Sunday, June 24, 2012

Forgiving being myself

Yesterday was a bit of a fitness milestone for me.

For a girl that, according to my June account statement, visited the gym 9 times in the first 8 days in the month, that's saying something.

It wasn't a personal record, no, that was about 3 weeks ago (repping 410lbs on the leg press, thank you!). It wasn't even anything that was physically so totally incredible: It was a Mindset-Shaking-Moment of the This Shit Will Change My Life calibre.

 I love fitness. When I miss a workout or am too rushed to put in the work I want, I feel anxious and worried. Some of you read that and see me in pictures on Facebook or at Target on Sundays and you're saying, yeah, okay Megan, sure.

And you know what? Screw you and your judgment.

When I was six years old, I sat on the scale at my Grandma's house and cried because I thought I was fat. It was spring break and I was wearing a sun dress with that waffley, stretchy and supposed to be fitted top piece that little girl's sundresses often have. The picture of the exact dress and day is at my parent's house and it reduces me to tears everytime I look at how I'm trying to hide the body I already hated behind my mom's arms.

Nothing on me was fat. Not even little kid chubby. My heart breaks for that little girl- trapped by herself within herself for so, so long.

For the next 18 years, I felt bad about myself. I was taller than my teachers and the boys, bigger than my naturally thin girlfriends. It felt like I was not only the oddball, but I was somehow wrong; wrong for not finding some magical way to change who and what I was. Everyday was tears or frustration or turning down invites to prom because I thought I was too fat to wear a fancy dress in front of my peers.

Paralyzing fear and sadness.

Then I met the man in my life. No, not Chris, but that dreadful sludge dwelling ex of mine. Given the impending wedding, I bought a Mack truck ton of personal training sessions and told the head of the department to match me up with a male trainer because I cannot get along with women. What I really meant was I'm so insecure that being around women that are thinner or prettier would make me too self conscious to function. When asked three times what my goals were and what I wanted out of a trainer, I simply said I wanted to be skinny.

It was a short sighted and shallow goal.

The breakup came and so did that infamous workout: the crying on the step up machine moment when Trainer Tim said the next 50 minutes would be a gut check, that the two things in life you'll never regret are going to church and a great workout.

No one has cheered louder for me than Trainer Tim. When boys have heard about my love of strength training and said "don't get all gross and myscley like a dude" and others have made comments about  being "a dyke" or suggested that lots and lots of running and fewer deadlifts would make me smaller, he's there with the next heavier weight on the rack and a big old fuck 'em.

Yesterday was a delectable little athletic morsel called Alpha. Not the Olympics, but certainly a mountain of physical torture that most would be unwilling to try. It's the culmination of what our workouts are: rope whipping and kettlebells, rowing and snatches and log jumping followed by fun filled incline runs with commando crawls. And when those aren't enough of a party, get down, get up, clap your hands and repeat 39 more times.

Burpees are acrylic nailes filed to a point screeching down a chalkboard.

People quit. People were disqualified. People left the course in the back of ambulances. Most did not finish.

The deets of the day are moot. But the waters were not smooth. I came mentally and physically amped up for my 9:15 start time only to find my number and name on the registration, but somehow missing from the schedule. It was nearly three hours before my toes were finally at the starting line. Any competitor can sympathize with how the wait squashed my initial adrenaline and my mental focus and enthusiasm fizzled. There were silly mistakes along the way- mistakes that arise from mental laziness more so than physical failure. They were mistakes that kept me from the leader board that I KNOW I should have been on.

Those are the thoughts I'm trying to not harp on. They are the negative thoughts that bring me down and create self doubt in exactly those Gut Check type of moments. Rather than feel bad for the not so glittering moments, they are going to be exactly what propels me to keep training, keep trying, and keep focused. I finished Alpha on my own two feet knowing I could've done better and that sucks a little. At the same time, I know I could've done better at something 99.9% of people could not do at all.

I suppose the beauty of not winning is that I didn't win. If youre already at the top, what's left? Stay there or come down.

I get to keep digging, keep reaching, keep seeking the height of how high I can take myself and that is an absolutely thrilling rush.

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