Thursday, April 7, 2011

...wHy DO i tRaiN?...

I was the parking lot of the gym...doing my favorite thing to do...sweating, flipping the big tire, swinging the sledge hammer, a nutshell, I was suffering through a long, grinding workout outside filled with a lot of hard work. I noticed a roofing guy that had pulled up at the building next to us, noticing me and watching what I was doing. That's normal. People are curious. Sometimes they slow down and stare as they drive by. It's understandable. It's different from what most people do.

I have always been the kind of person that does not like people to talk to me when I'm in pain or concentrating or working out really hard by myself. I do things to discourage it, like not making eye contact and wearing headphones with loud music blaring. Ever so often, someone will be oblivious to these imaginary wall if you will...and talk to me. Such was the case today.

I was struggling with the tire and saw the two guys up on the roof at the edge wanting to engage. I ignored them. Finally one started to wave his hands and yell. "Damn! What the hell dude?!?! I guess I better see what this guy wants so I can get back to my workout!" That was the thought in my head. Outwardly, I took my headphones off, looked up with a fake smile, and had a short conversation that went a little something like this:

Roof guy: Hey! I've been watching you and you look like you're workin real hard.

Me: (courtesy laugh) Yes, I am.

Roof guy: What are you training for?

Me: Uhhh...nothing in particular. I'm just working out...trying to stay strong and fit.

Roof guy: (with a completely perplexed look) Oh...okay.

He proceeded to ask me questions about the gym and then warn me that I may want to move, because they were about to power wash the roof and didn't want to spray me with all the crap up on the roof. I told him about Crossfit and what we do at our gym and then thanked him for warning me and moved my stuff to the back lawn.

When I was done with my workout, I got into my car and headed towards home. My back was tired and sore. My sweat was getting on my leather seats making it uncomfortable. I was hungry and had a slight headache. I was tired, but felt good about what I had accomplished. As I drove, I replayed the conversation in my mind. I then asked MYSELF..."What AM I training for? Why do I do what I do? Because if the only reason I do it is to look good or fit in a small pair of jeans, there are easier ways to accomplish that." It only took the 10 min drive home for me to compile a list in my head that was much more in depth than the answer I gave the roofing guy. Some reasons are fluffy and some are serious, but they are all what motivates me.

THIS is why/what I'm training for...

I'm training because it makes me strong...physically AND mentally. It makes me tough and gives me the ability to face any struggle that comes my way. Sometimes, like today, I start a workout and think "There's no way I can finish this!" but I do and it has taught me that nothing is too hard. I may not get through it as quick as I'd like...but I WILL get through it if I don't give up. I guarantee you that if you were in a flood and needed someone to stack sandbags'd want ME on your "team".
I'm training so that when people ask my age and I tell them, they continue to say "No way! You can't be 41!" It's my "fountain of youth".

I'm training to set an example for my kids. I want to teach them the importance of being strong and capable...not just with words, but through my actions as well. I want to show them that sometimes, you have to take time out for yourself so that you have something better to offer the people you love. I train to show them that it's important to love yourself and take care of your body.
I train because I'm addicted to the adrenaline and the sweat and the struggle and the accomplishment in the end. It is my drug of choice. I crave it and it always makes me feel good.
I train to prove that anyone can be strong and to show other women that they too can accomplish things they never thought they could. I'm not a former athlete. I was not blessed with natural athletic talent. I was however blessed with a spirit that can't be broken and a will to press forward. If I can do it...ANYONE can.

I train because it teaches me things about myself...both good and bad. It highlights my strengths and exposes my weaknesses. I will never be a world champion at anything, but it gives me the opportunity to improve myself become the best possible version of myself.
It's sad to me that some people haven't learned the lessons that I have by experiencing the things that I have experienced in the gym. I wish that everyone knew the feeling of power that I feel when I squat or lift or press more weight than I thought I could or than I did the week before. I wish that everyone could feel the joy and accomplishment and pride that I feel when I finish a particularly hard workout. I wish that everyone knew just how much potential we each have within us all.

I would encourage anyone that reads this to sit and think about WHAT you are training for. Share it with people around you. You never know, you may lead someone else to make discoveries about themselves they never would have. Today was not the first time I've been asked "What are you training for?", but today was the first day that I really stopped to think about it. I wish I had given better answers today, but that's okay, because next time I'm asked that question...I'll be ready.


  1. <3 your words.. they speak for alot of us moms out there! Thanks Marsha!

  2. People ask me why do you do it when it's so hard for you, when you can barely breathe through some 8 minute workouts let alone the own fellow CrossFitters still sometimes ask if I'm ok.........because I CAN. Because I have the mentality......and like you, because I'm addicted. It's only been 12+ weeks but I Am's making me the best version of myself that I can be too.

  3. Thanks Amy!!! :)

    Kerniec~ That's awesome! I've been doing it for 4+ years and I love it as much as I did the day I started!

  4. I love this, Marsha. I've had a week of awfulness: work stress, two-jobs stress, a relative diagnosed with lung cancer, and worst of all, the suicide of my boss's 13-year-old son. Simply a terrible, horrible, impossible week. The two brightest spots have been the two hours with my personal trainer; I was able to leave these problems behind on a shelf, move a whole bunch of iron, focus on getting stronger, and give my brain some respite. I just returned from a session and I feel like a different person: refreshed, stronger, better equipped to handle the world. It's an amazing change.

  5. Another great blog. Your thoughts are always inspiring and always ring true to my heart. Keep up the great work.

  6. I sat down to write "Why I train" without reading your blog first. I too put down "drug of choice", the exact words. It is the best thing physically and mentally I have ever done!

  7. I train because every time I walk into the gym, I know I am going to do the hardest thing I have ever had to do physically and no matter what my time, reps or whatever, I DID IT!! The feeling is Euphoric and makes me think I can do anything. Even when I think I can't do it (like tonight), I walk up to the bar and do it! I also train to be a better me!! I am addicted to improving and being a better me!! Thank you for your words AND example of encouragement!

  8. great post - great blog! thanks for sharing the enthusiasm!