Pssst…hey you! InnerBadAss. You still in there? Why, come on out!

Last night I was reading over a few posts from my Ironman days (aka my gladiating days) and having a good laugh.  A bittersweet laugh.  It is funny to me how sure of myself cocky I am when I am training.   Full of contradictions. Confident, yet anxiety ridden.   Energetic, yet exhausted.  Bad-ass, but nicer.  The constant when I am training, however, is a sense of being grounded. Solid. Driven. Full of Purpose.

I miss her.  I want her back.  And I think she’s on her way.

I have had a few profound moments/time periods when I feel fully in touch with myself or my life makes sense.  During these times I make stuff happen.  I get shit done.  Not my usual everyday-I-do-a-lot-of-”things”…but big stuff where I end up connected & grounded.  Internal shifts. I make transformations.  And man, oh man, I could use a little of that about now.

The first was when I was rowing in college (*) and realized that I could push harder than I ever thought in pursuit of a goal and that I could believe in myself.  I could totally kick ass if I wanted too!   I was calloused, bloodied, strong and blistered.  And on the water I felt solid.    (*Note: when I was at Iowa both women and men’s crew were club sports like this.  Now the women are NCAA Div. 1 and very fancy.  We didn’t roll that way.  We paid our own way and were coached by our own.  We rowed in floods and then crashed our new shell into a bridge.  I realize this is a bit like walking in the snow uphill both ways but it’s true.  There were dead fish.  Debris.  A scary abandoned house was our boat house.  It wasn’t pretty.) It was incredible.

The second was when I realized I was queer.   Aha!  Finally, so many things made sense.  I don’t think that needs much more explanation eh?

The next was when I became a cyclist and began my love affair with my bike.  Connected. Strong. I gained confidence & direction.  Each long distance event brought me closer to myself.

Then the all-encompassing Ironman triathlons–2006 & 2008.  Oh, how I love me some IM training.  It is a sick twisted love affair.    It is intense, gritty, hard, painful, exhilarating and empowering.   To endure 6 months of training, push yourself through a 2.4 mile swim(while getting clobbered), then a 112 mile bike ride (hilly naturally) only to follow it up with a 26.2 “run” and hear the announcement  “Meg, you are an Ironman” (irony not lost) while thousands upon thousands of spectators cheer you on is just plain awesome.  Frickin’ awesome.

During IM training I feel invincible.  I can start and complete anything. I have vision, clarity and drive. I kick ass and take names.  While smiling (and sometimes skipping).

After the latest Ironman, I kind of stopped exercising.  Tired.  Spent.  The logistics alone of training for IM with a partner who is also training for said IM (while in a PhD program) and you are both working is a nightmare.  Toss in a newborn that is still breastfeeding and you are clearly nuts.

But my break is officially over.  I’m a running gal again.  I am a runner. It has been an important part of my identity for so long and I’ve hated not doing it.   I love to run.

As I re-start running, I feel more grounded with every slow, cloddy, out-of-shape step I take.  I sense glimmers of my inner bad-ass return.

On the best days I’m outside. No stroller. No music.  Just me.  My shoes.  My heavy-duty-post-pregnancy-hold-them-down-power bra.   That is all the fancy crap I need to get my power groove on.

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6 Responses to Pssst…hey you! InnerBadAss. You still in there? Why, come on out!

  1. Jennifer Jabson says:

    It was an honor to witness your inner-bad-ass in action as we trained for and completed the IM event. It radically transformed my vision of friendship, mothering, partnerships/spousal relationships and my relationship with and expectations for my body. You ARE a bad ass! :)

    I am also struck by the timing of your post. As you are re-engaging with endurance sport and it’s deeper influence in your life, I am disengaging from it. After ten years of long races, incessant training I finally feel done with it all. I reject training schedules, long runs, required workouts and the emotional and financial cost of looming race dates. It feels INCREDIBLE to be free, to workout many hours a week for the love of exercise and that exquisite feeling of being in my body while I work hard. I may never do another endurance event again, though I am transferring my love for endurance sport into volunteer efforts. I can still enjoy the energy of race day, witness the glory that is extreme effort paired with completion, and be freed from slogging through endless body aches, relentless schedules for my schedules and the dreaded GI problems.

    But, here’s to your re-starting the machine, the bad ass that is you. Cheers!

  2. Jennifer Jabson says:

    PS: watching that video gives me full body shivers….what a day it was!

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