I love teaching. I really do. It's never easy, but the most worthwhile things in life never are. For well more than half of the last sixteen years when asked to tell about myself I would lead with "I'm a teacher." It is still important to me and I take my job extremely seriously, but I have discovered I need more. If all I do is teach I am not doing myself, my colleagues or my students any favors. When I focus too much on one thing I get obsessive: I can't let little things go and I magnify my faults until they seem like insurmountable obstacles. I need balance.
Maybe I should say I'm working on balance in my life. I have a new love, besides my boxer and my cats. Actually I've had this new love since 2012, but until this summer I didn't really commit myself fully. I always kept something in reserve, just in case it didn't work out. I knew where the exit was and I was ready to use it at a moment's notice.
Over the summer I realized how much I truly LOVED getting fit. I finally tore down the last barrier and told myself there was no exit: this was a part of my life, a critically important part and I became a fixture at Pride Fitness Performance. Several times I even joked with Tyler about moving in and paying him rent since I spent most of my time there anyhow.
In our first day of inservice, our morning presenter asked us each to give our names, tell where we worked, our grade level and something interesting. Prior to this year I left it at "I'm Kimberly Swett. I'm a special educator at Derby Elementary". This year I added that I had completed my third Tough Mudder in June. There were some oohs of surprise from people not in my building, but it was a complete shift for me. Not only am I a teacher, I am an athlete. I admitted it and it felt 100% right.
My complete commitment to the program and the process resulted in an amazing honor. On Friday morning, at the end of the workout Tyler announced the next Pride Warrior. I had my own thoughts about who it might be, I never thought of myself.
No one was more surprised than me when he said my name. I'm not one for public recognition, but while I was biting my lip and the inside of my cheek to keep the tears in I felt an unfamiliar feeling. I felt proud. There, it's out: I AM PROUD OF MYSELF. I worked hard, I dug deep, I tried to do everything that was asked of me and even when I didn't succeed I came back for more. Let me shout it again: I AM PROUD OF MYSELF.
I had highlights yesterday and I'll talk about them here, but I want to say one more time that everyone was AMAZING!
1. Da Beast (Tractor Tire Deadlift): I said in my post on July 26 that I had a goal for myself to deadlift 618 pounds. In case you missed that post my rationale for that weight was that at my heaviest I was 309 pounds and 618 was double that. It seemed important to me to lift double my heaviest weight to prove I could do it and to remind myself once and for all that I am NOT that woman any longer.
I had some stiff competition yesterday. Eric, Pat, Aaron and Vell weren't going to let me win, they made me work for it. Work I did, when all was said and done I lifted 650 pounds. I came out in first place and I definitely blew my goal out of the water. I was pumped.
2. Simba (500m row, 50m prowler push): I was so pumped from the deadlift still that when the Simba event started I considered doing it. Those who know me or read this blog know the prowler is an old friend. I will push it anywhere and the more weight you pile on it the happier I am. You also know about my love/hate relationship with the rowing machines. Just about every time I get on one Tyler's earning a gold star. A few friends reminded me how much I love the prowler and that 500 meters really wasn't that much and I had done it before without giving a gold star.
When the rower opened up and Tyler said "Anyone else" my body took over. Before my mind could frame a suitable excuse I was sitting on the rower getting my feet strapped in. My inner whiner urged me to get off and be sensible, but I was already holding the handle, body tensed for Tyler to say go. The whiner quieted with a final "Oh hell, this is going to be a DISASTER." Then it was go time.
I pulled harder than I ever have before. There was coaching from Dane and Tyler and from my fellow participants. I really have no clue what anyone said because I was concentrating so hard on pulling that handle with as much force as I could muster each time so the 500 meters would be over before the vomit comet entered.
After the 500 meters was reached I had to get off and head for the prowler. There was a concerning moment when I felt light headed and the world got fuzzy around the edges. I had at least two people tell me after they were saw the color drain from my face and were worried for me. I wondered for a little bit if I would pass out, but I started I HAD to finish. I had to go from one end of the gym to the other 3 times. The first pass wasn't too bad, the second pass about did me in. I was about one good push from the prowler touching Dane's hand so I could make my final pass and I dropped. I felt done, there was nothing in the tank and I couldn't catch my breath. I am pretty sure Tyler told me to breathe (or I heard his voice in my head) and I think either Tyler or Dane told me not to quit or that I wouldn't quit (or I'm hearing voices and I need some serious help). It took time, but I rallied. I was NOT quitting, there was something somewhere in me to get this finished. I found that last bit of fight and I used it.
Then I headed for the bathroom...and almost had to clean the entire room. I'll spare you the details, but it was DISGUSTING and for about 30 minutes after I wasn't sure I was done yet. Sipping water and breathing deep helped, but wow it was intense. I have never dug that deep.
3. Mufasa (135 lb. barbell carry, slams, tire flips): I wanted to compete in this event so much. I lifted the 135 pound bar and could not clean it to get it in position to carry. It killed me not to be able to do it, but there was no way. I TRIED though and I didn't let the fact I couldn't get it ruin my day. I can say I gave it my best and I am proud of that.
4. Tag Team Relay: Gretchen agreed to be my partner. I did the strength moves (slams, tire flips) and she did the cardio (Lateral jump burpees, pond run and wall). I think we were a great team and we finished. In my book that's a win.
5. King of the Mountain (1:1 Tug-o-War): Either the universe has an awesome sense of humor or Tyler wanted to really push me. The names of all the participants went into a hat and he drew them out 2 at a time. He explained the rules: he would start by drawing two names and the winner of that round would stay and face the next competitor until they were bested or until the end.
Can you guess what happened? Oh yeah, my freaking name came out first. What the actual HELL??? I was first and I had to face Barry?!? Okay, dig deep, dig in and pull with everything you've got. I pulled Barry over the line, but it was close. I almost didn't pull Eric over the line, then I got angry. Not at Eric, but at the fact my feet were sliding closer to that line and I wasn't done yet.
I made it to Pat and he got me. My grip strength was about gone and he pulled the rope out of my hand. Then he faced Keri. I was content with being in second place, I did better than I thought I could. Then Tyler said Pat and I would have a rematch. Pat won, there was a moment when I thought maybe I could pull him over, but he is beyond strong and I lost the rope. No problem: I exceeded what I thought I could: I was proud of myself. Nothing to be ashamed of at all.
Congratulations to Barry and Pat who tied for first place at the Pride Games. You both have my deepest respect. Tyler and Dane: thank you for an amazing event, for the encouragement and coaching. Eric: you are my hero and the man I respect and trust the most in this world. Truly. You made me work for that deadlift and the tug of war and you cheered me on when I wanted to be done. To all the participants: I am honored and blessed to know each of you. I learn from each of you and I am so grateful for your support and encouragement.
I got a message yesterday that sums up how I feel and how proud I am of the woman I've fought to become. YOU. ARE. A. WARRIOR. To the person who sent it: I hope I made you proud. I fought for me, but my ability to fight as hard as I did is a direct reflection of the training and support I have received.
It's a new feeling, a really new feeling really, but I AM PROUD OF MYSELF. I like this feeling, it's been a long time coming. A very long time I'm sure some of you are saying and possibly there is some eye rolling going on too. What can I say: I'm stubborn and I have to prove things to myself over and over again.
|Thank you Carole R. for the picture. Tractor Tire Deadlift PR: 650 pounds.|
Wow, this was a long one. I had A LOT to say.
Thanks for reading!