Monday, August 27, 2012

What a Fabulous Weekend!

 I have been a little busy in the past several days!

On Thursday I took half a day off work to organize some clothes that I needed to sell. I'm glad I took the time off because by the time I bought the things I needed (stickers, new Sharpies, a lock box, etc.) and did all of the organizing, the day was about over. I did a morning workout that day but did not get to do an afternoon/evening workout. By the time I got home (meaning back to my parents' where I stayed for the weekend) and had dinner, it was just too late to go out and bike or run. I was glad to have done something earlier in the day!

Friday was sale day. My clothing sale turned into part yard sale too, with a few household items.  Not many of the yard sale items sold, but I did manage to sell lots of clothes, so that made me happy. I was there from eight until about three and needed to get a run in, since I was going to be running on Saturday morning.  I left to go home and get something I'd forgotten and get ready to run.  I was able to get about a 40 minute run in, so that was nice.  It felt good to get out and run, although it was pretty hot. I met a couple other friends who wanted to look at clothes around five that evening, then it was back to the house to shower and get ready for a party.  I was home by 10:30 and in bed shortly after and, of course, could not sleep.  I think I was too excited and nervous about the mud run on Saturday!

Saturday came and I didn't feel as nervous as I had. I was still a little fearful but definitely excited. I got up and got ready, made my protein shake for breakfast, and met my friend around seven.  Our race was at 10 but we needed to be there a little early (by nine) for registration. We got there, registered and walked around for a little while as we waited Finally it was time to line up and get it started. By that time I honestly didn't feel nervous or scared anymore. I just felt like "I'm here and I'm going to go run through the woods, do some obstacles, and deal with a little mud." I had an odd sense of calm.

The run started as just a little run, then we encountered some small mud pit areas with some hills to climb. We ran a little more and then we got to what looked like a muddy obstacle course. There were lots of muddy hills to go up and then down into mud pits.  I can't even remember how many hill and pit combos there were at that point, but the pits were fairly shallow. There was a set of tubes that we had to crawl through too. It wasn't too bad; the muddy was pretty runny...More like brownish water. The thicker mud we encountered in the woods was a little harder; the shoes wanted to stick in it. 

After that part of the course, we ran a little farther and encountered some obstacles... Climbing a wall that was about six feet high, running for a bit, then climbing another wall (this one made of tires)... I think there was another wooden wall in the mix too. There was so much, I feel as though I forgot a couple of the ("easier") things...Like the walls, which I had feared. Honestly? They were not much of a challenge (until the second lap when my arms were a little shaky).

We ran through the woods again, jumped some logs, went into more mud pits and climbed out of them. We found more tubes to crawl through; smaller than the first set. Rather than crawling through them, we had to do a "worm" type maneuver. Then there was more running and more mud. We got to an open, sunny area and finally got some water, then had a straight run for a short while. We had more walls too go over (really looked like higher, plastic, wide hurdles). I think there were three of those in the set.

Then we waited in line.... There were waits for a few of the obstacles, like the tubes to craw through but the biggest wait was for the giant (60 foot) mud slide. Our wait was probably a good five minutes for the slide. The line was very long, wrapped around a corner and took a bit of time to go through. We slid down and then climbed back up the hill. There were options to skip the obstacles but we wanted to do them all; wait or not!

 After the hill we did a short run and found a set of logs to duck under, then there were a series of three or four pretty high sand hills to climb up and down (no mud this time!).  After the sand hills there was a barrel type set up with a net over all the barrels. We had to weave our way back and forth, bent over.  Then we encountered the large net that we had to army crawl under.

 Then it was more running and jumping logs for a short time, and then we hit the huge mud pit and hill. The water in this pit went up to our chests and it was by far the largest, and hardest to navigate (lots of drops throughout). The hill was a bit of a beast to climb up, as it was super slippery. Naturally we took the harder side of the hill (we didn't realize it; it was just less crowded) the first time through. then it was back up the trail past the starting area and through the course a second time. Honestly by that second time I was getting worn out; especially after the mud hill and pit area...PHEW! The obstacles were easier the second time through because we knew what to expect, but they were also harder.... My body was like "what are you doing to me?!" My muscles ached and thinking back I don't know how I pushed on.

Apparently I am a heck of a lot stronger than I realized.

I think part of my success in completing this course was my friend.  It's a lot harder to give up or let the "I can't" mentality kick in when you're alone. At least it is for me. Having someone there, doing it with me, made me keep going. I didn't experience the "I can't mentality" at all. I slowed down a lot, complained about the extra five to seven pounds I was carrying around (mud) and how heavy my feet felt but I kept going. I walked for a couple brief periods but then ran again. I know that toward the end my jog was very slow, but I kept moving.

My friend is a much faster runner than I am and could've probably done the course a little faster than we did, but she stuck to my pace. We were doing this race for fun, not time, so she didn't mind sticking with me. Time would've been hard to focus on, especially with the waiting lines for obstacles.  One guy made a comment that he thought he was at an amusement park. I also kept getting stuck behind people who were slower than me, with no way to get around them. That wasn't helpful. I'd finally hurry and get around them and catch up with my friend (a couple times she had to wait for me). This was a lot different than the average 5K race. Running on pavement is much different (easier, in my opinion) than trail running... I also don't generally encounter obstacles when I run!!

I feel such a HUGE sense of accomplishment and pride in myself after finishing this race. A few years ago I never would have considered something like this. I spent my childhood years being fearful... Fearful to climb too high in a tree, fearful of falling off of something I was climbing, fearful of riding my bike too fast... I was fearful of getting hurt (physically).  I was also fearful of other things because of the risk of being hurt emotionally. I loved sports but quit basketball because I was afraid I wasn't good enough and wouldn't pass try-outs. I didn't try out for tennis (okay, I KNOW I wasn't the best at that but enjoyed it) or volleyball for the same reason. I gave up some of my favorite things, and being active, because I was afraid I wasn't good enough and didn't want to risk the rejection. I stuck to the the things that I KNEW I was good at rather than challenge myself with the things I'd need to work on. I spent the rest of my adolescence this way, and it continued into early adulthood. I was just too afraid of being rejected or failing to try new things so I avoided them. 

In the last couple years since I've changed my lifestyle I'm finding that I can do more than I ever thought I could. I don't allow my mentality to hold me back. Sure, it took me a while to decide that I would definitely do the mud run. I was still afraid....Until that morning. Then I just... Did it. I just went out there, knowing that I had a goal and was not going to let myself quit. I was surprised that it wasn't nearly as scary or as hard (but it WAS hard) as I imagined it to be.  It wasn't TOO hard for me. I didn't get last place (always a fear; I wouldn't want first either because I don't like standing out). I didn't fall and break anything (sure I slipped in mud, but I laughed about and I think a lot of people did!). I came home with bruises, bumps, scratches, and sore muscles but those things heal. Until they fade, I'll be wearing them like a badge of honor. When someone asks what happened, I'll gladly tell them that I completed a mud run with obstacles and that I now feel like a bit of a bad ass. I've earned the bragging rights to that. Plus the more I say it out loud, the more it reminds me of what I accomplished.

My family was proud of me for doing it, but they were also shocked. They know the girl who never attempted anything like that. They know the girl who would not voluntarily get dirty let alone run a race through pits of mud. I texted my parents and sent them pictures after. My Mom said that my Grandparents couldn't believe it. I think they wondered if I knew what I was getting myself into. The cool thing? I did.  I knew I'd get dirty. I knew that I would ruin the clothes I was wearing. I knew I'd be sore. I wasn't as aware of the fact that I'd smell so much like a swamp, but I was okay with it.

This is such a change for me! I'm proud of myself for changing. I'm proud of myself for trying new things. I feel like a new person! As much I feel I allowed myself to miss out on things, I'm not going to look back at that. I'm going to keep moving forward and keep trying new things. I'll continue to challenge myself physically. I love the feeling of accomplishment and knowing that I CAN do things I didn't know I could. I believe in myself now... Talk about a refreshing change in thought!!

I was pretty exhausted after the race. My body ached and was tired.  I went home and babysat my cousin's little girl. I'm glad my Mom was around to help out.... I'm not sure I would've survived chasing an almost two-year old after pushing my body toward its limit (I don't think it was at its limit though!). That was my only workout on Saturday. The three of us girls went out for dinner and I had what I felt was a well-deserved beer. One was a good reward, definitely enough, and was all I needed. I laid down with my cousin's little girl (to put her to bed) around 9:15...and I fell asleep too! Worn out? I think so!!

The next day I decided that I didn't want to run so I'd do some biking instead. I planned a routine from my parents' house to my dad's business which is about six miles when doing a "straight shot." I added some distance and it ended up being about 10.4 miles one way.  I had originally planned on my Dad driving me back to the house, but he said "it's only six miles. You can bike 12 miles."  So? After re- hydrating I rode back on my bike. My route back was also longer than six miles... It ended up being 8.3.  My "light" biking workout ended up being 18.7 miles.

Yesterday afternoon I wasn't feeling the greatest. At first I feared that I had caught some kind of "bug" in the mud. I felt hot and kind of flushed, almost like I had a fever. My stomach felt a little irritated like maybe I was going to vomit or I had some indigestion. I dismissed the idea of feeling ill when I started feeling a little better in the evening. I realized that it was probably just from pushing my body so hard over the weekend. I do not normally run through muddy obstacle courses or bike nearly 19 miles. I spent the afternoon with family and rested a little. I think that helped me feel better, and that my body just needed to recover from all the activity. I definitely put it under some stress that it wasn't used to. I am still sore today!!

I suppose that's about it for the weekend re-cap. It was physical and a bit exhausting. I loved every exhausting minute of it, but I was probably most fond of my time spent with the little one. Of course, there's not much that can top spending some quality time with a child.

Have a wonderful, healthy week!!!


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