Reflections on Perseverance.

By: Stephanie Nash

I read a book a couple of years ago about this awesome woman who went from over 300lbs to being a seriously fit and trim marathon runner. It was a pretty inspirational read.

But once I finished it, a couple of things just didn’t ring true to me. I have no doubt that this woman wrote truthfully about her own experiences, but these things just didn’t jive with mine.

Here’s the first thing: She wrote about her “aha” moment, which was cool, and basically woke up the next morning and changed her life. Also cool. She adopted better eating habits and committed to doing some sort of physical activity 30 minutes a day, every single day, even if it meant walking her cul-de-sac at 10:30pm at night…which she says she did a number of times. I had a lot of respect for her commitment.

Then she went on to say things like, “It was so liberating knowing I never had to go back to my old lifestyle,” and “I never missed a day, no matter what it took.” (These are definitely not direct quotes; I am generalizing from a book I read 2 years ago. You know how committed I am to complete and utter accuracy.)

My deal is this: I believe her in fact, but I don’t believe her in my heart. I get what she was saying about her liberating new lifestyle, but it just sounded too easy. Like anyone could just wake up and DO IT (true) and never have a doubt or struggle with it (serious bullshit).

Maybe she did write about struggles, but I don’t remember. They weren’t highlighted enough in her book for them to have stuck with me.

And for me, it’s all about the struggle. I struggle with my journey every single day. Don’t get me wrong, most of the time I feel amazing about my fit lifestyle and choices, but just as often I want to eat whatever the hell I want and not have to work my ass off 5+ times a week. I don’t give in to that, but I do want it. A lot.

So how could this chick not miss the chocolate chip cookies that she wrote about baking almost daily before she changed her life? How could she make it sound like a total piece of cake? This is some hard shit to do, people!

I agree with her 100% that anyone can wake up, decide to change their life and DO IT. But…to do it, you have to work your ass off every single day, every single hour, every single minute. Especially when your journey might stretch into years…because that is a LOOOOOONG time to persevere. It’s worth it, but it is seriously friggin hard.

You mess up along the way, you hate the journey sometimes, you have your “screw it” moments, you really REALLY crave a big honkin piece of pepperoni pizza–or two or three or seven–and you might just kill your mother to get it some days (sorry, Mom). That’s the reality of my journey.

Strength and persistence
That’s one of my trainers, Christa Doran, the original Tuff Girl. She is pretty amazing, and is a true testament to the power of perseverance.

So look at the guns on my trainer Christa. And the quads, and the perfect form. She is such a badass, but she will say time and again that achieving this amazing body was not easy. She had to sacrifice again, and again, and again, and again, even when she didn’t want to.

For a full year, she ate clean and worked her ass off, and she’s still doing it to maintain this awesomeness. THAT’S what it takes, and she’s had her share of struggles along the way. But she kept going.

Perseverance pays off.

So back to the book: I mentioned this woman ultimately ran a marathon. But I’m not sure how, because one second she was walking on the treadmill or riding the recumbent bike for a half hour a day, and all of a sudden she said, “oh, and BTW, I ran a marathon, too!” There was like a huge middle piece missing there…and it was the piece I really, really wanted to hear about. THE HARDEST PIECE!

I trained for a sprint triathlon: swim 1/4 mile, bike 12, and run 3.1 miles. My time was god-awful (well over 2 hours) but my goal was to finish, and I did.

Training SUCKED. I hated nearly every minute of it. There were a few seconds of joy, sometimes when I was coasting down a hill on my bike with the wind flying at my face, but mostly, it sucked. I was a big fat girl in a dorky helmet on a bike. Or a big fat girl flopping around in a pool trying desperately to do that breathing thing without panicking. Or a big fat girl clomping around on a treadmill.

During my training, I was exhausted. And discouraged. And terrified. But I kept going. I started it, and I was determined to finish.

I had to drag my kids along most of the time because my husband was on a travel assignment during my 3 months of training. Sometimes they had to sit on the bench in the aquatic center while I swam laps. Sometimes they were sitting in the middle of the track with snacks and toys while I ran/walked laps, and they were not always well behaved (hellooooo, understatement). My son used to sit on the rock wall at the edge of our yard and read his book while I biked the .45 mile circuit that is our block about 20+ times. Once, I fell off my bike for no apparent reason near the corner of a major road, making a complete ass of myself as cars went by. I got back on.

That’s the stuff that I want to hear about, and that’s what I missed from this woman’s story. The nitty gritty. The details. The sweat and tears. The scraped knees and crying kids. The determination that moves you to grind your way past all those things and Just. Keep. Going.

So what are your struggles? Your nitty gritty details? And how do you push through them and persevere?

Remember: Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged people who kept on working.

Keep fighting, peeps! It’s going to be worth it.

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7 thoughts on “Reflections on Perseverance.

  1. I can’t even tell you how much I LOVE this post. I’m damned proud of my journey and there’s no way I’ll ever tell anyone that it was an easy road, because a huge part of it is a psychological battle. You’re absolutely bang on!

    For instance, I know I’ve had so many moments of pain, where I don’t want to work out any more but I have to keep going for another hour, two hours… Or times when I can all but feel the cookie jar gnawing at my leg – but I think it’s a badge of honour to have got through all that and come out of the other side fitter and happier.

    Well done for all your amazing work so far – and for writing such an amazing post 🙂

    • Thanks SO much for the great comments, and man do I HATE it when the cookie jar gnaws at my leg. Those days suck! Kudos to you for sticking with it over the long haul, and I couldn’t agree more that overcoming those struggles–as hard as it is–makes the victory that much sweeter. Way to go!

    • Hi Elizabeth! Thanks so much for your compliment! I am so razor focused on my overall fitness and losing fat right now that I am not currently triathlon training…but once I reach my goals, I plan to go back and train for a much better time. 🙂 Finishing was AMAZING, but I’d definitely like to get a more respectable time on my record.

      • I have no doubt you will do it. I like to think of the race as a reward for all your hard work and hello–a triathlon (no matter what distance) is tough so relish in the accomplishment–it’s something so few people can do! And of course look forward to the future. 🙂

  2. Oh the pain…..they always leave out the pain..and the cheat days get minimized to “I only had 1 cheat day that month and felt horrible about it so I never EVER cheated again”….I travel every week for work and have almost no problems on the road (aside from days when the boss wants to go out for dinner/drinks). It’s when I get home that all the temptations are there…like the spaghetti I just had for lunch despite having fasted the last 14 hours…shoulda just had some chicken/steak and veggies. At least I’m drinking water now and not soda.

    • THANK YOU, Pete! It is so true. And it’s the pain and the falling down I need to hear about so I can relate and keep plugging along. P.S. Stay away from the soda, man!!! 😉

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