No, really: What’s it mean to be fierce?

I’m injured. And I’m not very good at it.

It’s a stupid knee injury (nothing actually happened other I played sand volleyball a couple weeks ago, and it hurt a little on the first jump and hurt more on subsequent jumps, and when I finally decided it was time to sit out, it had started swelling) that came at a stupid time — just weeks out from TriRock Clearwater (aka the race I planned to absolutely KILL this year). I should be hitting a really strong groove right now, and instead … well, sure am swimming a lot.

Even though it’s definitely improving — I was able to do four whole minutes of running on the treadmill yesterday! Whee! — it’s still making me feel lame in a lot of ways. Literally, of course, although I’m not terribly gimpy at this point, but also, ugh. So many of the social things I do revolve around running and drinking, but since I can’t run right now, I’ve cut out drinking, and since I’m not running or drinking, I’m a little LOT less fun than I like to think I normally am.

I’m not feeling all that fierce, is what I’m saying.

fierce fund blue wig project

I find that a little fake hair goes a long way when I’m feeling down. Especially when it’s as part of the Fierce Fund Traveling Blue Wig Project

But, that got me thinking — is fierce a feeling, or a state of being? Can you only be fierce when you’re feeling that way, or if you’re fierce, are you always fierce, just sometimes moreso than others?

I have no problem saying it: That's effing fierce.

I have no problem saying it: That’s effing fierce.

I’m going with the latter, because earlier this year, when I completed the Leadman Tri — you know, that time I ate ice out of my sports bra — I was the fiercest of the fierce, as far as I’m concerned. I signed up for a race that scared the hell out of me. I committed to not only completing challenging distances on race day, but to doing some really intense training leading up to it.

And on race day, despite nerves so out of control they brought tears to my eyes, I jumped in that water and started a journey that would take me almost seven hours (no, really — I finished in 6 hours, 59 minutes and change) and make me a different person than I was when I woke up that morning.

Those who have gotten to know me over the last few years might think, “Well, that’s great, but you’ve always done this stuff. You just took the next step.” But the thing is, I haven’t always done it.

In fact, in high school between my asthma and some volleyball-induced back issues (maybe I should just quit it with the VB, huh?), I was really, really not a runner. Training the summer before my senior year to run two consecutive miles in something like 19 minutes in order to make the basketball team was miserable, and I couldn’t possibly fathom why people would run just to, like, run.

(And let’s not forget, I didn’t pick up a bike or start learning to properly swim until about three years ago. So, sure, I’ve been athletic for basically my whole life, but a serious, hardcore endurance event? So far outside my comfort zone it made the trip to Phoenix look short.)

So, here’s my thought — the choices we make (and actions we take) are the things that define our fierceness. Having done a race that scared and challenged me changed who I was gave me a new found confidence and strength. Even if I don’t feel quite the same way right now, there’s something to knowing it’s there. It’s in me. It’s in my heart, and it’ll be back. I’ll be back.

Because, I mean, come on. We can’t all be at our very fiercest all the time, can we? So let’s celebrate the moments of fierceness we all hold dear. I’ve shown you mine. Now show me yours!


This post is part the Clever Girls Collective Fierce Fund Traveling Blue Wig Project (hence the blue wig, although, let’s be honest — I can never say no to fake hair), which is currently deciding which of three awesome non-profit organizations should receive this year’s $20,000 #FierceFund. If you have a second, check it out and cast your vote — this is an amazing group of women doing fabulous work to help worthy causes, and I’m honored to have my story included.

I did not receive compensation for this post (unless you count the wig).

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