Posts tagged never say never
Posts tagged never say never
“Additional details not forthcoming, as always, but we will tell you that the start point has been chosen. You’ll meet your Cadre at Montrose Park, R St. and 31st St NW, Washington, DC.”
The countdown began last Friday… GORUCK is finally here.
As I read my parents part of the “waiver” while they were visiting last weekend, my mom looked at me sternly and said, “are you nuts!?!”
Then my dad, former military, laughed and retorted, “Sarah babe, you’ll be just fine.”
I’d been running and walking with the bricks since April. It is almost like they have become part of my identity… and if I wasn’t ready now, I’d probably never be. 31 and I’m paying to put myself through hell and back. Okay, I might be nuts.
I have to admit that getting the email with our start location made my stomach flip-flop for a second… the momentary flash of self-doubt crept in… what if I have to use the $20 I pack to go home? What would I say to everyone who’s been asking me about this ‘race’ for months? Stop.
It’s sometimes hard to imagine that the bubbly blond girl in the skirt and sandals that I am at the office has a completely different life at night. CrossFit? Trail Running? Challenges where I’m surrounded by military special forces? I guess I’m constantly looking for the next adventure… trying to prove something, achieve something… I’ve raced through the night before and I’ve proven myself to myself time and time again. I can do this. I keep trying to remember that this is nothing different, but in some ways it is. It’s a long ass grinder of a MetCon, through the dark, with a pack full of bricks and a bunch of people I’ve never met. It’s a test of survival.
I’m glad that I’ll be surrounded by a small crew of friends. If worse comes to worst we’ll pull each other through… and it’ll make us, or break us. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Tonight, we meet up for our last cram session with the bricks… part of me is relieved that those four little bubble wrapped packages will become a memento on Saturday. Then I pack. Hydrate. Pray for no rain. And envision my beer at the finish.
This will be one crazy adventure… perhaps even life changing.
Am I ready? Yes! Because…to be honest,
“I don’t want to die without any scars.”
- Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
Coming back from vacation has been a bumpy ride. Mountain views, fresh air, packed powder and freedom were immediately traded for florescent lights, a crowded commute, hours of emails and an uncomfortable office chair. I was thrust back into a world of work - struggling to find balance… stuck staring at my computer monitor and leaving my evening destiny in the palm of situations that were beyond my control… the phrase “live the life you’ve imagined” ran over and over again through my head as the sun set on the city. Is this it? The life I imagined?
I trudged home in the dark leaving a small trail of tears in my wake… Frustrated. Stuck. Feeling defeated. Living in DC can be tough – you can easily lose yourself in the day-to-day hustle, a sort of type-A rat race that isn’t always suited for people who crave the great outdoors and fresh air. The thought of giving it all up crossed my mind. What would happen if I just stopped? Gave away all my race bibs… spent the weekends drinking instead of sweating… poured myself into work rather than workouts. Would that be living as if this is all there is? I felt like I was calling my whole world into question, but at that exact moment I was only considering a few cold and gloomy facts: Quitting would eliminate the stress of running from work to gym. Quitting would eliminate stress. Quitting would be cheaper. I unbolted my apartment and walked directly to my bedroom – slumping face first into my comforter. It’d be easier to give up, curl up on the couch. Zone out. Let TV consume me. Order take-out.
I tried to reminding myself that I’d feel better if I ran… that quitting wasn’t a word in my vocabulary and that quitting wasn’t really want I wanted, but I found myself hitting a million roadblocks: The route is boring. It’s dark. I’m tired. Between all the excuses, I coaxed myself into my running shoes, pulled on my headlamp… Maybe it was half due to the encouragement and tough love texts from my friends… Maybe it was because I felt accountable to my 366 days of finding fit… I was fighting myself all the way out the front door… Sarah, just go… I knew that the world would look approachable in an hour, once I’d flipped my outlook and worked through my personal rubrics cube.
My feet found a rhythm… candy pop blasted my brain… the circular glow from the headlamp danced along the sidewalk… I disappeared into the dark. Melted the madness… Part of me found freedom, part of me punished the pavement for every second of frustration and self-doubt. Proving myself to myself – no races, no winning, no judgment.
As the miles ticked, I thought through the journey… recollected the hard I’d already encountered. I assured myself that the world is changeable and that even overachievers have bad days… Tomorrow would be a fresh slate. After this weekend the sunlight would last longer. Summer fun was coming. I sometimes forget that I’m just a DC-PR girl with some running shoes, an antique blackberry and some sort of drive to build a better me… one foot in front of the other. Awesome takes practice. My monologue a sort of positive yogi mantra… another soul searching session with the stars… fitness therapy.
Accountability is easy when people remind you to come to the gym, or peer-pressure you into signing up for races. Doing it on your own is the test. Persevering. Not letting go of my outlook, despite how crappy the day. I could have easily admit defeat, but instead along the lonely yet traffic-filled streets of Arlington, I played Frogger with the cars… Held myself to a higher standard. I ran through my New Years intentions in my head: Push, Believe in Change, Grow, Sweat… Tonight instead of being in a gym surrounded by my friends, I was alone… answering to myself instead of a white board and that was more important than anything else. I was proud of myself for not giving in.
Around mile five I began the steady climb back home. The full moon illuminated the busy basketball court and made the bare trees look almost haunted. I finally felt myself really breathe… then smile… the real Sarah was back. As I stretched breathlessly in the driveway, I watched the steam rise above my head. I’d given it everything I had left and it felt as if I’d pressed the reset button. The world didn’t end, I’d fit in fit, and in-between strides, I echoed my friends comments, reminding myself that the moments of hard are what make things great. Courage is key. The life I’ve imagined is mine to create. So many adventures. So many possibilities. I’d just come back from being on top of the world… while at the moment it might not seem it, everything was achievable. But tonight, the next exploit… a hot shower.
While staring at the mat, sweat running through my eyes, I realized the power of my body.
In between contorting myself into a pretzel, then a tree, then an upside down dog, I could feel my abs engaging, my arms pushing, the strength in my legs supporting my torso, the depth of my breath. I relished the fact that I could hold the half push-up and reach all the way to my toes. Thankful that I shook off the sleepies and got off the couch, I was glad that I challenged myself to step into the balmy room with new people and embrace something different.
Breath in, then out, then in, then out… the heat making the room thick but welcoming. Everyone working on themselves, but also powering the group and feeding off each other’s energy. I could feel myself squeezing out every ounce of toxicity and negativity – leaving it behind, allowing everything to slip away. Loving myself rather than letting doubt or regret creep in. So unlike the moments in the gym or pounding pavement when the thought strikes, “did I work hard enough today?” No judgment. There was no finding perfect, just power. My mind zeroed in on the wall, laser focus, feeling my muscles drive me through poses, rather than drifting to work or stress or the upcoming weeks. For an hour and a half I was living in the here and now. Listening and acting, agreeing, obeying, falling into a rhythm, finding a sort of submission to the practice.
A random om, ohhh, growl and gerr surged from the group. I almost laughed out loud at first and felt reserved in sighing out my own emotions. But as I dropped my jaw and released the tension of my face, I half-enjoyed the environment of no inhibitions – accepting people as they were. Sounds of surrender, the unleashing of tension. Everyone being consumed by the heat of the room. Everyone finding a balance. Everyone dissolving into the moment. No intrusions. No outside thoughts. Just, “this is my body as it is now.”
After shaking off the meditative state and soaked with sweat, I made my way into the cool air of the night. Cleansed and slightly sore, my mind was drunk with calmness. (A new feeling for me.)
Thank you friends for this prescription! A healthy new drug to help power my body and sharpen my sense of self. I love this! Power yoga, I will return to you.
So, I’ve decided to write a blog… a blog that is completely different from my day job of managing communications, social media and brands for other people and causes. This blog is for me! I‘m not exactly sure what it will become yet, but my hope is to keep a living list of my fitness adventures. A sort of online affirmation that I can do it. And if I can do it, anyone can. I’m a former rugby player turned adventure “runner”, who moonlights as a floor hockey all-star a few nights a week. Since as far back as I can remember, fitness has always been a personal challenge. There are times throughout my life when I didn’t think my 5’2”, somewhat stocky frame was representative of my fitness level, or to be brutally honest, the BMI score I was given by my physician. I’ve ridden the roller coaster of weight, diet and body image since high school, but as I approach my 30’s, I feel like I am finally hitting my stride. I finally feel comfortable in my own skin. Friends often comment on my limitless hours activity - from nightly dates with “gym” to my recent completion of P90X and INSANITY to races and weekend trail runs… Live is an adventure and I’m always striving for the next way to push myself and my body to new limits. It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave, right? I don’t look like the typical gym rat or runner, a small tank if you will, but I am determined to power through anything I decide to take on and I’m usually on a mini-mission to prove something to myself. These days, I find that I’m trying to do all that and a bag of chips, well no, not a bag of chips - maybe a box of Triscuits and some hummus or peanut butter, but overall, I’m striving to find my own balance between fitness and freedom.
So, I’ve decided to write a blog… a blog that is completely different from my day job of managing communications, social media and brands for other people and causes. This blog is for me!
I‘m not exactly sure what it will become yet, but my hope is to keep a living list of my fitness adventures. A sort of online affirmation that I can do it. And if I can do it, anyone can. I’m a former rugby player turned adventure “runner”, who moonlights as a floor hockey all-star a few nights a week. Since as far back as I can remember, fitness has always been a personal challenge. There are times throughout my life when I didn’t think my 5’2”, somewhat stocky frame was representative of my fitness level, or to be brutally honest, the BMI score I was given by my physician. I’ve ridden the roller coaster of weight, diet and body image since high school, but as I approach my 30’s, I feel like I am finally hitting my stride. I finally feel comfortable in my own skin.
Friends often comment on my limitless hours activity - from nightly dates with “gym” to my recent completion of P90X and INSANITY to races and weekend trail runs… Live is an adventure and I’m always striving for the next way to push myself and my body to new limits. It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave, right? I don’t look like the typical gym rat or runner, a small tank if you will, but I am determined to power through anything I decide to take on and I’m usually on a mini-mission to prove something to myself. These days, I find that I’m trying to do all that and a bag of chips, well no, not a bag of chips - maybe a box of Triscuits and some hummus or peanut butter, but overall, I’m striving to find my own balance between fitness and freedom.
I spent the past six months preparing for a little known race called the Ragnar Relay. Something that I’d never in a million years thought I would accomplish, but 200 miles, 24 hours (well 36 hours), 12 friends, 2 vans, and 1 ridiculous outstanding adventure later, I’ve managed to run from Cumberland, MD to National Harbor and sign myself up for my next set of adventures in the process. I promise to come back and write more about team Got The Runs? and our Ragnar experience, because it elevated me to an entirely new level of fitness and self understanding. And… it gave me a bigger and better high than almost anything I’ve experienced before.
At the end of the day, this blog will be an outlet (beyond Facebook) to chronicle my adventures as well as offer a small window into the monologue of my mind for those who choose to read it. Along the way, I plan to learn more about myself and the strength that I’ve discovered I have. Recipe for disaster = 1 part fitness, 1 part food diary, 3 parts humor, and a pinch of chutzpa. I mean, could holding myself accountable by authoring a blog help me finally attain the unattainable 6 pack abs I desire? Never say never!
Now to tackle some of the adventures on my bucket list! We only get one life and one body and I’m out to use it as much as possible! Are you with me?