The last 3 mornings I have got up at 5.30am, blearily staggered to the Mojo-Mobile and driven to San Mateo Park to join between 5 and 20 other women to run, skip, jog, jump, lunge, crunch, squat and sweat our way to fitness. It's tough and I ache all over, but strangely, I'm enjoying it.
It seemed like I'd used up my entire allowance of willpower and determination in getting myself across the Atlantic this year. I just couldn't find the motivation to train, and the pounds were piling on. The BootCamp has been my salvation.
The exercises are varied and every day is different, so I almost forget I'm doing training. An added bonus is the drive up the I-280 just as the sun is rising and the mist is crawling across the forested mountains on either side.
It gets the day off to the right kind of start - once I've had that one-hour workout in the morning, it seems a shame to spoil it all by eating the wrong foods, so it's like a virtuous double-whammy: exercise PLUS better diet.
Best of all, it's fun to train with other women. We're a varied bunch of all shapes and sizes, but we can take it at our own pace so everybody gets a good workout. The camaraderie and mutual support are really helping this prodigal rower get back on track. It's a physical and psychological restart, a reboot.
My Mini Cooper - on loan from a very kind friend. Who just happens to be British - not that you'd ever have guessed...
If you're looking for inspiration, look no further. Read the incredible story of Dick and Rick Hoyt. To whet your appetite, here's the first paragraph:
'I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans*. Work nights to Pay for their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots. But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck. Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars -- all in the same day (doing the Ironman Triathlon). Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?'
[With thanks to James at Narragansett Rowing Club for sending me this story.]
* For non-golfers, here's the definition of a Mulligan
Me and my big mouth. If you read yesterday's blog, you'll know that last night I signed up to run a marathon with UltraMarathon Man Dean Karzanes - a rash move inspired by a fit of guilt after a particularly over-indulgent weekend in the Napa Valley. When I woke up this morning and remembered what I'd done, there was an odd mix of emotions.
It was a kind of giggly feeling - a combination of 'Waaaah, what was I thinking of?!' plus a sense of anticipation and excitement, that powerful sense of urgent purpose that I've been missing since I finished the Atlantic row. I felt like a kid waking up and realising it's their birthday.
Even if I had been thinking about wimping out, as soon as I logged on to my email I discovered that was no longer an option. There was a message, via my website, from the UltraMarathon Man himself.
"I am delighted and honored that Roz will be running a marathon with me in New Jersey. As a big fan of hers, I can hardly contain my excitement! Roz is a true inspiration and hero of mine, and I am hopeful that you can pass this message along to her from me."
No way! YOU are a huge inspiration and hero to ME!
I was given a copy of your book at the Timex stand at the Outdoor Retailer show just over a week ago. I couldn't put it down. Since the Atlantic row I've really struggled to find my motivation - seemed I'd used up all my willpower and determination for 2006 out there on the ocean. But your book gave me the impetus I needed to get going again.
I am in your part of the world at the moment - I am temporarily based in Woodside, about 25 miles south of San Francisco. I just chose the New Jersey run because:
a) it is marginally more likely that I will be in that area (briefly) at the start of November, and
b) because I need as much time as I can get to prepare, having lost a frightening amount of fitness since arriving in Antigua, and
c) I reckoned that it might be one of your slower races, before your final flourish in New York, so I might have a chance of keeping up with you!
Good luck with your final preparations for the Endurance 50. Respect!
So that's it. Even if I wanted to, there's no backing out now. For better or worse (probably worse) I'm headed for New Jersey...