I've spent the last several years trying to find my voice. These days it's something else. When I was 19, I had the Chinese symbol for it tattooed on my body: strength.
It's been an incredibly busy fall. On October 1st, myself and two fabulous local artists opened an art gallery in Dedham Square called the Dedham Square Artist Guild. Taking a 500 square foot space and putting some art on the walls sounds like an easy endeavor, but anyone who owns a small business knows, there is nothing easy about it. Nonetheless, it has been extremely rewarding and well, we made it through our first month of business.
Six days after we opened our doors, on October 6th, I took another leap and decided to get myself in shape. Through a mutual friend, I was connected to a wonderful and inspiring mother of two, Danielle Vlahos. She is a Dedham resident and trainer at a gym in Readville, Solid Body Fitness. Both her and I share a similar tale of dealing with babies born with vascular birthmarks. If anyone has been through this, you know, this too is not easy. Luckily for both of we were resourceful and lucky enough to live in the right place where top notch health care is all around us. Strength, for sure, was needed to get through this and both our children are now fine.
Danielle went on to become a board member of the Vascular Birthmark Foundation and is active in fundraising for the organization. It was an upcoming fundraiser at Solid Body that got us training together: the SkiErg World Sprints. On October 6th, I met the SkiErg machine for the first time. Think an updated version of the Nordic Track; it replicates the motion of cross-country skiing. It's well known that cross-country skiing is great workout and in one month I can't believe the change to my body. I've stopped thinking about losing weight and now I focus on losing inches.
What started out as three times per week at 6:00am to train on the SkiErg turned into five days per week training to be strong. I never did this kind of strength training(nor I have ever been able to get up that early!). At my last gym, you could find me running or walking on the tread mill. The weights always intimidated me.
With Danielle's guidance, not only do I feel good, but I feel strong. Challenging myself in the morning has literally translated into making the challenges of the day more bearable. The soreness I feel reminds me of what I accomplished and that I have to do more to improve. I'm working out my anxiety, my fears, my hopes and my dreams with each heavy lift(in a variety of fun and interesting ways).
This Saturday, November 12th, I'll compete in the SkiErg World Sprints for a timed 1000m sprint. The first time I ever did 1000m I timed 6:24. Last week, I got it down to 5:25. Not bad for 4 weeks. My goal will be to break 5 minutes.
This event is open to anyone. It costs $20 and 100% of the proceeds will go to benefit VBF. If you would like to sponsor me, let me know. If you would like to join me, come to Solid Body Fitness anytime between 11-1 on Saturday. And next time you're in Dedham Square, stop by the gallery and say hi.