We're already in week 4 for this year's Leadership Fitness Challenge.
Last year's challenge was amazing. Humbling. Eye opening. Enriching. My favorite part of last year's challenge was the people it brought into my life. Vic. Gabe. Ricky. Scott. Mary. So many others.
Mary is the leader for Spohn Hospital. She, Scott & I are the only three of the original LFC that worked out with Vic all year. We are the only 3 back in this year's LFC. Mary's team won the challenge last year. They earned it -- I gotta give her that.
Mary and I have a lot more in common than first names. We both went to University of Wisconsin and we have the same birthday. Weird, right? Mary is funny and beautiful and smart and successful and she works out so hard. Apparently she also was a size 24 not too long ago, although you'd never know it to look at her now. Mary and I are now friends. Real friends. Let's-grab-lunch friends.
Mary and her awesome husband Ron have a beautiful daughter named Rachel who works out with us, and who is also one of my kiddos' favorite babysitters. (They also love a beautiful blond girl named Natasha. I think my boys already love blonds. Should I worry?) Anyway - I love Mary to pieces.
I really, really, really want to beat Mary in this year's challenge.
I have a good start. For one thing, my partner this year is AWESOME. Her name is Julia and she is SO committed. Julia works for a part of the college that I rarely get to see -- our Early Childhood Development department. Julia is just the kind of person you would want working with your kids -- smiling, gentle, kind. Beneath that glowing exterior, however, beats the heat of a tiger. She works out almost every day -- and get this: she RUNS to the studio and then she RUNS home. I can already tell that her arms are defining, her waist has whittled and she is glowing strength and fitness. With a partner like that, don't I have it in the bag?
I'm not counting my chickens.
For one thing, this year we have A LOT of really committed people. Kirby. Megan. Luisa. Caitlin. Jason. Robert. Yoli. Any of these incredible people have a chance of bringing it home.
But Mary is playing dirty. Mary has Tony.
Tony will not be easy to beat.
Not easy to beat at all.
Tony is big. Tony is strong. Tony is funny and smart and likable. Dammit.
Tony is like many of us who have hit our forties -- he put on a bit of weight (which is rapidly coming off), his joints are a little creaky, and working out was pretty foreign to him until Mary enlisted him as her partner.
But Mary knew what she was doing. Tony isn't your run of the mill work-out-for-a-few-weeks-lose-some-weight-and-call-it-a-day kind of guy. Tony is a I-am-going-to-win-even-if-it-kills-me kind of guy.
Tony works out until it hurts and then he works out some more. Tony keeps us laughing throughout the workout -- I think it's a strategy to weaken our focus. Tony has been sticking to the diet plan religiously and already has lost over 10 lbs. He is getting smaller and stronger by the day.
Tony has become my buddy. How could I not like him? He's from Chicago for Chrissake. He's like a brother to me. Tony reminds me of where I started a year ago. In spite of myself, I really, really want Tony to do well.
That's what scares me.
If I am going to beat Mary, I hafta beat Tony.
It won't be easy.