I’m not a morning person.
When I say this I suppose it comes with a caveat- I can function early in the morning (I’m talking wake up time around 5:00am) but I don’t feel particularly wonderful. I’m not stoked when my feet hit the floor and it’s really dark. I lay in my cocoon of blankets and warmth and wonder why the hell do I do this. But up I get,
On Friday mornings, the early wake up call is to head to Llew Edwards Garage of Pain. I drive in the dark, radio up loud, until I arrive at the place where I know what's about to happen next. I fumble with my shoes, wallet and keys and drag my sorry self to the Garage (literally, it is a garage) where myself and at least one (sometimes two, something three) other woman face a physical whipping for the next 60 minutes.
It's hard to explain to the non-converted what happens at Llew's. I am reminded of a poster I saw when I was in Nashville years ago that said: The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves. I was so struck by the juxtaposition of the poster. If you keep getting beaten, wouldn't the morale lessen? We show up and start warming up, a series of body mobilizations, followed by the "warm up" strength training moves. At the point where you've finished your "warm up" it's time for the real fun to begin, at which point I often glance at the clock, only to be betrayed by time. 6:30am ONLY? My monkey mind starts squawking and panicking, because I know thirty very long and difficult minutes remain. The beatings will continue until morale improves.
Next up we do a series of strength-based circuits and vomit-inducing sprints and hill repeats on the treadmill that Llew jokingly dubs "Mount Everest". We power lift, we pull-up, we jump and push and pull and wear the weight vest. We swing and haul kettle bells and punch the punching bag, all while Llew yells, "ARE WE HAVING FUN YET?" Sweat pours off my hairline and into my eyes, blinding me with burning salt and my own misery. My muscles shake and twitch. I often think of giving up, backing off, or walking away.
We finish with a seemingly never-ending plank where I stare at the patterned carpet and attempt to transcend the pain my body is radiating. We stretch, put on our layers and walk back out into the world.
It's 7:05am and I'm floating. I think I could probably do anything.
While my physical body is regrouping from What Just Happened In There, my mental and spiritual self lands in a new place of transcendence. Calm, peace, strength and determination for the day, for the weekend, for the week. Knowing that the capacity to suffer in physical form seeps through into other arenas of life providing similar strength and fortitude. It's that 7:05 feeling, the reason to get out of bed, the reason to train in the morning, the reason to push and go and work and work and work.