I am known to exaggerate from time to time, when it benefits my cause. It’s fun and easy to do! Things like when you feel a little rough after a night out, you say “Well, I drank about a hundred beers last night” and people nod and say “Been there, done that!” When I worked in the restaurant we spoke in exaggerations all day every day. It helped get your message of how great or how awful people were out there for the world to know our struggles. So you get it, we all do it.

One of my greatest venues for exaggerating is the gym. I alluded to this is my Facebook post yesterday, which will all be revealed momentarily. We work out for a half hour. And in that 30 minutes we get a lot done. But we don’t likely do stuff a thousand times in that stretch. But I will tell you we do. Arm days? We must have done 1000 pushups. Leg day? Thousands of squats. You get the idea. My real favorite is getting after a coach for blowing their whistle about 1000 times during Fire Bombs, a torture exercise designed to turn us against the coaches, I believe. I might mention how they will likely have to visit a specialist to remove a whistle from a delicate area, always a crowd favorite.

But you know what I have done a thousand times, and I have proof? I have gone to FIRE Fitness and worked hard with those coaches and so many awesome people 1000 times. I got my 1000 Camp Plaque yesterday, and most excellent of all, my friend and co-worker, Coach Lynn presented it to me. I cried. I have said she is mean at camp about 500 times, and I likely will say it 500 more, to even things out. But in that moment, she was my cheerleader, hype man, and the best person I could have asked for to get that star to me. She has coached me, been at camps with me, we swear together, plot together and watch moon phases together. It was awesome.

Accomplishment. That’s a hell of an accomplishment. I have not done everything there that gets put in front of us, but I have tried. I didn’t quit. Can’t is a bad word there, and we sometimes get it in our heads, but those whistle blowing coaches drown us out when we start mumbling it. They get us through it. It’s how I got through 1000 mornings, because they told me I could. I did it. I will do more, but to pause a second to look at the road to 1000 is totally acceptable, because of how amazed I am that I stuck with it.

The people are the key. It’s the coaches, but even more the people going through it with you. I could name so many people that keep me coming through the doors. We do it all and we do it together. We laugh, cry, swear, sweat and struggle, but since we do it together, it’s all good. The friendships and triumphs go hand in hand. Last year when a job change made it necessary to get to camps earlier, 5:00am, I dove in the deep end of the workout crazy pool. But then I found out they weren’t as nuts as I thought, just driven to get it done. Or they could be crazy and I had just cracked too. Whatever. But my 5am camp buddies made that last approximately 300 camps doable, so a little extra shout out to them. Thank God you are all nuts too.

The super kind comments that came in on my Facebook post from yesterday, after I got the reward, really mean the world to me. This road has been well documented by FIRE and me. I check in almost every day with a post, and they post every time you hit a milestone. So my friends and family have truly watched it all the way through. 3 years, 9 months. That’s how long I have been at this, and how long you have all tolerated my morning, and occasional evening, posts from FIRE. People tell me I am amazing, an inspiration, and I am thankful for all of those wonderful words. I don’t always see it that way. Some days it is a super struggle to get there and do it. But knowing you all have cheered me on in different ways helps every single day. I don’t sweat “haters” or anyone that thinks something less of my efforts because they aren’t doing things for themselves. They are fighting their own battles, and it isn’t about me if they are annoyed by the posts or the efforts. I can only worry about me, and be thankful for the support from those giving it. I just hope they know that if they decide to do something great for them, I will cheer!

I have some work to do. I have gained some of that weight back, and I am struggling with getting it back off. My own bad eating habits are the bulk of the issue, and a job that doesn’t have me as active 8 hours a day. That’s ok. I am working on it, and figuring it out. But no matter what the scale says, I am still moving. I am starting on that next 1000 things, camps, walks with The Zelda, or any other 1000 things to improve me. I had spent what felt like 1000 years starting things and stopping them, not doing things for myself that were productive. I will keep working because I have every band, t-shirt, mug, trophy, duffel bag and 1000 camp plaque that I earned at FIRE to remind me that I can do things: things to be strong and confident. I would encourage anyone to try FIRE, or any activity that will make you feel 1000 isn’t such an exaggeration, after all.

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