It was time once again to decide whether or not to renew my gym membership. I see the red lights that illuminate my gym in the morning darkness quite often but it's been almost a full year since I've actually gone in. I peer at the lights from the top of the hill or I run passed them but the lure of the weight machines have not tempted me. With the exception of a recovery spin here and there, the call of the road is just too great. My husband decided he was ready to make a lifestyle change and he renewed both of our memberships which means I really should use it instead of letting that money go to waste. I decided I could benefit from some upper body work and some good solid core training. I'm convinced that I have some pretty good hard abs underneath my layer of flab and it's maybe time to find out if that's true. Plus, it's hard to fake a mile swim without training and I'd like to be able to not trash my arms so quickly in those triathlons. (I have every intention of actually training for them this year.) Anyway, I went to the gym and it was packed! I had to wait for someone to leave so I could take their parking space and the waiting continued every time I wanted to move to a different machine. Where did all these people come from? Have I really been gone that long? And then it occurs to me, It's January and unfortunately, most of these people will disappear around valentine's day and I won't see them again until 2009 kicks off. It's sad really, I sit here with sore but happy muscles ready to take on the next challenge. A challenge that, in essence, defines who I am, the me that is different and separate but the me that lends itself to my mother and wife roles and lets me enjoy some success in all these areas. I feel a sadness for those people who, for whatever reason, don't feel what I feel on a consistent basis and I hope they have something that takes it's place. For me, without the strength I feel from running and exercise I am somehow less, somehow not the same and somehow things are harder. I am grateful for a strong body and the opportunity to challenge myself and work hard and I relish the unspoken kinship I feel with others who enjoy this same lifestyle. We cover the roads and may not speak but I know you are out there!