I started working out in 1995 after a few years of cigarettes, all day pizza fests and keg beer had taken its toll on my 19 year old body. I will never forget the day I was truly ashamed of how bad I had allowed it to get. My roommate and I decided to go hiking with some guy friends that were avid bikers and rock climbers and it ended up being one of the most miserable days of my life. I remember one guy actually going up and down the hill (aka Mt Everest) and constantly cheering us on as he RAN past us up to the top and back down again. I also remember the pathetic looks from some of the other guys as they not so patiently waited for us throughout the hike. I remember that hike being at least 10 miles and about 4 hours to get to the top. Pretty sure it was 4 hours… and probably less than a mile.
The reality was that I was overweight and miserable and those two always seemed to go hand in hand for me. I wasn’t comfortable because of what I looked like and I also felt gross because I wasn’t physically capable of doing much more than “hiking” to my next class.
Over the next few years I began a quest to get healthy, I cut down on my smoking and picked up running. I lost weight and had more energy and was beginning take pride in what was me.
Fast forward 3 years… I had lost about 40 pounds and nearly quit smoking. Life was better. I was living in Colorado, snowboarding slightly competitively and hiking the mountains in the summers. I was finally finding me.
And then I found my Marine… Yup, I started dating a newly commissioned “balls to the wall, go hard or go home, your mind is weaker than your body” Devil Dog. Life was about to change drastically.
I remember those first few months of dating being mostly about running around his college campus and making our own “E” (endurance) courses. Intimate moments consisted of him holding my feet doing pull-ups and refusing to let go despite me screaming that I was going to fall on my face. We also had some great times when he would press on my back as I attempted as many military pushups as possible. We were quite the couple, I guess you can say I have him to thank for my training personality today.
We got married and I began my career as a military wife in beautiful Hawaii. Life was GREAT, I had gotten certified as a personal trainer and was learning the ropes at the local 24 hour Fitness. I started running triathlons and was beginning to learn that a healthy diet had to be a part of my life if I wanted to see the results I worked so hard for.
Something interesting was going on at this time that I had no understanding of… I was being trained by MARINES… my whole basis for fitness and health was molded in the gym of a Marine Corps base and on an island where Ironman Triathletes were a dime a dozen. I worked out with mostly guys, and a few amazingly fit women. I dreamt about a body that could do pushups for any drill instructor and could look amazing doing those upside down crunches like G I Jane did.
Tough girls come in all shapes and sizes and it doesn’t matter how they do it. Tough girls run marathons with blisters, surf in man-o-war infested waters, climb rock with taped and torn hands and pose on stage for bodybuilding contests after weeks of hard work and extreme
dieting. Tough girls wear 4 inch heels at 8 hour jobs and can blow snot rockets in the wind without making a mess…
|Yup, feeling like a BAD ASS|
I consider myself a tough girl in training. I have never run a marathon and I cried when I got stung by a man-o-war. I am signed up for my first Tough Mudder this year and am pretty sure I will cry at least twice during the race. I am sure there is a t shirt somewhere that says “There’s no crying in a Tough Mudder!” but hey, I am trying.
We all work out for our own reasons: Part of getting your butt into the gym is finding your own motivation and no one has the right to judge why you do what you do. I have learned not to question the motivations or goals of my clients. Beauty is a personal definition. The important part is that you can find healthiness and happiness and that it will be “enough”. Because no matter how hard or tough we think we are… there is always someone out there that can out lift, out run, out skinny or out tough us… It’s the truth. For every amazing athlete of our time there is someone that did it just a little sooner or a little better or chose not to do it at all. It is what makes competition so darn addictive.
I had great role models in my early years of training, a good body and a strong body have always gone hand in hand and I thank being married the Marine Corps for that.
I got up early this morning and am waiting for the sun to rise so I can go run… That mud race deadline in a few months is already looming over me and I know I need to train hard to get to where I need to be. I hope it is warm on race day!