) Surgeries...chemo...radiation...over and over. And over. And while she currently has no active tumors, they have left their damage, including bulging disks in her back.
And she kicks my butt and puts me to shame.
Seriously. We hit the trail, she goes into drill instructor mode, puts one foot in front of another, and goes. Always knowing just how fast to go to make me push myself slightly faster than I would alone. Never huffing and puffing. Never sweating. Just going. I try to remind her that she's supposed to be the sick one. She just smiles and keeps going.
When my hips and back start to hurt from the effort, there's no way on earth I'm going to complain. Not to this lady. Not to this wonderful person who postpones taking her pain meds because she wants to be sharp when we're out together instead of being in a haze.
And today...today when we finally, FINALLY had rain, and it wasn't feasible to get out and walk, she didn't let me off the hook. No. She said, "Come use my elliptical." And for an hour, I barged into the corner of her living room and churned away one ellipti-step at a time.
How do I beg off to this incredible woman? How do I say, "I don't feel up to it today"? I don't. I can't. And God knew that. (Well, DUH - He knows everything.) :)
I am so blessed she has decided to help me along in this battle, even as she fights her own on a daily basis. Thank you, Sandi. I love you.