I'm not the fastest, not the most agile. I'm not graceful or dexterous, I'm not the strongest. Three nights a week, I drag myself out of work, away from home, out into the bitter cold, or the blistering heat, or the howling wind, or the driving rain, to face these realities. I strap on my gear and I lace up my skates to do battle. I chase Fast and strive to stay on its tail. I dance with Agile to keep up with its spontaneous rhythm. I stretch with Grace to match its fluidity and I push back against Strength to earn its respect. Every week, I line up and face off with these seemingly indomitable forces and sometimes, I win. Mostly, I lose. But I've got a secret weapon.

When armed with this weapon, I find the motivation to go in again. I hit the gym on my only day off, I spend money on new wheels instead of new clothes, I work an eight, nine, 10, 12 hour day only to rush out into the night to kiss a cold concrete floor. I take every frustrating moment, every heartache, every stress, every setback, every weight on my shoulders and push them back with every lap. I ignore the bruises, I tape up the wounds, I sustain the injuries because I want to see if tonight's the night where I beat Fast, I juke around Agility, I out-spin Grace, and I knock down Strength. 

I go into battle--the battle with fatigue, the battle with frustration, the battle with pain, the battle with myself--armed and determined to do the best I can, win or lose. I polish this weapon, I tend to it and strengthen it with work, with understanding, with time, with kindness, with tough love, with patience, with forgiveness, with acceptance. 

I am surrounded by those who leave cozy family dinners, rush from college campuses with books in tow, drive from miles away to face their own challenges. Some are fast, some are agile, some are graceful, and some are strong, but when bonded together, all are all things. 

My secret weapon is my team. Win or lose, you'll never find me unarmed. 

And I'm always up for a fight.