When is the last time you challenged yourself?

by DavalosMcCormack on September 29, 2009

I mean really challenged yourself – physically.  I remember when I was a kid we moved into a new house and we were so delighted to have our very own house. It was brand new and it had so much room.  My whole family was delirious with joy to have this wonderful house.  But the house needed landscaping and my Dad loved to garden.  Well, let’s be fair, I don’t know that he actually loved to garden…but he did garden.

My dad had all of this dirt dumped into the front yard and my sister and I were given the job of shoveling the dirt into a wheelbarrow and then wheeling it into the backyard. It was hard work and it took us the best part of three Sundays to get it done. We all got so dirty and tired and sweaty doing it, but it felt great because it was a team effort; me, my sister, my dad and my mom helped create a wonderful garden in the backyard.

To this day some of the plants and bushes are still there. And best of all there is a towering orange tree that my dad planted that’s still producing bushels of delicious fruit every year.

There is real satisfaction in doing something together. In accomplishing something as a team.

That’s how I felt this past weekend when Kevin and I were part of a team from California Pacific Medical Center competing in the Dragon Boat Festival on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. It was amazing. Three hard weeks of training, followed by one intense day of competition. At the end we came runners up in one competition but took the gold medal in our division.

No, really, we did. Look. We’re the boat nearest the bank. We beat the team from Wells Fargo by a mere 15 hundredths of a second (Ha, that’ll teach you to charge me a fee for having a checking account)

It was hard work. The technique is difficult to learn, the timing even harder. And even though the race is only 300m long and takes just two minutes it’s the toughest two minutes of your life. By the end your arms are weak, your legs are tired and your heart and lungs are beat.

But you know what, it’s all worth it. So many of the activities that we do are individual ones – we run by ourselves, we get on the stairmaster or treadmill, we lift weights by ourselves, even classes or yoga that are done with others are really individually focused – so when you change things around and do something as a team it is a truly rewarding experience.

You get to meet people you may never have come across otherwise. You get to put your trust in them and they in you. And you get to sweat and groan and ache together. And when it’s all done, you get to celebrate together.

That’s why it reminds me of working with my sister and mom and dad in the dirt. In the end you all feel like family. It’s a great feeling.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Iman M. September 30, 2009 at 6:20 am

I am an avid exercise participant. I also travel a lot for business. Most times the hotel gyms are unreasonably expensive and as fall temperatures are starting to come around it is harder for me to run outside. Do you have any advice as too any other workouts and/or exercise equipment I could purchase to stay fit while on the road?



Davalos/McCormack September 30, 2009 at 6:58 am

Thanks for the comment Iman. We recommend core exercises that don’t require equipment. For instance, always take the stairs if you can. Push-ups in your room can be varied by putting your feet on a bed or a chair in order to challenge your arms a little more. Other core exercises are the plank – which has you in a prone position balancing on your elbows and toes holing your body straight and taut for as long as you can, then there is simply changing that by resting on one elbow facing sideways and stacking your feet on top of one another keeping your body rigid – then turn for the other side. Go to any sports equipment store and find rubber tubing with grips at the ends and stretch in all kinds of ways –
Thanks again…


Miracle Luster October 5, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Seems like a beautiful way to spend a beautiful day. Rowing, er, Dragon Racing, is a sport that requires total team effort. You just can’t row when you feel like it; you gotta be in sync with the rest of team. It’s special that way. Congrats.


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