This past weekend I pushed my body YET again and double-dog-dared it to risk everything! Fear not readers! This blog will not be turning into a blog of “Look what race I did now!”. I will however, occasionally write about progress in becoming the challenger of my body rather than being the challenged. I do find it important to write about this particular race because it was a very different kind of race, pushing the limits of my most limiting side-effects.
The race: Mudderland 2013 5K and obstacle course.
The scene: Sand, mud, mud, and more mud.
The challenges: Many very steep sand hills to run up, a tight rope over a muddy pond, a seemingly never-ending pit of mud to army crawl through-with-no-leverage, the “Spiderman” an obstacle where upper body strength and balance are key in negotiating your way up a 19′ net across another 150′ net that is suspended high above the ground and then down yet another 19′ net, monkey bars above mud ponds, walls to scale, ladders to climb, ropes to swing, barrels to navigate on to cross ponds, balance beams across ponds, mud ponds to swim, barrels to jump, tires to high knee run through, and more….
The results: Time, 1:02:36.5. Place, 66th out of 396.
The why: Three reasons this time… 1) My old high school buddy Beth invited me to run it with her on a visit home from Hawaii, 2) to raise money for my charity, and 3) to challenge my body. I unfortunately didn’t get to run with Beth or my other friends. I didn’t even get to see Beth because we got lost due to construction and had to start at a different time. What was I challenging? With chemotherapy and my introduction to neuropathy, came some pretty serious balance issues that I work on daily. I wanted to challenge this balance issue by walking across tight ropes and balance beams above muddy water. It seemed like the logical thing to do:) Besides, it is more fun to risk it and fall in mud than in my living room getting frustrated. Haha! Also, having a PICC Line in each of my arms at different times for several months caused a lot of atrophy because I was very hesitant to use my arms. This course would challenge my upper body strength continuously!
The personal thoughts: Am I insane?? Yes! But, it is so much fun being insane! I was not ready for this challenge but I did it, dammit, and it was a blast! And painfully hard! A tenth of the way through I thought to myself, “If I see one more damn sand hill!!!”. Then came the army crawling through the mud. I started the race alone and as I looked around nobody else was alone so I was a little worried about not having a partner in crime to work together with on obstacles. Fortunately, I met two amazing people along the route, a brother/sister duo, Adam and Mallory. They were so nice, helpful, and a lot of fun. At one point through the mud pit, Adam stuck out his foot and said, “HOLD ON! I’ll PULL YOU THE LAST COUPLE FEET!”. If you knew how awfully hard that mud pit was, you would know how unbelievably kind that was for him to do. I really regret not exchanging information with them. They were very nice people. Balancing took laser focus, but I did it. There were many times throughout this race I wondered if I could finish but I kept pushing through, determined to stay with my newly found buddies, Adam and Mallory, and complete what I started. I will never give up on this journey.
The words of encouragement for my readers: Of course, always talk to your doctor – but if you are cleared, push yourself. It may hurt, it may hurt a lot. You may want to give up, you may be tired for days afterwards. You may look like a fool, you may fail, you may be a lot of things, but you may just succeed. The attempt in itself is a success. Everything else is icing. Start small and build yourself up, every day. Never give up. On days you feel like you can’t do it, do it anyway – even if it is a 5 minute walk.