Some days it's just hard to get up to go sweat and pound a heavy bag until my arms feel numb.
On these hard days I think about the Russians.
Out of all the stories I've read, there are two women who are really amazing to me: Marina Raskova and Lyudmila Pavlichenko.
Lyudmila was a sniper. With a confirmed 309 Nazi kills, she is regarded as the most successful female sniper ever. She was in active combat for an entire year. Since she was a sniper, enemy snipers were always on the look out for her; she killed 36 of them. The woman is a bad ass.
Marina was a fighter pilot. She convinced Joseph Stallin to form three combat regiments for women. These regiments she commanded and flew with were responsible for over 23,000 missions and dropping over 3,000 tons of bombs. The female fighter pilots were given biplanes which were nothing more than a wooden frame covered in canvas. They were not provided with weapons, radar, or even a parachute. They became know as the "Night Witches" because they would complete their missions in the dark and they would turn off their engines just before they would attack so the Germans couldn't hear them coming.
I know boxing isn't nearly as difficult or as scary as killing Nazis, but the courage and determination of these women inspires me like nothing else. When things feel too hard for me and I feel my body approaching the breaking point, I remember that there have been women who have survived wars, preserved their lives and protected their families, and they became truly strong people. I want to be strong too, so I get up and keep working. It's the only way.