“The triumph can’t be had without the struggle” – Wilma Rudolph (1940-1994)
I stopped running track the year sprint champion, Wilma Rudolph died. One had nothing to do with the other. Wilma was 54 with a brain tumour. I was 18 at the peak of my perceived potential.
Wilma’s struggles and triumphs were far greater than mine. Polio, scarlet fever, segregation, Olympic medals, world records – my woes and wins are not as grand. Still, I like to think that as an athlete and woman, the 1960s track star would relate to my challenges and victories, even if slightly.
Regardless of how far you go, if you’re an everyday woman training hard and pushing your limits, chances are you’ve experienced some of these 10 struggles, triumphs and truths about training:
1.Regular training adds more laundry!
Right?! On top of the already daunting household laundry, there’s an eternal cycle of tanks, tights, and mismatched ankle socks in and out of the wash. And shopping for more clothes is not the answer, tempting as that is.
2. Beauty costs double.
With every awesome afternoon workout, I’m sweating off makeup and sweating out my relaxer. I’m no diva but there’s a cost to replenishing face, eye and lip essentials that much faster. Now I time hair appointments around my training schedule so I can get the most out of Tonisha’s slaying styles, before conditioning workouts.
3. Periods are a bitch!
High intensity training and a heavy menstrual flow are a mean combination. Filling a 1 oz DivaCup several times a day means my iron and energy level can plummet. Training through those days feels like running on empty. I wonder how the pros deal with it?
4. The three gym bag essentials.
Yaaas! Those rare times I remember to pack a sport bra, gym socks and a change of underwear. Score!
5. Those last 10 pounds disappear.
Having performance goals eclipses my thoughts about weight loss. While I’ve been focused on sprints and lifts, those ‘last few pounds’ have vanished.
6. People start watching you.
If I trained at a sport facility I’d blend in with the other athletes. Training at a stylish, boutique fitness club, I stand out from most of the afternoon gym crowd. “Are you training for something?” they ask, after catching a glimpse of my workouts. Often, they’ll confide in me about a sport they used to train for. Then, weeks later, they’ll follow up with genuine interest, asking “How’s your training going? Have you competed yet?” It’s cool. I call them gym fans.
7. You start watching others.
You know you’re serious when your Google searches take a turn. My browsing history is equal parts weather forecasts, pancake recipes and videos of Phylicia George.
8. It’s not easy.
“She’s some kind of superwoman”, a follower once commented. Ha! Some days. Track is not my job or sole focus. Parenting, marriage, career and daily responsibilities all compete for my attention. It may look effortless, but it’s not! I’m seriously satisfied when I’ve got it together enough to pack a decent lunch for my daughter plus everything for my gym bag! (see #4)
9. There’s no high like it!
I had crazy butterflies as I registered for the opening meet. Then, on race day, came the familiar rush of adrenaline and ruthless fight to the finish line. Racing is raw and exhilarating like nothing else I know. I think every woman should experience this primal state of unfiltered emotion at least once in life.
10. Victory is sweet!
There are two great victories that occur before that starter pistol blares: my own feelings of accomplishment and the satisfaction from inspiring others. Each time my lifts get heavier, my technique tighter and my times faster, it’s a massive rush. And I love knowing that by pursuing my own goals, I inspire my daughter, friends and onlookers to uncover potential in themselves.