I just wrapped up 11 spin classes in 5 days. I did 4 in one day and 3 in another. I suppose I did it for a few reasons… One of my I AM STATEMENTS READS: “I AM the good kind of crazy” and I try to live through this lens. I frequent the Scottsdale, Arizona location of a spin studio called Flywheel. I’ve been going for over 6 months now and find it’s a form of cardio that’s more forgiving on my joints than running and playing basketball. I also like that the outside world seems to drift away for each 45 minute session. Spin class is a place I can tune everything else out and focus on the task at hand- riding the bike and keeping up with the instructor and my cycle mates.
I signed up for a national contest they’re doing called “Tour de Fly.” Long story short- it’s a contest to encourage riders to take 9, 15 or 21 spin classes over a 21 day period from July 8th – July 28th. I signed up knowing my time would be limited due to my departure date of July 20th for my upcoming road trip (my journey- almost here)! When I first signed up I figured I could just do the 9 or 15 class challenge while having the pretty-darn good excuse that I only had 12 days to compete. Then I started thinking, why can’t I do 21 classes in 12 days? What is stopping me from doing this? Only one answer came to mind- the only thing stopping me from finding a way to invest the time, energy and dedication to take 21 spin classes in 12 days was myself. I took one class, then another, and before I knew it I was taking 4 classes on Wednesday alone. Why would I do this you might wonder? I knew if I was actually going to get to 21 classes in 12 days I’d have to take multiple classes most days. Also, I had never taken 4 classes in a day, only 3 one other time (which was crazy and only done to prove to myself that I could). I’ve heard “that’s stupid, you could hurt yourself!” I’ve heard “that’s crazy!” I also had people asking me the simple question- “why would you do that?”
I was probably 10, almost 11 years old at the time. Standing in right field of a baseball practice. Head down, playing with the grass, not focused as my baseball coach paused our practice to coach the infielders on something. Why did I need to pay attention to what the infield was getting coached on? After all- I was an outfielder and at the time had no doubts I knew how to do my job out there. I realized that my dad was sitting in the bleachers down the 3rd baseline watching when I suddenly I heard him yell toward me, “pay attention!” I surprisingly looked up and realized he was there taking it all in. I suppose he got there a bit early and was watching my practice since he had to come pick me up anyways. He loved the game and enjoyed watching my teams compete. Baseball was my jam. I didn’t flirt in between sports as a kid – baseball was my main sport from the time I was old enough to swing a bat. Why? Because my hero back then (my dad) played with me nearly every day all summer long after work. I loved the game, but I enjoyed the time with him just as much. Much of childhood was spent in the car together going back and forth to practice, games and other cities for travel tournaments.
Back to the story…. Practice went on and I focused for a few minutes. Soon after however our coach stopped practice yet again to preach to the infielders. I guess my attention span wasn’t dialed in that day… I suddenly looked up and surprisingly saw my dad on the field walking toward me with this hand up to the coach as if to say “stop practice! I’m out here and have a task in front of me that no one is going to deter me from!” I even remember him simply saying, “sorry, Coach.” as he strutted all the way out to right field while never taking his eyes off of me. “OH, CRAP!” I thought as I stood there knowing his look wasn’t going to be followed by anything good. He gently took me by the back of the shirt and walked me for what seemed to be miles in front of my team, back through the infield, past the dugout and onto the bleachers. He sat me down and addressed the coach and my teammates in a firm tone – “if my son isn’t giving 110% when he crosses those white lines, he’ll sit here with me and watch instead!” Shock and Awe…
How demoralizing for a 10 year old to be embarrassed in front of his teammates and coaches like that. Especially given I was always a really good player on the team. Often the other kids looked up to me for talent, speed and GRIT. This given day – I just didn’t have the motivation or effort in my father’s eyes to deserve the right to participate. The result? A moment I’ll never forget that taught me more than I could’ve possibly understood at a young age. A lesson that has stuck with me for years, regardless of any endeavor before me. Something I think about to this day every time my feet cross the white-chalked lines of a softball field or the painted black lines that outline a basketball court.
As you can see, I still love playing sports. I still love a challenge. I still love pushing the limits physically and mentally amidst competition (mostly within myself). Flywheel is competitive as well, another reason I love going there! My dad said I needed to give 110% or I shouldn’t play back then. 110% effort is a concept I still wrestle with to this day. Well, that is until I was sitting in my 3rd spin class Thursday when the instructor uttered those words – “Come on squad, I want 110% effort!” She said those words and like a time machine I went right back to that moment with my dad. I also remember saying to myself “110% is not possible.” Cue my mathematical brain – annoying! There I was contemplating the concept of 110% effort in the middle of my 7th spin class in 2 days. A class I wasn’t even going to take, yet felt an urge to do so given the encouragement of others and the positive vibes of Flywheel’s camaraderie. I left that class with a new perspective – 110% IS TOTALLY POSSIBLE!
My legs were burning profusely and I felt somewhat delusional given the task at hand, yet my mind was spinning. Finally, 110% effort made sense to me. Our mind can take us to incredible limits amidst grueling situations, much of which is driven by our perspective. Even vice versa, sometimes our physical bodies can overcome tremendous agony to push beyond seemingly impossible limits. I think most would agree that both mind and body need to be dialed in to get anywhere near of the results we are truly capable of.
Then, of course, comes our HEART! Heart transcends into GRIT and DETERMINATION. When our heart comes into a situation where our mind and body are already pushing the limits, watch out – we’re dangerous in a phenomenal way! Yet, even if heart, mind and body are working together with perfect harmony to achieve something, can we even really ever experience 100% effort? Are we even almost there?
I’ve literally prayed in spin class. I’ve prayed in many situations… “Hey God, can you take over? Hey God, you got this, right? Hey God – I need you!” My epiphany – He’s the difference! I can do my absolute best to give my heart, my mind and my body to whatever situation requiring effort, but I cannot give over 100% as a human being. I’m convinced, however, that we’re all capable of pushing beyond our human EFFORT, our human STRENGTH, and our human WILL with God added into the equation. I know this with absolute certainty based on my life experiences- He is within each of us! He is everything we don’t have, regardless of the situation. He’s THE WAY we get to 110% and then some! He’s the beyond human within us! He’s the reason the math doesn’t make sense! We cannot give more than 100% from a human perspective, that I believe is mathematically impossible. Yet when we tap into our higher consciousness, our spirituality, and connect to our Divine power through Him – we can surpass any equation! We can do anything! We can give that 110% effort we hear so often requested! Things don’t have to add up – THAT’S FAITH, THAT’S POWER, THAT’S SPIRITUAL!
There it is. A lesson learned as a kid. I’m grateful for that experience. I’m grateful for my father – one of the greatest men I’ve ever known (my favorite, but I suppose I’m biased). I’m grateful for those who encourage my spiritual growth. I’m grateful for a bunch of other crazy people that move throughout multiple spin classes per day to teach and/or take class right along side me. I’m grateful for community and pushing boundaries. I’m grateful for our ability to Divinely connect with Him, as well as each other. I’m just grateful.