I See Briant Clones

I’ve graduated to the point of always working out, four to five days a week – mostly five, but I don’t always eat right.  This was one of those weeks when I didn’t eat right.  This wasn’t the worse week I’ve every had, there was no binge eating involved, but it was in the top ten of bad weeks.  I’m not beating myself up, it’s just one of those things that comes with creating better habits.

a flat in the rain

The week started out with PMS. By Tuesday, it was PMS complete with cramps, two glazed donuts, a bad attitude and a flat tire; but I called the troops for a ride and still went to spin class.  On Wednesday, I said the hell with it all, flu like symptoms had set in.  I didn’t workout and ate two pieces of fruit all day, my appetite had vanished.  Not eating is as bad is over eating.  On Thursday, I slapped myself and snapped out of it.  It’s not how you start it’s how you finish.  A better attitude and appetite had returned.  Then it was time for damage control.  Had a little talk with Briant about skipping Saturday’s weigh-in, that went over like a lead balloon.  You can’t blame a girl for trying.  Then there was Friday.

On Friday, I had to go into the office to work.  Ninety-five percent of the time I work from home.  I love working from home.  No vending machines at home.  No potlucks at home.  Friday was jump start day which means very little carbs.  In the office every flat surface was covered with crap I didn’t eat: cookies, pasties, fatty finger foods, soda, cake and Christmas candy.  I didn’t eat any of it although I was hungry.  One co-worker commented that I was smaller every time he saw me.  I showed him my employee badge which had a photo of my pre-BKM face, it was an inflated face. If I smiled too hard my-eyes-would- have-disappeared face.  It was a face that looked nothing like my current face.  He wanted to know what I was doing. I told him.  All he could say was, “Wow!” There was an hour until the cafeteria reopened for lunch.  Once it opened I ate a salad made of spinach and every veggie available.  I was proud to have survived the office.

That night I prepared for spin class, excited about getting it in.  When I arrived Briant was preparing to teach boot camp.  Ah, that meant he wasn’t teaching spin class.  His son was teaching spin.  Cool, I thought.  That meant I could get it in and challenge myself on my terms. 

WRONG.  Briant had cloned himself.  This dude was a younger version of his dad! He loved making us sprint.  He wouldn’t start a song until EVERYONE was participating. AND he could be loud!  At one point his face was in my face asserting authority and repeating what I was suppose to be doing. He made his face stern, “I said UP and OUT!” I had never seen this from him before.  Whenever he thought I might be slacking he came back.  It was Briant. I hated it.  I loved it.

After spin class, I was surprised by my niece and sister-in-law.  They were in the boot camp session.  I quickly blackmailed them both into a 4 mile run for 5:30am the next morning.  Both were begrudgingly accepting of the invite.  I was pleased.  For insurance, I told Briant the two would be joining us in the morning.  Now they were obligated. The two of them gave me lots of blank stares and eye rolls.  No matter, we were getting it in come morning.

Back at the ranch, my husband reminded me we had a party to attend.  Now I was the one giving the blank stares and eye rolls.  I showered away all traces of salty determination and got dressed for the party.  We had the best time.  We had the best homemade wine.  Homemade wine is not on my meal plan. There was homemade lemon cake.  I only had a sliver.  Slivers of homemade cake are not on my meal plan either.  I drank more anti-meal plan homemade wine.  This was not going to end well for me. We danced and shot pool.  My eyelids were quarter past should-have-already-been-in-bed.  I checked the clock.  It was after midnight. I was tipsy. I needed a shrink instead of a drink.  This was sabotage at my hand all week-long.  Why? When my pillow and head met again, it was well after 1a.m.

At 4:15a.m. there were buzzers, bell tones, ringers and beeps going off all over the house.  I set the alarm clock in the bedroom,  the alarms on both cell phones and I even set the timer on the stove to make sure I would be awake for the run. There was no way I could miss it after the week I had or after blackmailing two other people to be there.  In the midst of all the noise, my husband’s silhouette lay motionless and snoring. The Sandman had pulled him in deep.

I sent “wake up” text messages to those who had requested them.

I turned on the TV, tuned into the weather.  It was 27 degrees in Chesterfield.  I wiped my eyes, it was still 27 degrees in Chesterfield with an expected high of 44 by noon.  I stepped out on the porch. It was also a good 27 degrees in North County too.  The only thing I like doing in the cold is getting to some heat.  I dressed in four layers.  It was probably too much but it was colder than the Forest Park run so I wasn’t sure.  I packed my bag with spin gloves, chap stick, Ipod, clothes for spin, clothes to weigh-in and clothes to come home in.

I arrived at BKM 15 minutes before run time.  There were 5 other cars there.  Diane, the trainer, was standing outside with a clip board for the 8am spin class.  A blue blur whipped around me and backed into a parking space.  Briant had arrived. It was still dark with no signs or sounds of morning.  My niece and sister-in-law had not arrived but where in route.  At 5:30am I queued my playlist and took off.

The Isley Brother’s started my Footsteps, Willow Smith whipped her hair back and forth up the hill to the first stop light.  Ice Cube rapped in ebonics about clubbin’ all the way to the first church.  Flo Rida got Low, Low, Low.  Sheila E’s drum beats to a Fabulous Life, Beyonce Got Me Bodied and Usher was screaming, “Yeah” along the way.  Lots of orange hooded people passed me.  Diane, not the trainer, was one of them.  She was yelling at someone whom I could not identify in the shadows of the dark early morning.  “There is no walkin’ on Lindbergh! You can do this! Let’s go!” She sounded just like Briant.  It’s what I loved about this group.  It’s what I hated.  Only your best would do.  There was nothing in between.

I was wet but not cold.  The wet clothes weighted me down but I wasn’t tired.  Behlman Farms came into view long before I expected.  It was on to the Mobil gas station on Old Halls Ferry Road.  It didn’t seem that far.  My sister-in-law and niece had caught up with me.  I saw the blue flourescent lights before I saw the hill. It was a hill that made you call on Mary, Jesus and Joseph.  It stood between me and that Mobil. I had come too far to quit but it was steep enough to consider.

Once I made it up the Mary Jesus Joseph hill, Mary J. Blige assured me going back would be Just Fine.  It was my first time all the way to the Mobil.  I couldn’t stop the smile from spreading across my face.  It felt like I picked up momentum on the way back.  I felt like I was really moving.  My shadow casted from the street lights told a different story.  One of someone barely moving. It was disturbing. I was pushing, sweating buckets in the cold.  Damn that shadow.  The hills back to Behlman Farms were unrelenting but my resolve was stronger.  I was anxious to get back.

I passed more orange hooded people on my way back.  The sun was still sleeping.  The edges of the skyline were a light blue with a hint of orange. From across Lindbergh, I heard someone call my name.  It was Briant, yelling good job and to pick up the pace.  Did my shadow tell him something? He was forever pushing for better, more, faster,  better than your best.  He disappeared as quickly as he came to view.  He was fast and made it look easy.  Jealousy rained all over me, I was impatient.  A vehicle in desperate need of an oil change and tune up, passed me and left me with a coughing fit.  When the coughing subsided, I was crossing the street onto the property of Jamestown Mall.

I was satisfied.  Mission accomplished.  I was tired of running.  As soon as I took two or three walking steps, I heard a rebel, “Oh hell nawl!”  I turned around, it was an orange hood.  The orange hood shouted “We don’t do that! You have come much to far to start walking now! Don’t stop! Get it! Get it!”  The voice in the hood sounded just like Briant.  There were little Briant clones all over the place. Calling you out.  Pushing you.  It’s what I hated. It’s what I loved.

I found the phenomenon at BKM  intriguing.  I’ve been with BKM for about ten months.  I have noticed when there is a group of us and Briant is not present there is someone who will step into his role and become Briant-like.  It can and has been anyone, sometimes someone totally unexpected.  BKM is it’s own little community of collective intelligence, where individuals decide to mutualize their knowledge and work out experience in order to generate a higher individual and collective benefit than if any of us remained alone. The whole lot of us spur each other on to more personal fitness victories than we would have every achieved alone. 

Alone there is no running at the crack of dawn in the cold.  Alone there is no sprint followed by “legs only” followed by sprint and repeated over and over.   Alone there is no pushing to exhausted exhilaration or challenging to victory.  Alone, there is just good enough and not your VERY best.  Together, we are not afraid to piss each other off if it means it helps you get to your goal.  Together, we are not afraid to call each other to the carpet when there’s slacking.  Together,  we celebrate the victories of each one and reach back to make sure there is “no man left behind”.  Together we are definitely winning!

Until next time…

It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed. ~ Napoleon Hill

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