Let me just tell you about my Kel. I have always said that if God combined my work ethic and her athleticism, we would have been an olympic athlete. No really, she is that good (at everything). Growing up, she had this ease about her. Nothing was too hard, she caught on to everything easily. I will never forget the first time she ran the 800 meter at a track meet on a whim and beat me, like it was easy. A race I trained for day in and day out. She hated it and never ran it again. Or when people made fun of me when I was in 8th grade and she was in 7th and she played Varsity basketball and I didn't. The funny thing was, I honestly never cared, we all had our own identities. The only reason I tell you these things, is so you can understand the magnitude of what she lost. Her athletic ability was a blessing that later earned her a full ride scholarship to college. Her confidence was admirable, and her ability to move her body as she pleased was always something that I always wished I had. The way I am describing her journey makes her life sound easy, but it is quite the opposite. Keller had these abilities her whole life, and lost them so quickly. She lost her identity. She lost the one thing that had always been constant in her life. I want to share her story with you, because even though she went from a college athlete to a person who couldn't even walk upright, She found her strength. She found it in a relentless fashion that only Kel is capable of. Not only has she found her physical strength, but by losing it for a period of time, she found out the other wonderful gifts God blessed her with. I asked her to write this because for any of you who feel lost, or hopeless with your health; it can always be found, and you can come back stronger than you ever thought possible.
Because Blaine has been so busy, she asked me quite some time ago if I would write a post on her blog about my journey with fitness. I immediately responded with a yes, I miss being a self-proclaimed blogger, I love the way that it made me come alive behind a keyboard. And it’s funny that I’m writing a post about fitness, because I literally used to hate anything that had to do with being in shape. Let me tell you my story.
Athletics have always come quite naturally to me. I was that annoying kid that could pick up just about any sport and be fairly good at it in a short amount of time (you know that kid, everyone hates that kid.) But I fell in love with basketball when I was in the sixth grade. It wasn’t the being in shape part that I loved, it was the way that I could control what my body did; but I couldn’t control what the ball did. It was a skill that took practice; and I was lucky that God gave me the talent that would later earn me a full-ride scholarship to a college that I got to choose..because I absolutely did not practice too often when it wasn’t mandatory or during season. See, I hated running. I hated lifting. I hated the way my body felt after. I hated the way it took up so much time (because I had so many other important things to do when I was in high school?) I just hated it. So what happened? It stopped. I got hurt and it stopped. I no longer got to chose whether or not I could play basketball; my body made that choice for me, and for the first time; the one thing that I loved about basketball the most, made me not able to do it anymore.
I’m not going to go into the details of my injury and the extent that it changed my life; most of you probably know about it anyways. But it changed my outlook completely; my mental health improved dramatically because my physical health was taken from me for an extended amount of time. And I knew if I were to ever work to get back into shape again, it would be harder. I would have to be dedicated, I would have to learn to listen to my body and I would have to start slow. But I was that annoying kid, the one that could do anything and be fairly good at it; so you could imagine my frustration when I lost my sense of lateral movement almost completely. When I tried to keep my balance to stretch and I couldn’t do it anymore. When I ran a few steps and had to stop because of the pain that it caused in my hips. It was frustrating, so I did what any good athlete would do; I quit. I quit because I was the same girl that didn’t want to put in the time to actually make something of myself in a physical sense, until a few months ago.
I was introduced to the love of my life (dead lifts) by the love of my life (Jeremy Moore) haha. No but really, one day Jeremy took me to the YMCA and told me he was going to teach me how to do a dead lift. I immediately fell in love with the mechanics of it and of course, the way that I had to control what my body did to be good at it. But with weight lifting, I learned that you could have the right mechanics and the perfect form but if you don’t work at it daily; you will remain stagnant. You cannot progressively get stronger by lifting one time in your life; it’s something that requires dedication, passion and your time. And for the first time in my life, I was willing to give that to fitness. I fell in love with it. I found it. Finally.
What we so often miss as human beings, in more ways than one, is that no two people are the same. That everyone has a different drive, a different vision, a different passion. And that’s okay. That’s good. That’s what makes us who we are. Blaine and Bailey love to run and do loads of cardio, and I think that sounds pretty awful (although I’m thinking about running an ultra with them) and Reese loves to lift heavy weight. And I think that maybe I’m caught somewhere between the both of them. But maybe you, whoever you are, don’t have it figured out quite yet; and maybe you really don’t want to because you aren’t ready. Maybe you found yourself like me a few years ago, with a mentality that constantly screams “give up” and “you can’t do this anymore” – so to you, don’t listen to those voices, because those voices are a lie. Your body is a beautiful, capable, wonderful machine that was created by a good God who wants us to be healthy, happy and passionate. It’s you versus you the same way that it’s me versus me. Set fitness goals; but do it because you love it, not because you’re forced. Do it for yourself, not so you’ll fit a mold. My goals? By the end of 2015 I want to be able to dead lift around 400 lbs. Right now I’m at 325. I want to be able to squat well over 200 lbs, right now I’m lucky to get 3 reps at 155 without a spot. I want to be able to bench around 180, right now I can get 145 for one rep with a ton of difficulty. I also want to run an ultramarathon in November with my sisters. But my main goal is to be happy with a body that is capable of all of these things, because sometimes loving yourself enough to start is the hardest part.
be great & be love,
P.S. I LOVE YOU SO SO SO MUCH Keller Hayden Menke. You are more of an inspiration to me than you realize.