I walked into Iron Tribe, my gym, with my three year-old daughter a couple of months ago, set down my water bottle, and struck up a conversation with Phil - my favorite 12:15pm-er because he will ALWAYS engage me in some sort of "THIS IS GONNA BE AWFUL" talk, and I inevitably feel better knowing he is suffering as much as I am.
Box jumps were on that day's menu, as were burpees and some sort of "get the bar off the ground" + "hoist it over your head in any manner possible" kind of cocktail. I gave a cheesy grin to my coach as I made my way to the back, and in his usual manner, Josh quipped, "Come on, Sarah. This is gonna be fun." He is one of THOSE, y'all.
After a "quick" (#LIES) warm up, also known as A FULL ON WORKOUT TO ANY SANE INDIVIDUAL, I set up my box and bar, pulled my workout pants up over the "I've had five babies here" section of my body, and got to it. I finished somewhere near the bottom of our class (read: DEAD LAST), died DEAD on the floor, and laid there going through the list of treats I'd reward myself with for making it through another day at Tribe - because, as it turns out, I AM A DOG. Will burpee for treats.
I was laying on the ground stretching, and my daughter whispered in my ear, "Mommy, when are you gonna use a big girl box?" I looked over at my 12" box, set up next to 20" and 24" boxes and leaned into her, "You know, that IS a big girl box. It doesn't matter what KIND of box you use, just that you're using one and working hard." I love that I get to teach her this, and that she is watching her mama fight like the DICKENS to be stronger.
Today, it's been one year. ONE YEAR since I first walked through the doors of Iron Tribe. ONE YEAR since I first laced up my ratty old "tennis shoes", pulled an old pair of "lounge pants" from the bottom of my drawer, and bought my first "this actually fits me" sports bra. (Y'all. The struggle was so very real to get me there.) I walked into the gym at 6:30am on a freezing cold February 8th morning and I've now walked through that door over a hundred times since.
I suppose I could tell you my successes at Tribe - the triumphs, the PR's, and the way my body looks and feels NOW compared to how it looked and felt a year ago. But, I won't. Because like with anything we stick to, those physical successes always follow hard work and determination and resolve. But, these successes? They are absolute treasures to me. They are sacred victories - won with sweat and TEARS and a WHOLE LOT of hauling ass.
But, I will tell you this: My FAILURES this year at Iron Tribe are the things I hold as most valuable.
I've learned that my body, the ONLY one God has given me - I honor Him when I take care of it, even when it fails me. When I hustle through a workout - determined to be a stronger, healthier, BETTER physical version of myself, it's an act of worship. It's me saying to God: Thank you for giving me this body, when it can and when it can't. Thank you that I can do HARD things, and THANK YOU for the ability to try the things that seem impossibly hard.
It has been in my FAILURES that my mind and spirit have been made better and I've seen the POWER of community in pressing towards a goal.
NONE of it, not a single overhead, not one burpee, not a squat, not ONE SINGLE anything with a barbell or a mat or a box has come easy to me. But, the things that mold and change us, the things of TRUE value and worth - well, they never do. And the people who walk with us through the "Not-Easy" of life, well - THEY are the best reward in achieving our goals.
- When I drop the bar in frustration, Ashley gives me that knowing look from across the room and says, "We got this, Sar. We got it."
- When I'm 200 meters from finishing a wretched, horrible, awful row, Chad walks over (because LORD KNOWS he finished LONG ago) and says, "YOU WILL FINISH THIS. Come on."
- And when the hot tears are falling, because there's just not enough time left to do TWENTY more burpees, Jason (my SWEET, and VERY fit husband) leans in and whispers, "I could NOT be more proud of you."
And, when my tiny girl asks me when I'm gonna use a "big girl box", I can look down the row at all the boxes, see mine sitting there amongst them, teach her that it's all in the TRY, and know that because of the PEOPLE jumping on those bigger boxes, I'm better and stronger.
So here I am - one year after walking through the doors of Iron Tribe and DECIDING to trade the sofa for sit-ups and packs of Oreos for a six-pack. (BAH HAHAHA! Just kidding. Still rocking some sort of, I don't know, bowl of vanilla pudding in the midsection over here.) You won't see me competing in the CrossFit Games or running a marathon or going all pre-Gov Arnold on the world.
BUT. Carrying in those grocery bags sure is easier, and squatting down to kiss the sweaty foreheads of my kids ain't so bad anymore. Man, that is REWARD that changed my life.
Honoring God with my body, pressing on when it's IMPOSSIBLY hard, teaching my only daughter that being strong is WORTH THE FIGHT, and celebrating victory and defeat with a community of THE BEST kind of people.
Well... that's #whyitribe.