This weekend I got to go play in the mud with my friends in Albuquerque. For those of you who do not know, New Mexico’s state motto is The Land of Enchantment. For me, it is simply where some of my muddy friends live.
The race location made it easy to choose a meeting up point, the 505 also happens to be convenient for the Texan, Coloradians, and Arizonians. (Is this the right way to say that? Coloradian? Arizonian? I have no idea.) I think I underestimated the altitude difference. Lubbock is about 3200 feet above sea level. The park where the race was held is about 6700 feet above sea level. I believe that would not have felt as different, except I have been spending most of my time in Mount Pleasant, which is about 350 feet above sea level. I did not know I would be craving supplemental oxygen in the last mile.
Now, this is ONLY a 5K, this should have been a cake walk. Yeah, right. Someone did not get the memo. I am a princess. Where were my gladiators who were supposed to carry me? Oh, I know. They were on top of the swing set with the rope ladder that is my new nemesis.
It could not have been that tall, maybe just 8 feet or so. I did climb up high enough that all I needed to do is swing my leg over and crawl down the other side. It is so easy! Damn. There is no way I am climbing over that. Why am I so paralyzingly afraid of heights? People try to be supportive and nice. “You can do it!” “Almost there!” “Go Nyki!” Grrrr. Bite me. I don’t do well with supportive comments. They leave me all angsty and resentful. Climbing over things kills me. I have no idea why I am so petrified of this. Someday I will figure it out.
Now, if you have been reading my blog, or even just talking to me since I started all this muddy fun, you know I did a Tough Mudder with my health club friends. You know what a big deal it all is, and you know I am doing another one in October. This little 5K should have been easy! It kicked my tail! The Tough Mudder is 10-12 miles with about 20 obstacles, and this was a little over 3 miles with about 20 mud pits, and maybe 7-8 other obstacles.
Let me be completely honest, being a fat chick rolling around and trying to climb out of muddy pits with a slew of other people poses certain hazards. There is no traction. A little part of you dies when you go sliding backwards from the top back into the slimy abyss. Then, you slowly realize you are holding your friends back. Now, it is time to push yourself on. You stop laughing and joking. You are concentrating on not looking like a fool.
I suppose I may have looked like I was dying. Complete strangers were offering words of support. I get it. You are trying to be nice. There was not one word of negativity spoken out loud. It was all in my head. In spite of the negative mantra playing on repeat in my head, it was FUN! I had to remind myself I was having fun, and I have come to the conclusion this is what it takes for me. I have spent years telling myself what I CAN’T do… and this new way of life is still foreign to me. That’s just fine. I always wanted to see foreign lands.
There were a ton of mud pits. I climbed through a lot of them, then I was just trying to get through the darn course. I was tired. I was grumpy. I desperately wanted to take my shoes off. There was mud caked in places mud should never be. Then, we got to the end. There was a giant ladder thing that led to a slide. No big deal right? WRONG! It looked like a straight drop down to certain death. There were people behind me, so there was no way to edge my way back down. I was facing mortal humiliation or mortal fear. So, down I flew. There were most likely (I know there really were) obscenities spewing from my mouth. It was one of the scariest half seconds of my life. When I came crashing off the end of the slide, I was laughing so hard. It was so much fun.
Then, we were done. There was none of the crying and sheer relief that came from finishing Tough Mudder. This was just a short jaunt in the park. I woke up a little sore the next morning, but my body was not in severe pain, simply wishing for death. Nope, just a few groans when I had to sit or stand.
So, what is the big deal? I am learning to go out and do harder things. I am learning to quell my inner mean girl. She is mostly just mean to me anyway. I don’t need that girl hanging around. She interferes with my adventures.
I have friends all over the country, and even a few in other countries. It is so great to be able to go experience new things with these people. I am so excited to keep finding new adventures. It is a little bittersweet to leave my new friends behind for the trip home, back to reality. No worries though, I am headed back to the 505 in a couple of weeks to go to a brew fest… hopefully, there will be no mud.