Archive for December 5, 2011

“Saying goodbye in their own way. Playing Outlawed tunes on Outlawed pipes…”

Posted in Articles on December 5, 2011 by oldcountrystrong

Sometimes in life special people have a way of finding their way into yours when you least expect it. When this happens sometimes even the circumstances are special. But those special people are the ones that really leave an impact on you. Today’s article was from one such person.

I don’t know where to start in this intro. But really the start of this intro is the start to my own story. I’ve been training for a while now. I stated out working only with firefighters and that lead me into a career of professional training. Back then I wasn’t Zach the Coach. I was just a trainer, I was just a young trainer.

I thought I had it all figured out I thought I knew about strength, until this very special person came into my life.

She was of few words but she was Direct and Stubborn. Everything we did when we trained wasn’t questions but I could tell she was thinking when I was talking. She would be the first to throw the bullshit flag on someone or call them out, but she trusted me. And over time this Direct mother and I became very close. I still remember when she talked to me about what she will talk with all of you about today. It was in her classic style, matter of factly and to the point. She never ever had a pity party with me, she’s a pretty amazing women.

Laura was a  fighter then and she is now. She was the first person to truly make me realize the effect my job could have on someone. Without someone like Laura walking into my life I’d have never become the Coach I am today, I truly believe that.

Laura will always stand up speak her mind and fight. That’s who she is. For those of you who know me I’m a fiercely loyal person. So when the time came for me to leave that gym I wanted to bow out making no waves and not cause my Boss who had taken such good care me any trouble. I told all the people I worked with their goodbyes the same way…
“I’m really sorry to say that next week is my last week, I won’t be training here anymore and No I’m not really telling anyone where I’m going.”

It may seems weird to some people reading this but that’s how I chose to handle it. Most people tried to get it out of me, some respected my wishes that I didn’t want to talk about it. Most probably thought I was just being a dick.

Then came my time to say goodbye to Laura.

I was dreading it the whole time we were training. Then I just went to rip the band aid off. Laura looked at me with defiant Laura eyes and asked where I was going…
I wont get into much into details, but I’m pretty sure she told me something along the lines that if we weren’t going to train together then she just wasn’t going to train anymore.

Got me, I had taught myself to say NO to Laura in our Training. There’s my way and that’s how it’s going to be done, I learned to fight stubborn with stubborn. But it wasn’t going to work with this, no not with this

Laura was the first person I broke my rule for, there wasn’t going to be a goodbye. I told Laura where and exactly when I was leaving and she followed me. I feel like Laura would have followed me anywhere. Laura was the first person that came to me as a complete stranger that believed in me. She still believes in me and that worth more than most anything I can describe.

Laura is my friend. Laura believes in me. I hope you all believe in the defiant inner strength Laura has after her story, Laura is a fighter. Z

When Zach asked me to write an article for the “Strong is Beautiful” set of posts, I was flattered. Then, I was scared because I haven’t written anything except scientific articles for years. Then, I was concerned that I didn’t have anything to contribute to this topic.

After all, I am not the strongest woman in the program. Nor am I the fastest. I’m not a very good rower (lousy actually), nor am I a former Division I athlete with athletic DNA. After much thought, I realized that I do have something to contribute. At 45, I’m older than most, if not all, of the women in the program, and I am stronger now than I have ever been. I can offer confidence that as you age, you can be strong. You need not get weaker and out of shape.

Out of shape… been there. Three fateful years ago. Before that, I had been active all my life. I ran, played ice hockey, squash, tennis, and soccer. I was also a serious Shred Betty (that means “girl snowboarder”, for the uninitiated).

So, three years ago was when everything changed for me. I went in for my routine mammogram and got a clean bill of health. About a week later, I received “the call.” Upon further review of my films, they concluded that I did indeed have breast cancer in the very early stages. Oh Crap! (Those were not my exact words, I can assure you.)

Ironically, I wrote my dissertation on breast cancer, so I knew the risk factors. I knew my risk was pretty low, and yet… here I was. (On soap box: Unlucky things can happen to healthy people. Get your cancer screenings! Off soap box.) Luckily, I only needed a lumpectomy and radiation, no chemotherapy.

Unfortunately, radiation left me weak and exhausted. I could barely pick up my 5 year old daughter. I was even winded going up one flight of stairs. I felt awful.

One month to the day after completing radiation treatment, I walked into Zach’s old gym. Pathetic would be an adequate description of my first workout with him. I was completely discouraged by how weak and out of shape I felt, but Zach (the best coach in the world) encouraged me and helped me get stronger.

When Zach started this program, I watched with envy as the men and women got stronger and faster. I didn’t think I had a chance of keeping up. I finally got the courage to ask Zach if I could join the program, and I am so glad I did. (Thank you for saying yes, Z.) I will never be as strong or as fast as most of you other younger, stronger, beautiful women, but I will be as strong and as fast as I can be…

Strong Is Beautiful

Article by: Laura
Posted by: Z