Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Fitter Black Friday - My Thanksgiving Continues!

The tradition continues...and it only gets better every year.

I'm not necessarily talking about the Black Friday deals. I definitely got some good ones and saved a lot of money, but that's not even close to the best part of the day after Thanksgiving.

This is an annual tradition for me that has evolved over the years. It began with my mom and I, shopping till we dropped every holiday season. We added my cousin Carol to the mix over time, and the three of us always had a blast.

Then my mom passed away...and a couple of years later, so did Carol. I would go shopping on Black Friday by myself, but of course it wasn't the same. In fact, it was a day of mixed emotions as I alternately remembered the good times we'd had and missed them terribly - watching moms, daughters, sisters, and friends walk around in groups having the same good time we always did. None of my friends at the time liked shopping on Black Friday. It got so painful that I actually stopped going for a couple of years. I'd sit around depressed, eating too many Thanksgiving leftovers.

Then fate stepped in - divine intervention in the form of my husband's old high school classmates. A few years ago, a group of guys and girls from the Westlake High Class of 1984 (same year I graduated, except from Magnificat) started having an annual reunion get-together over Labor Day weekend. The ladies who were friends of my husband mentioned that they've had a Black Friday shopping tradition since 8th grade, and invited me and the other wives of their male school friends to join them. Some of us did...and I've been going shopping with them ever since.

Every year, I'd spend the day on my feet, constantly walking and standing in line, and carrying heavy bags around the mall. We do take frequent trips to our cars to drop things off, but it always took a toll on my very unfit body. I would ache more and more as the day went on, and when I got home I would collapse on the couch unable to move anymore. I hurt so badly that it would take the rest of the weekend for me to be able to function properly again.

But this year was different. Since I've been working out regularly, my stamina has improved. Yesterday was a complete revelation as I walked, carried packages, and enjoyed myself without pain. I still have a long way to go fitness-wise, but there's no doubt that I'm getting stronger. I lasted the whole day without my body screaming at me. When I arrived home, I was tired from not having much sleep, but nothing hurt. I had no problem getting up and moving around or getting things done. Today I feel like I hadn't even exerted myself the day before, and it's really a thrill to be able to do more than sit in front of the TV this holiday weekend.

So on this 2nd day after Thanksgiving, I still have much to be thankful for. I'm blessed to have a great group of ladies to shop with on Black Friday, while knowing that Mom and Carol are smiling down on me. I'm thankful for their friendship, now and year-round. And I'm extremely grateful this year to everyone at Psycle and BodyWave Pilates for kicking my butt and helping me with my fitness. Because of them, and my own belief in myself, I'm enjoying the ENTIRE Thanksgiving weekend!

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