Tough Mudder and My Glass Case of Emotion

We have this thing in our house: we love Will Ferrell. This scene above from the movie Anchorman has become a reminder to laugh when things get overwhelming. As I sat lost in thought about my new swim-bike-run sticker getting ready for Tough Mudder this weekend, my husband looked over at me and asked, “Are you in a glass case of emotion?!” (This is of course belted out in his best Ron Burgundy voice.) Yes, I was. And I still am.

Tough Mudder is like nothing else. It really is no joke. Last year I signed up for this race event when it came through Seattle, but due to illness and hubby being deployed, I just couldn’t do it. I am certain I made the right decision to delay. I never would have survived. I had no team, and a team is indeed what you need. I have mixed feelings about this race. There are so many things I loved about it! I reconnected with a childhood friend for this one!

Tough Mudder with CP
We were in elementary school together!

11+ miles of obstacles and muddy fun. Tough Mudder comes complete with electro shock therapy, mud, muddy water, ice baths, and heights.  Ah, the heights. (No, sadly I’m not referring to the ill-fated early 90’s sitcom spin-off.) Heights as in serious alto phobia – the irrational fear of heights. I can get on a plane. I can climb up a few steps on a ladder. I have a visceral reaction to carnival rides. I literally wanted to vomit, cry, and poop my pants when faced with this:

Walk the Plank

The “Walk the Plank” obstacle is a 20 ft plunge into a mud pond. I can swim. I have no problem with water. I can even dive. It’s the free fall drop that I can’t make myself do. Not that I didn’t try. Oh, my did I try. I felt like hot acid was being poured into my gut.

Tough Mudder sucks

Fear is not a good look. I was wrestling with myself trying to force myself to just do the damn thing. I really wanted to be the one to face this fear and come up through the other side.

Tough Mudder with help

The first aid dude even came up to jump it with me. He was rooting for me. They all were. Sadly, I just couldn’t do it. (I’m literally trying not to puke on this guy.) I shame-walked back down and met up with the rest of the team and on we went. Black wetsuit dude stopped me and gave me the biggest muddy bear hug and whispered in my ear, “Girl, you got up there and tried. It ain’t no joke facing fear. It’s tough. You did good. There is no shame in that.”

And as I sit here in the coffee shop relieving it, I’m wiping away the tears of frustration that I just couldn’t do it. And yes, I’m in my glass case of emotion thinking about the graciousness of that guy and how he really didn’t have to say anything to me at all. He could have said nothing. I’m so glad he spoke up. As I ran the next leg wiping away wet anger spewing from my eyes, I knew I had two choices. I could either cry and bitch in my head for the remaining 10 or so miles and mentally beat myself up and have a miserable time, or I could wipe away the hot sting and do my damnedest to get through every other obstacle to the best of my ability.

I chose the latter.

Tough Mudder walls That’s me climbing over walls! With the assistance of a kick ass team – I climbed over walls, rocks, slid down a 60ft mud hill, and experienced Arctic Enema. That was a thrill like no other!

arctic20enema203

Obviously, this is not me, but you get the idea. It’s a double-length dumpster that you jump into on one side, have to submerge completely to get to the other side, and when you come up, you realize that it’s SOLID ICE. Before your body is completely numb, you have to heave your body out. It’s insane. I loved it. I kind of wanted to do it again. There were other obstacles – climbing through drains filled with muddy water, icy floats on your back clinging to chain link fence where only your face peeks out to breath.

Even Mt. Everest:

Mt. Everest 2
Taking a run up a wall! (a few times!)

Mt. Everest conquered I finally did it on the 4th or 5th attempt. It was crazy hard.

Tough Mudder Mt. Everest

And it was crazy fun.

Tough Mudder

I actually didn’t get shocked. I strategized my movements and slithered through! Kind of feel like I cheated. But apparently, the Tough Mudder people didn’t think so:

 

The Headband is mine

Cause I got my orange headband!

Band in hand, I went off to retrieve my bag and catch up with my family.  Stopped twice by different volunteers, they each came up to ask if I was the one that couldn’t Walk the Plank. I affirmed that it was me. Steeling myself for the pity, I looked up to discover myself in another hug, and a hearty clap on the back. I was told I was awesome despite the lack of a jump. “Even people who do jump can’t finish this race. You done good, kid.”

And you know what? There’s always next year…

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Tattoo

When I was 16 I REALLY wanted a tattoo. Really. A lot. But when my mom asked me what I wanted – I was always at a loss. I could never come up with something that I knew I’d be okay with at 90, or in a place that wouldn’t sag or droop or just look ridiculous all stretched out. That and I really detest needles and pain.
My friend Katy has a few tattoos (Eric has one too) but nothing ever grabbed me. Then Katy explained what each of her tattoos meant and why she got them. She also described a tattoo as a symbol of a significant event or to bookmark an important chapter of your life.
This year has been an incredible one. And I know that even at 90, I’m still going to be proud of losing weight, running marathons, and doing all kinds of things I never thought I would. And now I can add getting a tattoo to that list! (By the way – it hurts like CRAZY! Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s “no big deal” it hurts! It was really all I could do not to kick the guy in the head with my other leg!) I have to admit – I was a complete pansy for the first 20 minutes or so. I sat up to watch as he added color and the distraction of watching him (and my leg kind of going numb) eased the pain a bit – but it still wasn’t pleasant. You really have to want one to sit through that!
And you really need a strong hand to squeeze!! Luckily, Katy was my hand and she was very good at distracting me with all kinds of stories! Hopefully the feeling has returned to her fingers…..
Originally, I thought about getting a running man, since running has been the catalyst for so much of my growth this past year. And I knew I wanted to incorporate the 13.1 and the 26.2 marathon distances somehow.  Then I thought of the journey as a whole and perhaps a tattoo that had the running man down a path – but there wasn’t just one thing that really stuck with me. Running has been the starting point, yes, but its the weight loss, the learning to make new friends, trying new things, not being afraid of failure, having energy and gaining strength in so many areas that I never knew I had, or thought I had lost.
While considering all this change, I began to wonder what animal goes through a complete transformation?
A caterpillar.
It goes through a metamorphosis and becomes a butterfly.
And essentially that is what I feel like.
And as a friend of mine put it – “Dang girl! Spread your wings and fly!”
And that is just what I intend to do!

More From the Marathon….

They finally made the professional photos available for download from the Honolulu Marathon!

 

Some of the pictures included in the package were various shots in and around Waikiki and the areas where we ran……

The early morning ceremonies were spectacular!

This truly is a stunning place to live. There is much I am going to miss about living here.

The downtown Christmas lights were on full display as we ran!

And there were various photographers along the run capturing us in all our glory…

….and in tougher moments….this was taken about mile 22-24.

Smiling pretty for the camera….

And the finish line!!! I was in so much pain and I was so relieved that it was finally over! Almost 7 hours of running/walking was INSANE!!!

 

 

 

Unforgettable moments and an unbelievable experience! So glad I pushed through and did it!