Intervention: Anything But My Own Skin

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fitness Competition

My calloused hands methodically grasped the steel rough weightlifting bar.  My shins kissed the cold bar as I bent from the knees down into a semi kneeling position.  Arching my back, I flexed my arms into a straight position.  Tire sized weight lifting plates stood on either side of the rusty bar.  To my right, to my left, behind me and in front of me were ten other competitors poised in the same position.  Adrenaline was dripping from our pures, excitement clouded the room, and nervousness bounced through everyone's chest.

The warehouse style gym was our home.  It's where we belonged.  It's where we got high.  Adrenaline, competition, and survival was our best friend.  All that mattered at this moment was the middle aged man standing on the cold concrete floor with a stopwatch in hand.  He was counting down... "Three... two... one...  GO!  The adrenaline shot through my chest as I pulled with all my weight.  My back strained, my arms flexed and my knees took the pressure as I stood up holding the steel bar of 255 lbs near my middle thigh.  Only fourteen more reps..  I dropped the weight and repeated.  Stand... Drop... Stand... Drop.  The lactic acid filled my entire body.  It didn't matter.  I had to win.  I had to complete the workout.

The fifteen reps were done and I took off for a quarter mile run around the back of the giant warehouse.  The summer sun was scorching my skin.  Sweat dripped in my eyes.  My feet pounded the concrete.  In front of me were all the competitors.  I was taking my time.  I had to pace my-self.  I kept telling my-self they're all going too fast.  I'm fine.  Keep the pace.  We had to complete five rounds.  One round was lifting the weight 15 times, running a quarter mile, and performing thirty situps.   That's 75 reps of the weight, one mile and a quarter run, and 150 situps with no rest total.

The run was complete.  The spectators crowded on either side of the opening to the garage style gym.  Everyone shouted something.  "Come on." "You can do it."  "Go!"  I barely heard them.  All my senses were focused on the weight and the situps.

Three rounds down.  I took off on the run of the fourth round. My body pleaded to stop.  No.  Must keep going. Go Chad Go Chad.  My eyes tried to roll back in my head and my body threatened to shut down.  It didn't matter.  I had to keep going.  I couldn't see.  I just ran.

The last reps on the bar.  I was in second.  Everyone else was shutting down.  They went out too fast.  I did it.  I planned it the right way.  Just pull the weight and your done.  Three more reps.. two more reps... one more rep... DONE!  I collapsed, falling onto the black mat.  My arms cringed, my lungs gasped, I rolled around in pain.  It was over though.  Done!  Ten minutes later and the pain released it's grip.  The high set in.  The endorphins saturated my brain.  It was stronger than anything in the world.  I felt like I was soaring above the planet.  Wow...  

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