I had a workout at CrossFit this morning and despite a torn meniscus in my knee, I landed my first Double-Unders (carefully).
For those who don’t know, that’s just a fancy way of saying “jump rope” with the rope passing two times under the feet in one jump. While it wasn’t pretty–it was. And that’s something. #AmIRight
So I took my sweaty self to the gym afterwards to do my mandatory time on the stairmill, as I’m on running restriction.
As I walked to the locker room, these two older-than-me (but not old) gentleman stopped me. One, wearing a red shirt said, “What’s your sport, girl?”
I said, “Huh?” pulling my headphones out of my ears.
“What’s your sport, girl?”
The other man said, in a clarifying way, “What sport do you do?”
—-Now, I want to pause there.
I want to take a long, deep breath and pause… right there—
For those of you who have been playing along with Swim Bike Mom at home for the past-almost-eight years, you know that when I began to dip into this sport, I joined a gym. This was back in 2009, and it was part of my beginning.
At at the famous “lunch and learn” where I joined the first gym of my adult life, the CFO of my-then law firm said, “If you want, Meredith, I can show you around the gym. You know, teach you how to workout.” (We would now call that workout-mainsplaining, by the way. 🙂 )
And subsequently, my head had exploded a million times. I had been an athlete. I had been one.
Because it was suddenly apparent (to me, and that CFO guy in 2009) that I looked like someone who had never ever ever stepped into a gym in my life.
That was me in 2009.
TODAY, people. Today, someone came up to me and not only assumed I worked out, but they freaking asked me:
“What’s Your Sport, GIRL?”
In response, I stood up a little straighter.
And I said, like I was reciting the most important speech of my life: “I have three sports. I swim, I bike and I run. I put them all together in a race called a triathlon. OH! And I lift weights and do CrossFit! And sometimes yoga.”
“Oh yeah. Triathlon!” the guy in the red said, “Do you do the long ones?”
“I have,” I said.
“Did you win?” he asked.
I laughed, “No, not even close. But I participate like a winner.”
They slapped me on the back and said, “That’s AMAZING.”
And we parted ways.
I am not writing this to brag.
I am not bragging about jack shit with this post. I am simply expressing so much freaking gratitude to LIFE today. For second chances. For hard work. For persistence. For continuing to go to that gym back in 2009, even with all signs pointed to “no way, you can’t do this, Girl.” To continuing to try and run even when my feet were bruised. To trying that first triathlon. To falling down and getting up–over and over and over again, year after year.
I am grateful for the one word: relentless – my word, that keeps me going. Because that mindset is everything to me.
Racing and training (to me) is NOT about winning or beating other people. This has always been about triathlon to make my life better. To workout and set goals to improve the other 23 hours in the day.
Today, I felt the massive culmination of the last almost decade of “trying” and tri-ing. I didn’t feel this feeling at my first or last IRONMAN race. It wasn’t winning Athena at St. Anthony’s last year. It wasn’t my first 27-minute 5k.
The feeling came today: “What’s Your Sport, Girl?”
I could have wrapped my sweaty, stinky arms around them both in a giant hug.
Validation comes from inside. Trust me, I know that.
That’s what this last 9 years of starting to workout to triathlon to more has been about. Learning to love myself, to work hard, to persevere, to break open bullshit and addiction and to become the best version of myself. I have long let go of needing validation from others. Social media validation is a train wreck. Validation from friends and family is just way too much pressure–on them.
I have worked on making myself happy and healthy.
Yes, validation comes from inside… but sometimes we are too close to see it. Sometimes we need to hear it.
Today, someone who knew nothing of me… asked me what kind of athlete I was. It wasn’t clear to him what kind of athlete I was… but it was clear that I was one.
That girl is an athlete. We don’t know what kind. But she works hard. And she’s sweaty and stinky AF.
And I do. And I am.
For me, that is what goes down in the record books.
Love to you all,