It felt like the first day of high school. I was excited but no sure what to expect. I awoke to a text message from Linda O. 4:52am Are you up? I texted her back in the affirmative. I dressed and checked my gear. I had two changes of clothes, my music, a pack of big red gum, running shoes, spin shoes and a couple of oranges. I popped in my kitchen, quickly ate a grapefruit and dashed out the door. The time on the car dash displayed 5:15am. The air was still, crisp and all the street lights were on. No evidence of daylight, at all.
I reached BKM and Angela, the newbie and my mentee, was there waiting. We stepped out of our respective vehicles at the same time both dressed in orange hoodies we nodded toward one another as I stretched. I yelled across the parking lot to her that the others were on their way. In the distance an SUV was barreling at us entirely too fast with base beats booming. As it got closer I could see the driver head bobbing to some hard gangster rap. I was waiting for the window to come down with a gat sticking out; “Gimme all yo money fool!” Instead it was Seena dressed in her orange BKM hoodie, high on coffee and ready to roll. She bounced from her car doing a dance something like the Crip walk. She was hilarious. “Iono why in da hell I’m up this early fu#$@!% with you Montrice!! You betta be glad it’s yo 100 day or else I’d be in my bed.” I loved her, she was my ride or die chick. Whenever there was a long run to do we did it together even if she fussed her way through it. The rest of the crew had arrived. I passed gum to all that needed it and we took off. To the unsuspecting eye we all looked like we had just made a prison break with all the loud orange hoodies running up Lindbergh Blvd., but on any given Saturday morning BKM members owned this stretch of real estate.
As we headed out my body started to give warning shots of twinges and pangs. Knees and hip joints readjusted my running plan to a power walking plan. We were a little over two miles in, past Behlman and at the first Mobil gas station, which SHOULD have been our turnaround point. I was slightly ahead of Seena and Angela I turned around and smiled at them. I motioned forward like a flight attendant. “What are we doing and where are you going?” Angela asked cautiously. I didn’t respond, I just kept walking. “Man! This is why I don’t mess with you. You always tricking people. I don’t know why I keep falling for it!” Seena barked. Angela was shaking her head slowly, “I didn’t sign up for this.” Seena and I went all the way to the foothill of Shop and Save, Angela continued to New Halls Ferry with the Cheetah Girl pack. On the way back to BKM we were half way there when I heard a lot of commotion behind me. I turned around to find a blue Honda with tinted windows parked in the middle of the highway and a dude in grey sweats and a baseball cap wildly waving his arms and yelling. It was Briant, telling us we were moving too slow, we could go faster, push harder. The sky had just surrendered to the orange and amber lights of the sun. He got back in his car and pulled up beside me. I look inside and he is holding a sign: 100 pounds or bust. I laughed, put my earplugs in and picked up my pace as I watched him drive ahead. He and I had come a long way. Today was my day and I could feel it.
Back at the gym, Seena and I ate oranges while we waited for the spin class to start. We finished our course 25 minutes ahead of schedule. I went to the spin room to claim my bike. Briant was in there cleaning. I was feeling nostalgic when I asked, “Do you remember when I could barely fit on the spin bike?” He nodded, “Mhm.” Memories of the beginning came pouring in, “Do you also remember the days you had to strap my feet in for me because I couldn’t bend down that far?” Briant turned facing me, “Yes, I do. Do you remember the two things I told you and the promise I made?” Like a good student I responded, “Yes, not to quit and to have fun and you would have me doing things I never dreamed possible.” He chuckled, “Now look atcha, what do I know I’m just the instructor.”
I went in back to change into some dry clothes. When spin class started I went hard for the first 40 minutes. After that, my get-up-and-go had got up and went. I made my fat cry but I struggled through the end. Once the class was over, Deek came over, gave fist bumps and told me I had done a great job. I was eager to get to the scale. I was praying it would reflect all my hard work. I would be entering the 100 pounds lost club.
Once at the scale, Briant tapped it with his foot to reset it and spayed liquid breath mint in his mouth (a habit, I think). He motioned for me to step on. I stand on it and before I could look down, he yells out, “Booyah!!! She lost 101 pounds folks!!” Three fist pumps in the air and Briant kicks up his heels. He grabs me and gives me the biggest bear hug. I tried to capture the moment but was unable to do so. There was so much emotion, I couldn’t figure out what to feel first. Then my eyes started leaking at the thought of how much had went into getting to this very moment. It was surreal. I was then rushed by all the special people who had been apart of the journey with a group hug. There was Seena, 32, Chantel, Linda O., Mitchell and Shonna. (Disclaimer: If I didn’t mention you please don’t take it personal. At the posting of this blog I am exhausted and a bit sleep deprived so the noggin is running a little slow, but know it’s my mind and not my heart because I appreciate you all!) I had hit my first major milestone. Two years ago I never would have thought this possible. Now on to phase two. I am beyond excited.
Until next time…
In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins – not through strength but buy perserverance.” – H. Jackson Brown