I’m not really sure if I hit an early midlife crisis or if maybe the women in my family have a genetic mutation that makes us think we have superpowers and can defy laws of human aging. Most likely we are just crazy and are rarely grounded an any sort of reality. Typically I don’t waste my time trying to figure out WHY I make insane choices…I’ve just become accustomed to them.
Perhaps I was bored. Maybe I felt like running two businesses and being a single Mom just wasn’t enough. Whatever the reason, somehow, someway I got it in my head that this year I was going to train for and run obstacle course races. You know the ones I’m talking about….where people crawl through mud, jump into dumpsters of ice water, and then voluntarily get electrically shocked all the while trying to run a half marathon. Good, wholesome, family fun.
Both of my parents have been fitness trainers at some point in their lives. I grew up in a pretty healthy, fitness-focused environment. That being said, I think that the last time I ran was in 1998 when I was walking back to my dorm at night after having watched, “Bride of Chucky” at a friend’s house. As I was walking down the dark campus path, I created a complete mental fabrication that there was eminent danger right behind me in the form of an evil doll with a chainsaw.
My first thought was of relief that if some Chucky doll killed me that night I would not have to worry about my French II test the next morning (OUI!). Plus, being the first person ever killed by a doll that came to life COULD have publicity and monetary perks for my surviving family. (Uh, yeah…you’re WELCOME surviving family members.) But after a while I was 100% creeped out and, since mother nature has a sick and twisted sense of humor, it was right at that moment that a tiny gust of wind blew a plastic grocery bag right into my face.
I’m sure my blood-curdling-1960’s-horror-flick scream would have won me an Academy Award AND been enough to stun any human (or doll) attacker due to the immense pain in their inner ear. But just in case it wasn’t enough, I wildly flared my arms around me like I was being attacked by a swarm of bees. Adrenaline shot through my body and I RAN. I ran like Forest Gump. I didn’t know where I was going or if I would ever stop. I just kept running and running and running. It felt like I ran for hours until I finally made it to my dorm where I stood sobbing and trying to catch my breath for 15 minutes. The next morning my friends and I visited the site of the “attack” and determined that I had run a whopping 90 meters.
Needless to say, running 10-12 miles is a little bit out of my comfort zone. Sort of like a man trying to birth a baby…without an epidural…or booze….or a vagina….would be out of his comfort zone. If I could barely run 90 meters 15 years ago then running 10-12 miles with military-style obstacles is damn near suicidal.
But if nothing else, I’m persistent….and stupid. So I did what any person concocting an insane idea does….convince other borderline crazy people it’s a good idea.
“I’m pretty sure we won’t DIE,” I plead to my sister, Becky.
Becky: “Remember when you gave me whooping cough last autumn and I almost died?”
Me: “You’re exaggerating. You didn’t almost DIE. You were merely incapacitated for 4 months.”
Becky: “I still sound like I have emphysema just walking from my bed to the bathroom. How am I supposed to run 10 miles?”
Me: “So, I’m still pretty sure we won’t DIE.”
Related: Challenge Your Limits
Because she’s my sister and inherited the same genetically mutated genes as I did, she eventually agreed that “we probably won’t die,” was good enough for her.
I’m going to spare you the details of the conversations for the last 4 months, but visit any senior living facility and you’ll get an idea of our dialogue:
“I think my hip is popping out of place when I sit down.”
“The other day I my arms hurt so bad I couldn’t lift a glass to drink my protein shake so I got a straw. But then my abs hurt too bad to bend over and drink out of the straw….so I just took a nap.”
“I’ve stopped throwing up after every workout so I think I’m improving.”
“Is it medically safe to apply 22 Icy Hot patches on your body all at once?”
I began improving and even began to gain a little confidence. I was able to run a full 90 minutes without puking and even started enjoying the mental time away from kids/work/life in general. Until…
Four weeks before my first event and I’m out with an ankle swollen the size of a tennis ball.
One of my many gifts is my stubbornness. While I have laid in bed for the last three weeks with my foot propped up like a good girl, there is nothing that will keep me from that race on Sunday.
So on my injured, left foot I have a sock, underneath a compression hose, which is underneath a supported ankle brace, which is inside a cross trainer shoe that has added gel supports in the heal. All of my foot gear weights approximately half of my body weight and I’m pretty sure the next body parts to say, “screw you,” are going to be my knee and hip from hauling this massive ankle brace thing around for miles and miles.
I’m hoping that none of the obstacles have water over 5 feet because, even though I threw away the warnings and directions, I’m pretty sure this brace does not ‘act as a flotation device in case of a water landing.’ I’m taking bets with my sister on how fast I’ll sink straight to the bottom.
Related: The Finish Line: One Foot In Front Of The Other
Over the past few months I’ve thought of a thousand different ways I could possibly die on this course…..dehydration from crying so hard, passing out face first in the mud and suffocating, dying from hypothermia in a dumpster full of ice because my muscles won’t move and my sister is more worried about saving herself. However, drowning from a 50 foot weight attached to my leg had not crossed my mind…until now.
I will share race pictures as soon as possible. Most likely they will all be photos of me in the fetal position and crying. Please leave a comment below….I need some last words of wisdom and humor from all of you to keep me going.