Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tough Chik Tuesday: Almine

Here is another installment of "Tough Chik Tuesday." I am thrilled to introduce Almine.  To me, she exemplifies tough.  She is a Crossfit expert and climbs both rock and ice, which is awesome.

When I think of the term “Tough Chik,” the first quality that pops into my head is “tenacity.”  This implies both mental and physical tenacity.  Tenacity is what gets me up at 5 a.m. each morning to crank out pull-ups.  It allows me to look fear in the face every time I climb ice or rock.  It allows me to go beyond the limits that my mind holds as “possible.”

I think what inspires people the most is a tale of “rags-to-riches.”  Someone, who, like a phoenix has risen from their own ashes.  This is my story.

I wasn’t always an athlete   (see my Journey of Darkness blog post ).  But, I have always held dreams close to my heart, coupled with discipline.

As a child, I was constantly in detention for climbing the school roof and playground trees.  The air is quiet, I found.  Where the birds live, drama and the worries of the world cannot thrive.  This is where I wanted to be.  When I climb, high above the ground, and watch people below me, the size of ants, I can see what the birds see:  a world in peril.  An earth inhabited by her children, who do not yet understand how precious it is.

Even though I’ve been touted as an “Adventure Athlete” by radio shows and magazines, I still consider myself a work-in-progress.   Its true, you will find me seeking out myriad training conditions.  My home state of Oregon offers this:  rain, mud, snow, sleet, sun, fog, oceans, mountains, rivers, trails…its all here.   I make it a point to expose myself to all these weather and landscape variables.  Nature is my proving ground.  Extreme terrain my love.

I’ve proven my tenacity, over and over, through Adventure Races, ice and rock climbing, mountain biking, snowshoeing, “CrossFit” and trail-running.  Each time, I am amazed at the capacity for what the human spirit and body can endure.  Every day is a new adventure, awaiting my curiosity, and willingness to begin again.
Climbing is my #1 athletic pursuit.  It requires 100% present moment concentration.  There can be no mistake in safety protocols or back-up procedures.  Each climb takes me to my edge, physically, emotionally and mentally.  It allows me to see with the eyes of an eagle.  It gives me vision for the grander scheme of my life, and great purpose.  

In addition, it teaches you the gift of “falling.”  Falling is a metaphor that runs through our lives like a thread.  We all fall down.  It is scary when we do.  The question is “Are you going to get back up?”  The fall will rattle your insides to the core.  It can make your heart race, and your knees weak.  But the triumph of finishing a route, you’ve been “projecting” (falling over and over on), is a sense of satisfaction I’ve never felt on the ground.  It gives you confidence in your capability to face fear, push your physical limits, and realize you can get back up.

My ability to be a “Tough Chik” lies in the “falling down” in my life.  And, in my tenacity to climb back up.  This lesson, I learn on the rock and ice, “trickles” into every area of my life:  marriage, relationships, family, work, etc.

The message I offer to “Tough Chiks” everywhere, and yes ladies, you all are “Tough Chiks,” is to find the peace in the “falling” process.  This is easier said than done sometimes, and is an ongoing lesson for all of us.  Some days are easier than others.  But, if we can all strive to find the tranquility in this falling down/getting back up process, then a great gift will unfold in your daily life:  one of self-esteem, confidence, and the knowing that nothing can break your spirit.  You are free.  Just like the birds above you.  Like the stoic rock around you, and the living earth that awaits you to discover it, like a child full of wonder.  Everyday.

For more information on Almine Barton, Licensed Acupuncturist, Certified Fitness Trainer, “CrossFit” Coach, you may visit her website at:   www.alminewellness.com


Haley @ Climb Run Lift Mom said...

Great post! I absolutely agree with you 100% about climbing, Almine. I feel the same way about it. It's taught me so many incredible things about myself, I'm amazed to actually sit and think about how much it's changed my life. I love having a fellow climbing Tough Chik!

Niki said...

Well said! I love hearing from my fellow Tough Chiks!


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