Easy Day All Day: Goruck and the Road to Recovery
“We are each on our own journey. Each of us is on our own adventure; encountering all kinds of challenges, and the choices we make on that adventure will shape us as we go; these choices will stretch us, test us and push us to our limit; and our adventure will make us stronger than we ever know we could be.” ~Aamnah Akram
Adventure. The word really gives me a shiver of excitement up my spine, that rush of things to come. Whether it be a dawn trail run, driving with the top down through the Mississippi Delta with my oldest friend or running a 200 mile overnight Ragnar Relay race, adventure is what makes me come alive. In September 2011 while playing soccer I had a compound fracture of my tibula and fibula or in other words snapped my leg in half, quite literally. I couldn’t know it at the time but that injury and the recovery that came after led to one of the grandest adventures of my life.
I won’t talk about breaking my leg, I’ll just say it hurt quite a bit. It was gross. People puked. I asked an EMT for a bottle of whiskey while we were waiting for the ambulance. He didn’t bring me one and I’ve never forgiven him. But it was in my recovery that I learned much about myself. Arnie Schwarzenagger once said that “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” I learned more about myself through the struggles of realizing what I was missing on those crutches than with what I was capable without them. I love to run, not just on trails and for exercise but to get from point A to B. As a matter of fact, a close friend once told me it was “exhausting” to watch me, with my affinity to be continually moving. Running, skipping, jumping and of course: dancing. It’s damn hard to dance on crutches but I’ll be damned if I didn’t try…
My first Goruck Challenge was in Washington DC on June 15, perfectly 9 months after my leg break. I won’t go into specifics about the Challenge but I will say this: it was long, it was impossibly hard and I learned more about myself in those twelve hours than almost any other experience in my short life. It doesn’t matter if you’re a casual fitness person, a special operations soldier or a ultra marathoner: I’ve done Challenges with all of them, they all say it hurts. But you learn to embrace the suck and you learn just how much you can take, mentally and physically. And afterwards you become part of an amazing community of people, those who would lay themselves across a train track for you, because they know you’d do the same. If you’d really like to learn more about the Challenge, hear it from the brand’s founder, Jason McCarthy, here. The Challenge taught me that, like Arnie said, our struggles define who we are, and the challenge of my leg and the GRC taught me just what I am capable of. I will continue to do Challenges and other assorted physical tests that make women look at me quizzically across a bar as I try to explain that testing the physical and mental limits of my body is what I do for fun. Someone once told me, on the subject of explaining tattoos, that it’s “easier to save your breath than to explain to the uninitiated.” So I’ll close with this: do a challenge. I’ll get you a discount, hell I’ll do the damned thing with you. And I promise it’ll change your life and you’ll never look back.