Do you ever find yourself in those moments where you ask yourself “how did I get here?”…not in that waking up lost and hungover with a bruise on your leg and you don’t know how it got there…but let’s be honest that has totally happened to me. No, I am talking about the kind where you take a really self-aware look at your current situation or surrounding, smile really big, and thank the universe for bringing that wonderful thing into your life. That’s exactly the kind of revelation I had this morning sitting amongst my sheepdogs.
Who are the Sheepdogs? Well, they are my workout group. My tribe. My inspiration. The people that push me and make me laugh and make me lift heavy things and get me up at 5am three times aweek and they just get me. We are all collectively insane and we train hard, sometimes we drink beer together, we compete in stupid-hard events, and we support each other. in this insanity. We call ourselves the Sheepdogs because in life, there are sheep and there are wolves, and then there are the protectors of the sheep against the wolves – the sheepdogs. They are fearless, strong, protective, and they use their power for the greater good and not for evil. The symbolism is really powerful, if you think about it.
A brief (personal) history of how I found these weirdos, if I may. Back in November, I did my first GoRuck event and discovered an enormous community of people with the same brain deficiencies as myself, aka they love to masochistically push their limits through physical feats of strength, and they like to party just as hard (hello soul-mates). The more time you spend doing events and around the community, the more folks in this “world” you get to know, and that’s how I found the Sheepdog crew. My first month working out with them (as the only girl, mind you) kind of reminded me of joining some sick secret society. I was in an ongoing conversation with the head honcho, on trial for a month, and then I had to read through a whole manual on what it meant to be a Sheepdog and why the training we did was so important…and then I finally got indoctrined. I won’t lie, part of what was so exciting about this group was that I really enjoyed being the only chick working out – and holding my own – with a bunch of super strong dudes (we have since added another badass lady). We work out thee times a week at 5:30am, and Troy, our “leader”, is really methodical in how he puts together various SealFit/CrossFit style workouts. We consider each other’s event goals, injuries, personal goals, etc. We sweat hard and get strong fast and basically empower one another to get better every day…not only that, but these guys are hilarious and we actually enjoy each others company outside of the workout room. It’s basically the best little fitfamily one could dream up.
While my goals personally range from a GoRuck HCLS (a 48 hour event) to a ½ Marathon to a full Ironman, next year, I enjoy the strength training I get to do, and I feel insanely powerful. Compared to many other workout groups, it is pretty impressive how hard we work. We set the bar pretty high overall, making it an incredible group to be a part of! These guys are there to support and push me in getting better, faster, stronger; I’ve learned that training is not just personal, and it is never meaningless. We apply the mental, the situational, and the diversity into our training that allows each of us to achieve each goal with a very high level of preparation. It’s a mindset that is really apparent in each member (there are roughly 10 of us), and it is one of the most inspiringly positive groups of people I have encountered.
This morning, the Sheepdog crew all gathered at 6:30am at a café instead of a gym to celebrate one of our members’ participation in GoRuck Selection. Selection is often referred to as the toughest endurance event in the entire world, and it is not for the faint of heart. Stephen’s courage and drive to even TRY competing in this is beyond admirable, and he not only participated, but he made it to the final 4 contenders – unbelievable. So we, with eager ears and pride for our teammate, dined over eggs and waffles while we listened to his stories, his trials, his victories, his thanks for our support, and we offered up as much praise and support as we could muster through words. I truly cherish my time with these guys always, but this morning hit home for me and inspired me in such a way that I took a step back while sitting at the table to really be thankful for having these people in my life. Stephen’s incredible story, alongside the overall greatness of each person there, reminded me that I am doing something right in this life. They say you are a by-product of the top 10 people you spend most of your time with…
I have chosen well.