I was one month out from my level 2 kettlebell certification with Strong First, and I was convinced that I was not going to show up to the event at all. Not only did I decide I was not going to show up to the event, but I had also decided to stop everything. Stop training. Stop working. Back up my bags and my business and leave it all behind.
I hate having to admit this, but I am a woman who speaks her mind during the good and bad times. It serves me no justice to hide my feelings as I believe in being transparent. This blog right here is about transparency as it requires a lot of strength to say the difficult things that need to be said. So. . .here we go.
The past six months have been filled with some of the most difficult, challenging, and down right brutal conditions I have ever faced. I was doing well up to a certain threshold, until of course I wasn’t. One can only take so many challenges all at once until they start to bust at the seams. My body is still in recovery mode from it all. I would be lying to you if I said I was 100% up to speed because I am not. I don’t want your sympathy over these matters of mine either. . .but. . .I have good news for you in the end, dear reader. Two big things happened that would change my mind and keep me pressing on to overcome the obstacles in front of me.
I found myself in my chiropractors office telling him all the thoughts running through my head 30 days from SFG2. I told him how tempted I was to just hang up everything I had trained for, worked for, and sacrificed my time for over the past 6 years here in this kettlebell world of mine. He asked me a difficult question.
“What the hell else are you going to do? You’re too strong to stop lifting, and at this rate people expect you to keep lifting. That’s how you inspire others, right? “
Okay. Valid point. This question had me stop and think when I returned home from the adjustment session. I have reached a lifting capacity that exceeds most average MEN’S lifting ability. And really, what more can you do with that sort of strength but continue to refine the skill and teach others how to become stronger than they though possible as well?
Yeah. . .can’t stop lifting now.
I had booked a second fitness event directly after my Level 2 kettlebell certification. The XMAN obstacle race in Toronto ON Canada was right after my certification, and I was set to run this race with the very person who coached me through some of these brutal conditions I have aforementioned (also I find it odd but awesome that all my coaches are now my dearest friends. How cool is that really?). My friend reached out to me within weeks of my cert and this race and told me that she was eager to have me help her with her kettlebell lifts. That was kind of a whirlwind for me considering this previous coach of mine was now asking for coaching advice from me. It hit me then that LOTS of people, clients, friends, people who have purchased my publication and now, even the big time coaches in the fitness industry are seeking my opinion and help on all things kettlebell and strength. Well. . .how can one reasonably say “no” to all of that?
I decided to press on and overcome the obstacles.
I show up to Strong First Level 2 feeling burnt out and disheveled. I ran into my new coach Friday night when I finally got into the hotel. “What are you hear for?” he asked. “I am getting my level 2 this weekend. ” “Damn, you have no doubt in you do you?” And I told the man that I had decided a long time ago that failure was not an option for me, and that I had to decide right now that failure cannot exist in my life as I am up for even greater feats of strength.
I was able to demo my 28kg press over the weekend. Nearly nailed a 36kg bent press and did my snatch test in 3:47 seconds. I did so well at the certification that not only did I pass, but the instructors who handed me my certification had nothing to critique me on. “Just keep going” they said. “You’re incredibly strong !”
I am here in Canada this weekend as I type this. I signed up for the XMAN race in Toronto which is a 7.5 k race that has an obstacle nearly every mile of the race. Most of this course is uphill and involves climbing over VERY high walls, ropes, not to mention crawling through tight spaces (some of which involved snow and ice). Under the conditions of this race, I was able to do my first ever muscle ups in order to get over many of the walls. 3 strict muscle ups. Unheard for me. I also completed the race 45 minutes ahead of schedule and ended it in a race wave that had left nearly a half an hour ahead of me. Nearly half way through the race, when I realized I was WAY ahead of my team, several people stopped me just to say that they were impressed with how well I was running. I heard the phrase “How did you train for this?” at least 7 times on the course. Thank you kettlebells, calisthenics, climbing and trail running. Looks like I have found a way to combine all these skills for something I can truly get behind and love.
I write all these things today as a way to not just put closure to the hard times, but to also embrace the new feats of strength I have achieved and will achieve moving forward. These two events probably would NOT have come to fruition had I not spoken with some of the stronger people in my support network. I am forever reminded that you can do that which seems impossible the moment you reach out for guidance and surround yourself with the strongest support network you can find. I encourage you all to do the same. I have learned that it is normal to feel fear when the obstacles of life seem to large to overcome, but know that you are strong enough to over come them, press through them, and become the person that can lift others up the same way the lifted you up.
Well. . .maybe not QUITE the way they lifted you up, but you get the idea 😉
I’ll be back in Pittsburgh for a hot minute then I am off to California for the Radiance Retreat this upcoming weekend. I cannot wait to share all the more knowledge bombs this year from that crew as we work to make this blog a truly powerful blog beyond even what pressing can offer. I am so thankful for you all for your support, the kicks to my butt, and for following me along thus far. Let’s start this strong community right here, right now, to lift everyone around us up!
This blog post is dedicated to Ekaterina Solovieva. Thank you for being a great coach, a great host, and one of my most incredible friends.