I wrote a
Not because I had a problem with strong, but because I had a problem with the definition of strong.
I had a problem with it being defined by how we look and not what we accomplish.
Well, last Saturday was my definition of strong.
Last Saturday, 6 days after running the Army Half Marathon, I dropped one kid off across town, then drove 2 hours to my aunts house and dropped off the other 2, then drove 2.5 hours to a friend's house to stay overnight so I could run my first Tough Mudder.
I stayed up way too late talking to my friend because, well, the army moves you all over and then you see each other again but it's 9pm and you have to race the next morning. So you still stay up until midnight and get up at 5. Whatever.
After spending 15 minutes sneaking around the silent house trying not to bother anyone looking for a phone that I HAD PUT IN MY BRA, I headed out the door before 6 with an hour to kill having breakfast before I was scheduled to meet my teammates.
Except my phone stopped connecting to the network and all I knew was my teammates were meeting me at a Tim Hortons in Barrie, Ontario.
Friends, there are 10 Tim Hortons in Barrie, Ontario.
Canadians really friggin like Tim Hortons.
So after almost an hour of driving and now 5 minutes away from our Rendezvous time, I was on the side of the road, near tears thinking it was all over.
Except my final attempt to restart my phone worked at the last possible second and I was able to call my friends, find the correct Tim Hortons and grab a bagel on our way out.
And away we went.
Friends, I was crazy nervous. There was 5 of us who have only met over the past year, one couple, one set of brothers (an infantry officer and a veteran) and me.
When we got in that corral and the crazy guy from the promo videos starts with the epic music and the team pledge, I thought I might cry.
This is the kind of thing Dh was MADE for.
The race started and we all started jogging. For about a minute. Because the start is directly up a ski hill.
About 100m in there was a girl in the fetal position crying that she was done. No exaggeration. We were just walking uphill.
In fact, we walked up that ski hill 5 TIMES! For a total of about 18 km. We also trudged under netting and barbed wire, swung across monkey bars over muddy water, jumped from 15 feet up into mud water and swam out, jump through chutes, carried logs, plunged into ice water that was so cold it literally stopped your lungs from taking in oxygen, jumped/crawled/climbed/pushed over walls and mud hills and many more. Over 20 obstacles over the course.
And you know what I learned?
1. I am stronger than I think.
I hoped to get across the monkey bars maybe one or two rungs.
I got all the way across. Rung by rung.
I could have done nothing else that course, It took me 6 months of training and I got across the monkey bars.
2. Being short is both a disadvantage and advantage.
I can crawl under stuff like nobodies business.
I can't jump over things.
The ONLY way I made it over any wall was because I had a really, really fabulous team. Everest? They basically just hauled my dead weight up until I could get a leg over.
3. I am stronger than I think.
I finished Tough Mudder.
Then I immediately drove 2 hours to pick up 2 kids, then another 2 hours to pick up the other one and collapsed at home 17hours after I had started my day.
And everyone has their own goals and plans and ideas of strength that they want to accomplish.
My team and I finished this course, every obstacle, every kilometer.
I finished it, not because I don't need Dh there with me, but despite of the fact that I need him.
This was one of the many things that he have given me, the money he never complained I spent on all the races and the fitness classes when he knows he never spends a dime on himself, the time he never complained I spent away from the family on the weekend while I ran, the encouragement and the support and the drive that he gives me, every time, every day, from wherever he is.
He is my biggest fan.
I finished it because he has inspired me to give everything in me to make something happen that would be my own.
I have many more accomplishments.
I have survived deployments and childbirth and at least this far into child raising.
I have more goals.
Finishing school is a big one.
I have more priorities.
My husband and kids top that list.
But even though it may be an easy feat for some, or may seem ridiculous to others, this was something I needed to show myself I could do.
And God gave me a body to train, He gave me what I needed to train and when I thought I would have no one to do it with, He gave me a team of people who love Jesus to do it with.
How friggin cool is that.
Here's the thing.
I woke up before 5 some days to run.
I ran in -30 and I ran in +35.
I ran hills until my legs gave out.
I went to kettlebells and kickboxing and TRX.
I gave up friday night wine for early saturday long runs and weighttraining and I swear a month of planks.
Not because I had to or because I wanted to be skinny or be something that I'm not.
But because I was driven to be the best I could be at something that was my own.
I have raced in 3 half marathons, 1 10k and 2 5k races this year.
Last weekend I drove to somewhere I had never been and I did something I didn't think I could do.
And I selfishly spent money on the photos to prove it.
This picture doesn't show a 6 pack abs because I don't have those.
It doesn't show perfect legs or an amazing ass or superhuman strength cause, you guessed it, I have none of that, either.
I thought those were the things I wanted in a picture to feel like I 'made it'.
I'm also not the fastest, strongest or most hardcore.
By a LONG SHOT.
I don't win races against anyone but myself.Ever.
But I don't need all that..
Because this picture, this picture is 'it' for me.
Covered in mud with a squinty look and terrible hair, exhausted and wet and entirely not perfect.
Not because of how I look but because of what I just did.
I wanted to know what I thought 'strong' should look like if it was the 'new skinny'?
For everyone, it will look different.
Tomorrow, it will look like me NOT selling Monster to the circus.
For me, after all my work this year, today it looks like that.
If I have the opportunity, I would love to do this course with Dh sometime. He would love it and I would love to share it with him.
But for now, with him still doing his thing where he, I'm focused on school and work and kids and already life gets overwhelming and stressful and hard..
But God gave me something last weekend and it's pushing me forward.
Bring it on.