So the past week, two weeks, three…four? I dunno I’ve lost count; a friend on facebook has been randomly posting: know your why.
Because I fucking want to.
Or so I thought.
I have not been running much the past year. Before that I ran to live, literally. A bad marriage, a bad job. I literally ran to live and loved to hate the run. At my lowest weight I was 155 pounds at 27 years old and running average 5 miles a day in Arkansas heat. At my heaviest running, I was 170 pounds and I thought I was fat. But. But my god the sense of freedom and clarity I felt during those runs. Some thing hurt? Run harder. Some thing made me want to cry, run farther, faster until the pain stopped.
So five weeks ago I started running again -no. This is not going to over take my strongman training. I have a FIT test coming in the next 15-60 days, which includes a 1.5 mile run. Anyway. Last week I wasn’t able to run, I was still coughing too much having been sick the four-five days before. Monday’s work schedule ended up scrapping any training. So Tuesday morning back on it.
Half a mile into my sprint drills it hit me again.
Why I did this.
I use to do a lot of trail running. The trail was a mile and a quarter loop, which I use to do several times. The hills, branches, sand, fallen trees, all of it; I loved every bit of it. The smell of a spring run, the crunch of fall leave under my feet. Even the crisp bite of a fresh snow fall. I would plug in my earbuds and just go. Whatever music I was listening to, I was lost to my own thoughts and the rhythm in my ears. I would see my problems clear as day, I would envision moving through whatever they were and see myself standing tall on the other side. Some runs I would envision an entirely different life…. Looking back, I chuckle because maybe things didn’t turn out exactly as I would imagine them during those runs but they are pretty damn close. Now trapped on that treadmill and starting to run again I realized how much it had meant to me in the past. Yet in the past few years, it somehow slipped away.
I run to all kinds of music. It just depends. On this run, it was 80s music. Jon Parr’s Man in Motion started playing.
Growin’ up, you don’t see the writing on the wall
Passin’ by, movin’ straight ahead, you knew it all
But maybe sometime if you feel the pain
You’ll find you’re all alone, everything has changed
Suddenly it is 1985 and I’m six years old again running around the downtown Jacksonville Florida performance hall. Giggles and little girl laughter as I ran around with my ballet class before our recital. Wearing a purple leotard with pink and purple mesh tutu. I remember my mom fussing with my makeup and taking tons of pictures. 1985. It would be my only ballet recital. The following year I broke my left arm on the monkey bars at school and I never saw another dance or gymnastics class.
In 1985 my mother was younger than I am now, married with four kids. I’m two years older, divorced with one child. I often wondered if she gave up her dreams for us. Some days when she asks about how work is, how strongman training is going or even looks at my tattoos….. I see it. I first saw it in her eyes when I joined the Army, again after I graduated Airborne school. I just didn’t recognize it then. She did, she surrendered something. She says she wouldn’t trade a moment of raising four kids but I can’t help but wonder what it is, that she keeps secretly locked away, that she wishes she had done.
My mother raised her three daughters to be fierce. To be strong. To be bold. To be brave. But above all else to know that no matter what, we could always come home and rest our head under her roof.
Burning up, don’t know just how far that I can go
(Just how far I go)
Soon be home, only just a few miles down the road
I can make it, I know, I can
You broke the boy in me but you won’t break the man
This weekend my mom is moving. She’s been stuck in Michigan since late 1989 when my family moved from Jacksonville Beach, Florida to Michigan. All four of her children have grown and left. Her husband divorced her. Now it’s her turn. Yet, I don’t want her to go. I know I’m being selfish. This is her turn.
….and just like that my run is over. The memory slips back into the faded depths and the realization I need to let her go is almost crushing.
So why do I do it? Because my amazing mother taught me to never settle, to never believe my best years or the greats days were high school. (laughing) In fact she told me the very opposite. High school is the worst only slightly beaten out by junior high years. They are horrible awkward teen age years and they will pass. She taught me to never settle for what other people believed I was capable of, to always strive for more. But do to everything with passion.
Now training for my second United States Strongman Nationals (June 11th in Lexington, Kentucky), I don’t always love it… Training can suck. There are good days and there are bad days. Some times the bad days or frustration seems more frequent than the good days.
A recent conversation with fellow strongwoman and current super heavyweight champion Vivian Nguyen put my mind to ease. We’re both battle the stress of a bigger competition and letting our thoughts get the better of us some days.
You can find Vivian’s blog here: The Haphazard Romance
During my text messages with Vivian I went looking for an article I had read from 10/20/Life. I couldn’t find it, but I came across another…. Strength training isn’t always fun -10/20/Life God if that didn’t hit it spot on!!
Having anything worth pushing for is not going to always be fun. Remember that and if someone tells you it’s all been such a fun process all of the time – question their sanity
Viv made the comment that some days she looks at training as her second job…and that is exactly it. I know my coach would say, “this isn’t your job.” However, getting my mind set and read to train, it is like a job. It is like mentally preparing myself to go to work. I don’t always want to go train. I’m not in the mood. I’m tired. It was a long day at work. I have other things on my mind…work, personal life, whatever. Some days there are a thousand other places I would rather be than walking into the gym to train. But here I go and I’m damn well going to put every bit I have in me, into the day. Do I love it? Not every day. Hell there are some weeks I hate it…like last week and coming off being sick. Some days are better than others, but in the end, halfway into a competition I am enthralled with every bit of it.
Guess I never gave up my dream of wearing a tutu and performing….. It’s just a little different at 36 than I saw it at six years old.
Thank you momma. I love you so much.
-Inked Amazon Warrior