April 6, 2013

If i could properly articulate what it was like in the cycling studio this week…. I would. There is no way I could do it justice. The lights were practically out… the music was loud… illegally loud…. just for a bit I promise. The intervals were hard, like real hard.

Every now and then that’s what I love to do…. where I love to go. That place. You know… that one. I like to get in there… get dirty and get out. I like to stand toe to toe with myself. I like to get real bare and see what I’ve got when it’s all peeled away.

That’s part of what draws me to the Ironman. Because at mile 20 of the marathon it’s just you and yourself. By then I have peed myself at least ten times, ingested nothing but powerbar products for the better part of 10 hours and I would do anything for a toothbrush (hint: stand at mile 20 with a toothbrush, toothpaste and a swig of Listerine and I will pay you ANYTHING for it!). That is when shit gets real.

And real… let’s be honest… is relative. Tell that to a Navy Seal, or a Marine…. or someone who is facing something that’s actually real. What I get to do is a luxury…. and not only am I grateful … I freaking love it. I love the opportunity that I have to be able to get down and get deep and get dirty and get up close. To myself and to my athletes. I love when it’s raw. I love when it’s hour 7 of a training day and snot rockets flow easy.

I love that I get to do what I do. Trust me I take none of this…. and I mean NONE of this for granted. Especially now. Especially today. Especially after what I have been through.

Something happened in that studio this week. The music got louder, we took it to the wall. We possibly even crossed that line or maybe had the guts to at least walk up to it. All the data on earth was in front of us but the lights were down and data didn’t matter. Heart mattered. Passion mattered. Drive mattered. Going for it mattered.

In those moments I look around the studio and I just want to freeze time. I see 25 people with 25 different stories. I see 25 people riding for 25 different reasons. I see the look in their eye and I see them reach for it. Push past boundaries and set new edges. I get to see them finish the interval or crest the climb with the feeling of wow I can’t believe I just did that and hell yeah… we just did that.

In those moments I feel beyond honored that I get to be a part of their journey… whatever it is… it’s a journey. And I wonder if they know that they are part of mine. That the mornings that I don’t want to get up I think about them. What they endure, what they reach for, and that in turn motivates me. I see them do things they don’t think they can even start and that inspires me. I see them grow with their health and fitness and that brings along their spirit and that is what teaches me.

While I sit on the instructor bike… what I really am…. is the student.

My goal every single day is to learn from and learn about as many people as I can. I have an obsession with people. I connect with people on a deep level. I never mean to… I just do. I love to know where they are from, what they do, where they are going. Collectively we have all survived so much. Sometimes you don’t know the story and sometimes you never get to know the story…. but you walk arm in arm with them just knowing. Knowing that you’ve lived through this…. and knowing that the details don’t matter…. but just walking forward together does.

Last week I was on the treadmill at the gym…. at hour three of the morning’s workouts (not hour three of running!). A guy got on the treadmill next to me. After a few minutes he stopped, straddles his treadmill and turned to me. “Girl you are totally rancid.” He said. I smiled. “But I dig running next to you…. because you are no joke.” It was one of the greatest things anyone has ever said to me.

I am not here to be pretty. I am not here to gain outward accolades. I’ve had that. I have done that. Leave that to the ones who post pictures  of themselves to get “you are so hot” comments. Sad. I don’t want that. What I am after is mine. It’s deep inside of me. And it’s driven by me. At the same time I soak it up from the amazing people around me. It never even is spoken about.  It’s unknown but that is what drives me.

I haven’t felt it like I felt it this week. Inside that cycling studio. I felt the energy, I felt the presence. I felt the collective drive, the collective desire, the collective passion for what we are all after. In a studio of 15-25 people there are 15-25 different reasons. Different end points. But our path is so common.

The lights were practically out. The effort was hard. I took off the leash, I lifted the cage’s door, and we flipped the switch. We “took a pass on yelling uncle”… and we sure as hell rode it like we meant it. Those are the rides I absolutely live for. Those are the rides that sustain me. Those are the rides I keep coming back for. And it really has zero to do with me. It has 100% to do with the amazing people I get to train with. They have no idea that they are my training partners. They have no idea that they inspire me. They have no idea of how much they carry me.

It was one of those nights that I walked out of there feeling like the luckiest girl on earth. I can’t believe I get to do this. To the outsider it’s just a class. To me… I get to experience people on a very unique level. Think something doesn’t happen on those bikes and during that hour? Think again. In there… we go far.


One comment

  1. Great post, as usual Mary! Thanks!!

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