60 Second Plank


“Montrice is going to demonstrate a plank for us!” Briant was shouting like a ringmaster trying to get everyone’s attention.  “And she’s going to do it for 60 seconds!” He sounded so proud.  I, on the other hand was dumbfounded. I repeated the time, laughing in between syllables. 

He was showing out. I had a guest from Texas and he was showing out.  You know, the same way Big Momma and ‘nem rarely let you sit in the living room on the furniture with the plastic covers or let you eat off the good china until an important visitor came to the house.  Then she’d pull out ALL the good stuff.  He never said that, but that’s how it felt.  This 60 second plank was the good china.  Marseea is my very good friend from Texas.  She was new, visiting his house, the house of pain. I think he wanted to make sure she knew how BKM rolled, wanted to give her something to talk about when she went back to Texas.

The last time he did this I wanted to cry.  I think I must have grown a bit.  I didn’t want to cry.  I just wanted to get through it and get it over with.  Sixty seconds were a lot, he might as well said sixty minutes it all sounded the same – long.  I couldn’t think about it at all.  I didn’t want the anxiety to set in.

Just as I was about to assume the plank position, out of nowhere Ava and Coach announced they would do it with me.  I was grateful beyond words. Ava was smiling and she looked so sure.  “We got this Montrice, let’s do it.  I’m with you all the way.”  They’ll never know how much that meant to me. 

I couldn’t decide whether to position myself on the mat or on the carpet.  The mat was comfortable but slippery when wet.  The carpet was rough but I wouldn’t slip.  I chose comfort over rough.  Briant started counting down and I immediately zoned out.  I didn’t want to feel the tightness in my abs, the numbness in my toes or the tingling shakes in my forearms.  Those feelings made me want to quit.  Quitting wasn’t an option. Briant was somewhere in the forties when my forearms slipped completely off the mat.  Down I went.

I was back up as quickly as I went down.  I was fighting to find that comfortable place where I could hold.  I never found it.  The fall had unnerved me. I closed my eyes. I had to dig in and find the perseverance to finish it. I tensed up all over.  Tuned everything and everyone out.  I would not fall.  I felt something in my ribs.  It took me a minute to figure it out. Briant had sat beside me and put his leg under me.  “Stay up! Don’t you drop!  Don’t touch my legs! You got this! You can do this!”  He was cheering me on.  It threw me completely off, my mind was all over the place.

I was fighting to focus.  I heard Ava shout, “Breathe it out!” There it was, something to focus on.  I focused on my breathing.  He was at twenty. Counting in slow motion.  I was steady, audible child-birth breathing like they teach you to do in Lamaze class.  Toes pressed in, arms pressed down as far as they could go.  17,16,15.  Fifteen is where we normally START.  This was insane!  Note to self: a lump of coal for Briant’s Christmas present. I wasn’t angry but I felt awful, wrung out like an old dish rag. 9,8,7.  I opened my eyes.  Ava and Coach were still holding it down. We finished the plank.  You could have stuck me with a fork.  An hour of spin, and hour of boot camp and the plank, yeah,  I was done.

Mr. BKM wasn’t done. “Don’t leave, I’ve got something for you”,  he ran over to the desk grinning. 

“You can hold it for me until Christmas.” I was so serious, not wanting the paper in his hand.  No telling what it was.  He pushed it at me.  I took it.  Across the top read, New Years Day Run Sunday January 1, 2012 beginning at 10a.m.  He caught 4 or 5 other people who were all about to leave and gave them forms too.  This is what happens when you linger.  He told me he needed it back right away.  I told him he could have it back right then.  He glared over his glasses, ” I need it filled out with the registration fee.  Don’t forget.” I shook my head yes and gave a weak smile. 

Seena came over, rubbed me on the back.  “Did you hear me cheering for you?  Gul, you did the damn thing.  Now put THAT in your blog.” We laughed and headed for the door before Briant thought of something else.

Until next time…

“Never be satisfied with what you achieve, because it all pales in comparison with what you are capable of doing in the future.” Rabbi Nochem Kaplan


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