by Keri O’Meara

Home stretch baby, home stretch. I cannot believe how fast this challenge has gone by. It feels like yesterday I was in my first Pilates class watching the clock that didn’t move, taunting me with whispers of “sucker, you have 29 days left, 29 days left, 29 days left.” Dare I say I almost feel sad that the challenge is coming to an end? I have a piece of advice to offer anyone who is listening (reading): if there is anything you are thinking of doing but feel like you can’t make the time commitment or it feels like it would be too long or hard etc…remember one thing: time flies and it takes you with it. As Nike so brilliantly trademarked the phrase: Just Do It (no one’s going literally sue me for saying that are they?)

Don’t let my self righteousness fool you. This past week was the hardest yet, it was-pardon my French- a fucking bitch to get through. A fucking bitch! Wow that’s even more fun to say than rib popper (which by the way I don’t do nearly as much as I did two weeks ago). If you were to peek into my bedroom window last week (pervert) than you would have seen a red faced girl, fists clenched, jumping up and down yelling “I DON’T WANT TO.” That’s no child; that was me doing my daily ritual before I sucked it up, checked out my new six pack, pulled on my Lulu-Lemons and went off to Pilates practice, again.

Around day 18, I started to get really sore. Taking stairs, riding my bike, walking, every movement felt like a struggle. As I lay in bed at night I could feel my muscles twitching as if they were trying to get my attention: “let us rest womaaan,” they were pleading. “We tye- aad, we c’yan go on like this any more.” In case you were wondering, yes: my muscles are Jamaican.

Also, my knee joints started to feel creaky, clicky and really sore. This is kind of scary for me because I have rheumatoid arthritis and those joints tend to suffer the most. I swore to myself that I wasn’t going to mention my disease because I hate giving voice to it and frankly I didn’t really think it would be an issue. But it feels relevant now. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me, but during a class last week, as I did a hip roll I had to fight back tears, the pain in my knees was so intense. I had memories- ones I have tried very hard to repress- of my mother putting me to bed and strapping braces onto both my legs so my knees wouldn’t lock in my sleep. I saw a chubby, little blonde child sitting out of gym class watching all the other kids jump and frolic around happily. So I had a pep talk with my body. “Don’t you dare defeat me,” I said. “I am going to complete this challenge whether you co-operate or not and it would be a lot nicer if you did.”

It sounds hokey, but my knees listened. In turn, I modified certain exercises that put strain on them and I iced them a couple times a day. We are pals now, we worked together and everything is irie. Speaking of irie, my Jamaican muscles are no longer sore; they too pushed through and are strong and ready to take on week number four.

I started this challenge in the midst of a bit of an existential crisis. I was hoping 30 days of Pilates would provide me with guidance. The reality is, no light bulbs have gone off in my head but I figure if I can convince a disease, which I have lived with for 26 years, out of bothering me than there isn’t much I can’t do. I am Superwoman. Well, maybe not, but you should see my biceps, I could give that bitch a fair fight.