What GRIT has meant in my life is empowerment.

Sweat stings eyes, my heart pounds through my chest; my legs are past jelly, past stiff and tight and pain- they continue moving, alien and detached from the weight of the sandbag on my shoulder. My lungs are on fire and every thought in my brain whips against my skull and falls away. I take five full, determined breaths. I look up to see that the rest of my pack is also still moving, suffering: working. Calls of encouragement come from the athletes across the gym. “I can’t” comes up and I pass it by, one movement at a time. I Focus on conserving my energy- efficient motions because each movement costs valuable resources.

The clock ends and sweaty bodies litter the gym floor.

My lungs fill with deep, nourishing breaths, brilliant & more expansive than ever. Quiet takes over for a few moments as ribcages rise & fall. I slowly shake awareness back into my legs and begin to hammer stiff quads with my fists.

This work of breaking down my mental limits & becoming truly aware of just how capable I am (and then some) has spilled into every area of my life. The word that comes up for me again & again in describing what GRIT has meant in my life is empowerment. It continuously enables my sense of adventure & independence. It’s also set the baseline for what I’m capable of pushing through & bred a resilience in me that understands struggle as a place to build strength from. I know walking into this space that there’s work to be done, I’ll be better for it, and I’ll be among an incredible community of athletes & friends while doing it.

Laura Aldrich