I am not sure how this one will go down in the record books, but in my mind right now I cannot remember anything like it.  The temperatures in Barcelona the past few weeks have been suffocating!  Setting records for both highs and lows – as in the low temperature for the day was still in the 30s!  This is craziness.  And I was complaining about the heat before the heatwave even hit, so you can only imagine my feelings while we were under siege…

All this came at a time when my children were (thankfully) out of the country in a much cooler place. I can’t imagine having to function as a mother or, gasp, cook (!) in these temperatures.  I couldn’t even manage to sit on the couch without sweating! But, having my children gone meant that I actually had time and the obligation to DO THINGS, a task proving to be difficult with the energy sapped out of me by 39 degree heat!

One of the things on my list of things to get done was to exercise every day.  Don’t judge me here, I know that the body needs to recover. But after 2 weeks of vacation recovery, my body needed to move.  My mind needed my body to move.  So, I had my running shoes placed lovingly by the front door and could not wait to lace up… And then, disaster struck…  the HEATWAVE.  A massive heatwave which, as I said, made even sitting on the couch uncomfortable!  I was worried and heartbroken…  What to do… What to do…  Take exercise off the list and wait for a better time?

NO!!  When it comes to certain things, I don’t do excuses.  Excuses are a red flag to me in my coaching practice as well.  We know that if something is important to us, we do not wait for the time or moment or weather to be right, we find a way to do it.  Running is important to me – I run rain or shine.  I run in sleet and snow (although, there is not much snowy running necessary in Barcelona).  Heat, however, gets me every time….  I didn’t want to make excuses, but I had learned earlier in the season that running in 33 degree heat was a bit of a dangerous option for me.  So, it was time to get creative.  And by creative, I just mean diversify, move a little bit out of my comfort zone.

So, I decided to look for alternative forms of exercise (i.e. things that did not involve going outside).  I wanted to keep my goal and I was confident that after a few days, running would be in the cards again.  I knew I needed a solid “back-up plan”, if I intended to stick to my 10 days of exercise every daygoal.  The gym was an obvious solid option.  I identified a spinning class, and went to it.  It was challenging because I had not been on my bicycle in a while.  But I really enjoyed it.  Forcing myself outside my comfort zone wasn’t all bad.  The next day I went to the gym again…  weights and abs today, I thought.  The day after that there was another spinning class.  The day after that I went for a swim.  And so on, and so on…  Eventually, on the 7thday, it was only27 degrees at 6:00am so I was finally able to go for that run. Yeah!!!

Why does it matter that I hit that 10 day target?  In truth, it really only matters to me.  So, why am I blogging about this?  Because I learned something along the way.  I mean, maybe I actually re-learned it, or just forced myself to remember…  but the fact of the matter is that stepping outside of our comfort zone is good for us.  It might even be enjoyable sometimes.  In this case, I found myself asking – Why did I stop cycling?  Why did I stop swimming?  I enjoy these things and I have done them before.  The answer is easy – running is at the core of my comfort zone (and I love it).  I will only step away when I have to – because I am training for a triathlon OR because there is a massive heatwave and I set an exercise goal.

I know this comfort zone stuff.  I spend so much of my time as a coach talking about comfort zones and stepping outside of them, that you would think I might actually practice it.  Well, no.  We are all drawn to our comfort zone and there is a place for it in our lives. The important thing is to not be ruled or limited by it.  Don’t look for and find excuses to keep yourself there.  Don’t say, “well, there is this heatwave, so I am just going to have to take exercise off the list”.  Go out and “look for a gym”.  Not only did I re-discover cycling and swimming, but I made new friends.  I made friends with people at the spinning class. We arranged to meet for a different class in a few days.  I made friends at the pool.  I chatted with one of the lifeguards for a while.  We “know” each other now.  Suddenly, the spinning class and the pool are IN my comfort zone!  Not only have I reached my 10 day goal, but I have expanded my comfort zone.  

So, mission accomplished! I made the 10 days.  I expanded my comfort zone.  I have new friends.  I feel strong.  All of this thanks to the massive heat wave – which I hated!

So, thank you heatwave of 2018.  I am a better person because of you and I guess it just goes to show that every heatwave has a silver lining.