I've been thinking a lot about GRIT lately. For a year really. A fellow triathlon teammate commented on a photo of mine in early spring. He said to embrace the suck. He is a badass and rides in conditions of all kinds. I will run in anything. Riding on the other had; I suppose I am a bit of a wimp. But I embrace the suck a lot. I have a lot of grit simply because I am a womyn. Because I am a female athlete. I've been thinking about just that. The things that female athletes have to go through that our male counterparts do not. I've been debating sharing this story, cause....well cause it's graphic. But ya know what; it's part of being a womyn and I am tired of hiding it. Womyn menstruate every month. Get over it. It's part of being a badass womyn. And yea it does make us stronger every damn month. So here it goes.
Last spring I headed out on a long run like I do every week. It was a two hour run if I remember correctly. I had started my period, but I still ran. It's what we do. The run was to be my commute to work that day. It's a lovely way to start the day. I felt fantastic. At some point I needed to stop to pee. So I found a spot in the woods. It was at this point that I discovered that I'd bleed through my tampon and all over my orange shorts. Not just a little. A LOT. At this point I had a decision to make: walk into work with blood all over my shorts OR take off my shorts and wash them and my legs in cold stream water. I choose option number two. It was embarrassing but it build grit. It helped build the critical "ah crap something unexpected is happening during a workout and I need a solution now". It's not a big deal really. But stripping down in the woods during a commute time can put a womyn in a compromising situation. 'Cause that was also something I was thinking about. What if someone stumbles upon me. What if a school bus drives by or anyone really. On a monthly basis I my workouts are slightly less optimal because I've just finished my cycle and am slightly anemic. Not because I'm not busting my ass every day, not because I didn't eat right or sleep well. But because I bleed monthly and am always slightly anemic. Sometimes more than others.
And that is why it rubbed me the wrong way when my teammate told me to embrace the suck. Sure I can embrace the cold on the bike a little more. But I embrace the suck monthly in a way men will never understand.
It's the middle of the winter here in New England. This past weekend I had to do a three way split for my long run because of the blizzard and because of other life stuff. I build GRIT on Saturday. I'll use it when things get hard: on and off the race course. That's what we do when we're endurance athletes and we have other commitments. We find a way to make it work. By doing that it's easier to find a way to make other life stuff work when it's not so easy.
I'm on week half way thru my Boston Marathon training. A mere 13 weeks left. I can pretty easily run 13 miles and am sure I could do 15 if need be. I am feeling good. Building grit every day. Becoming more of a badass.