Three weeks. That’s how long I went without a workout, without any physical activity of any kind. Two weeks of inactivity were mandated by the doctor to heal up from the cellulitis. The next week, a head cold was all the excuse I needed to extend my break. It doesn’t take much to convince me to continue being lazy. (An object at rest will stay at rest until acted upon by an outside force, right? Isn’t that one of those physics rules?)

I would have stayed glued to the sofa except for one thing: a goat.

Last year, we started raising meat goats. Each Spring, we purchase a few of the “surplus” males that don’t fit into a local farmer’s management plan, grow them all summer, and then turn them into locally-grown, humanely-treated, and tasty meat to nourish our family. One of this year’s goats (Vincent van Goat – for real, that’s his name!) is training to be an escape artist. He’s also stubborn. Most goats are stubborn, but van Goat is studying to be the stubborn goat by which all stubborn goats are measured for now and eternity – and he’s a good student!

Van Goat got loose from me one afternoon and enjoyed making me scramble to grab ahold of him. You’ve seen those games at the county fair where somebody is set loose to try and catch a greased pig? That would be a cake walk compared to snagging this goat. Goats have a really wide field of vision which makes them hard to sneak up on, and they define the word nimble. With some world-class footwork, a bit of trickery, and a whole lot of dumb luck, I managed to scoop this rascally goat up. As I carried him back to the barn, he struggled a bit by waving his head around and I got whacked in the face. If you’ve forgotten, goats have really thick skulls that are used primarily for head-butting other goats and just about anything else they don’t like (like fences or stall doors). It hurts to take a shot from a goat.

A few days later, van Goat escaped again. I just about had him penned when he jumped away real quick. I grabbed a hind leg and pulled him towards me. Now, if any of y’all is looking for a life-lesson, here it is: When dealing with goats, always control the head. It’s like grabbing a snake – control the head to keep them from being able to bite you. You grab a snake’s tail and it’s going to turn around and sink it’s fangs into your arm. Grab a goat’s back leg, and he’s going to whip around or arch his back and use his head as a battering ram. Somehow, van Goat’s horns missed doing any damage (thank God), but he got me square in the face. My nose was stinging, lip was busted open, and my jaw was a little sideways. He rang my bell good.

I don’t know how getting hit in the face affects you, but it makes me mad. After the second time he hit me in four days, I wanted to slaughter that goat and put him in the freezer early. Luckily, after a few minutes of seeing red, I managed to cool down and reflect a little more calmly on the lesson to be had.

I kinda knew that, if I was going to be wrestling goats on a regular basis this summer, I needed to get back to working out and getting stronger. Even though these three little guys are only about thirty pounds each right now, they’re pretty sturdy. And wriggly. Being strong enough to bull them around and convince them to do my will was going to take getting back to regular workouts.

Getting myself back to workouts – that’s no problem. I’m on the LHRL app, and there’s a whole slew of programs to follow. You want to train for a 50-miler? There’s a program. Interested in body weight exercises so that you can continue your fitness training in your hotel room while on vacation? They’re on the app. I needed to get back to moving and working on my conditioning, so I jumped in with the WODs.

I’d never done a CrossFit-style workout before. It took just about a week of reading through the workouts and deciphering the acronyms to start figuring out what I was supposed to be doing. The concept was not foreign to me: move heavy stuff quickly. I’ve been more of a traditional, plenty of rest between sets type of lifter, with steady-state cardio thrown in after. This WOD stuff seemed a little complicated compared to that, but I finally matched a day with a workout that I thought I could handle and jumped into it.

Y’all, I got my bell rung. This time by a workout. It seemed like a simple enough thing: twelve snatches followed by fifty air squats. Do that for three rounds and finish with a short cardio session. By the end of the first set of snatches, I was sucking wind so much that I could barely do the squats. I managed to grind through the entire thing, but it took forever! I wanted to blame my poor performance on those three weeks of inactivity…the reality is that I just need to step up my training. Why are my run times so slow? Why do I live at the back of the pack in every race? What’s with the lack of oxygen making me insist on walking all uphills? Getting my bell rung by a workout helped reveal the cold, hard truth – I’m just not regularly putting in the effort needed. Making steady progress in the weight rack seems easy, even fun. When it comes to cardio, I’ve been saying, “No Thanks” for too long.

Just like with the goat, I needed a good bell-ringing to make me wake up and pay attention to doing things right. Getting nailed by an ornery goat was a wake up call. Having my ass handed to me by that WOD was a wake up call. I knew what I was supposed to be doing (pushing the cardio/conditioning). The head knowledge was there, I just needed to do it. Time to get back at it.

I’m sure that most of y’all are out there crushing your workouts and reaching for your fitness goals.

I’m hoping that not too many of you are sitting out there…knowing what you should be doing, but kinda slacking off and letting it slide.

I hope you’re not needing a wake up call.

I hope you’re not waiting for your bell to be rung….

Don’t make me send a goat.