I have a favorite sound at the gym; it’s the sound of two runners pounding it out on the treadmill to the same pace and rhythm – particularly if I am one of the runners. I have encountered a fitness phenomenon this summer that delights me when it happens.

On two separate occasions this summer I’ve been on a treadmill and a stranger has taken up post at the machine beside me; there’s nothing unusual about that but they both ran pretty good distances at a pace I could keep. In both instances we eventually got into the same step, and it was exhilarating. I felt like I could hammer it out all day in step with my neighbor, and I was able to run my longest distances of the summer on those two days. Today the guy next to me stopped eleven minutes before I was set to be done, and I wanted to turn to him and shout, “What do you think you’re doing? Don’t you quit on me now. Move it, buddy; we ain’t done yet.” But I resisted – although it would have been too funny.

I’m sure there’s application here. Is there somebody in your life who inspires you just by their proximity and their activity? Is there somebody who pushes you as they push themselves to do more, to last longer, to finish well? And I’m not speaking to comparison. When I compare my appearance or my workout to others at the gym, I am quickly discouraged and disheartened. And I’m not just talking about fitness. I’m talking about people who inspire you to be a better you because they are authentic and doing their thing in a way that challenges you.

My observation: It’s easier to pound it out and push ourselves in the company of others who are doing the same; I happen to believe the converse of that is true as well…

Beside Myself...
In the Still of the Night


  1. erika
    July 12, 2008 at 3:40 am

    you are so that for me my friend. Like I said at McLeod the other day. You are my “personal fitness trainer.” Thanks for helping me keep the pace!

  2. Priscilla
    July 14, 2008 at 3:24 am

    Amen sister – well said.

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