Me and Gym

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 Gym and I have a somewhat turbulent relationship. Sometimes we go hot and heavy for a while, and other times I ignore him and hope he will fade off into the sunset. The thing about Gym is he is always there waiting patiently for me to come back.

After a long break Gym and I argue a lot! He seems to enjoy leaving me in a sweaty heap of misgivings and regrets. Sometimes Gym is an asshole. Other times Gym does this amazing thing that leaves me prancing out the door feeling like a million bucks. I am obviously lying here. Gym never leaves me prancing. I usually meander out to the car feeling like a blob of insecurity and wondering why I let him torture me so much. 

Gym sucks at counting. I am pretty sure he manages to alter the laws of space and time once I walk through the door to his dungeon of torture. When I am with Gym a minute feels like an hour. That flight of stairs feels like a mountain I will never be able to climb again. I like to pretend masochism sounds like to fun to me, however I really don’t like being all sweaty and gross. At least not at the gym! Ewww. 

Gym has a bad habit of asking me to combine movements into a dance of graceful strength. I lose my balance or forget which movement comes next. Gym doesn’t let the bad ones count. This leaves me moderately annoyed. Gym has delegated some of my instruction to this charming, strapping young man who laughs when I glare at him. I keep telling myself it is a pleasure to spend an hour with this charming young buck. This is a lie! While he is adorable, it is the only reason I have not kicked his ass yet. Well, and the fact he could probably outrun me. 

Gym is a fickle lover. I know if I just keep at it, I will feel fantastic. I will regain some of the strength I have lost through my boycott.

It is hard to walk back into a gym after you have allowed yourself to walk away from your healthier lifestyle. You have forgotten how much it hurts to start over. I want to believe I will start to find the fighter I was becoming.

So, Gym and I are back together. I am going to keep my expectations realistic and look for improvements every day. I just want to find the confidence I know I can have. I want to be strong.

Gym’s little helper wants me to get a foam roller. I think Gym just likes hearing me moan. Damn you Gym!

Dashing Dirty through The Land of Enchantment

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Before the mud bath. I thought we were going to a spa. Where is my facial? You forgot the champagne. What is wrong with us?

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I had no idea there would be this much mud in our friendship.

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.

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Don’t worry- I am only moderately terrified.

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.

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Even my shirt knew! I am a princess! Thanks Rebecca for making the shirts. You are magic.

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.

This is a good picture. We were muddy and having a blast. There are still many more chances for face plants. I was still naive about how much muddy fun the course had in store for us.

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.

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I survived. It was fun. The Under Armour compression shorts were the best purchase I ever made. (There is not a pic of me in my underwear. Sorry folks.

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.

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See? Mud washes off.

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.

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On my way home!

Worlds Collide

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Photo by Mark Larsen

Finding myself in desperate need of an attitude adjustment was a bit humbling. After all, I had just completed a Tough Mudder. I was a badass. (Okay, I had just walked a Tough Mudder, with a group of guys who had lifted me up to make all the walls totally doable.) I was still a badass.

I have a nasty habit of bad mouthing myself, most of it is internal, but it often the only words I hear. This is the worst thing in the world for trying to get healthy.

I have been making a lot of changes in my life lately. I am trying to be more active, trying to write, and trying to get out more socially. I am amazed at how much internal resistance to change I face.

I struggle with all the changes. Making good decisions about food, sleep, and exercise. Going to the doctor, and taking the advice of the doctor. It is hard. Take boxing for example. I get frustrated when I cannot figure out the combination, or when I run out of breath. I get frustrated when my right calf cramps up. I also get frustrated when we are doing burpees. Although, that could just be because burpees suck.

On a side note: As I sit here writing this, a Nike commercial about women just came on. It was several different women saying the things that run through their heads while they are working out. Despite the voices saying “I can’t do this,” they kept going until it changed to “I did it.” That is the coolest thing that happens for me. I am steady saying “I can’t,” and I keep going until I did. I wonder how one actually changes the inner dialogue to “This sucks ass, but check out what I am doing.”

I have this idea for a story that I am trying to write. I keep starting it, and then I convince myself that I cannot possibly do it justice and I put it away. It’s really too bad that I keep talking myself out of writing it, because I really want to know what happens.

Yes, that’s right. I want to see what happens. I want to see what I can come up with. That is the awesome part of writing, I get to experience the story as I am writing it. It is daydreaming times a million.

My story is about a woman, who has a lot in common with me, however there are quite a few differences too. For one thing, she is a successful writer. She found success. You want to hear a secret? It did not solve anything, which is the crux of the story. I love this character. It is almost as if she is my chance to do what I really want to do with my life.

Wait a second! Before you start getting any crazy ideas, I am not going to quit my job and start writing the great American novel. This is just an exercise and my first attempt at fiction.

It is not surprising that my main character is a lot like me. People write what they know. I suppose you could also write to learn or explore. This one is just my first try. I hope that I am able to grow and get better as I continue this foray into fiction. I have to give myself the chance though.

Change is hard. Growth hurts. Wandering into the unknown takes a certain amount of courage. For a person who wants to avoid uncertainty, it takes an insane amount of bravery and willingness. I never claimed to be adventurous. The problem is that I want to go on adventures.

I want to live a full life. I want to explore all the possibilities. All I have to do is give myself the chance. I think there must be a middle ground where the worlds between fear and self-loathing and courage and adventure collide. I imagine that battle would be epic. This is where I should be. I can’t run away from the challenge, I have to face it head on.

This is where I will find peace. I have to keep walking through the fear until I get through the “I can’t do it,” to the “Look at what I did!” It’s going to be great. Once I get through some of the growing pains.

 

Pugnaciously and Pertinaciously Yours

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Words. I love words.

I love how using the proper word enables me to clarify my meaning when I am trying to explain something to someone.

The problem lies in my inability to find the right word at times.

For example, how do I describe myself?

  • quirky
  • eccentric
  • pugnacious
  • pertinacious
  • idiosyncratic
  • capricious
  • obstinate
  • resolute
  • open-minded (that one may be wishful thinking on my part)
  • intransigent
  • compassionate
  • curious

All of these words will work to describe me. Some of them are pretty similar, while others directly contradict the notion of the previous. If pertinacity and capriciousness both fit my personality, how can I be either? (By the way, if you don’t know any of these words- I recommend you download a dictionary app, or google them. I found a very interesting article about pugnacity and pacifism when I googled it earlier.)

So, here is the point. I am on a journey. (psst- we all are- that is what life is.) I have been told the whole song and dance about how you have to love yourself. Embrace who you are, appreciate you for you. It goes on and on. Be nice to yourself. LOVE YOURSELF. Sometimes, I am able to do that.

Other times, not as much.

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Who am I to be mean to that sweet boy’s mother?

People tell you to ignore the negative self-talk. The negativity that runs through your head. The worst part is, the negative stuff is just easier to believe. They tell you to look in the mirror and tell yourself “I love you.” Ugh. Don’t even get me started. Those are just words. I was raised to be strong and independent. I was told often that I was beautiful, and that I was loved.

I really have no excuse for the way that I talk to myself. I cannot explain why I judge myself so harshly.

I have a real conundrum when I look at the pictures of me working out or at the Tough Mudder. On one hand, I love that I have photographic evidence of it. On the other, I see a million flaws. I would never say the things I think about myself to another person, so why do I say them to me? I feel so strong and awesome after I workout. So, why does it fill me with so much dread?

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Why would this girl not be good enough to go to the gym? She loves it! Why can’t she go?

Because I am not there yet. I told myself for years that I would workout when I was thinner. I needed to lose weight before I could go to the gym. I am not sure how I expected this miraculous weight loss to happen, I just knew that I was not worthy of the gym until it happened. hmm. This line of thought makes a lot of sense right?

It’s the whole dress thing all over again. One of my goals was to lose enough weight to wear a dress. I know, dumb. Guess how I fixed the problem. That’s right! I went out and bought a dress. I wore the dress. Even now, I feel pretty fantastic in these dresses. I still have the negative thoughts every time I look at them in the closet, telling me I am not ready to wear the dress. I am not good enough. It is a constant battle. I get a negative thought, and I either give in to it, or I ignore it and go about my merry way. IMG_6182

Oh, and the negativity does not stop at the physical aspects of my personhood. I constantly tell my intelligent, somewhat articulate self that I am stupid, or uninteresting. Why? Why on earth would I tell myself that? I convince myself that no one cares what I have to say. (Despite repeated assurances to the contrary.)

So, if I know that the things I tell myself are not true, and if lots of other people whose opinions I respect contradict these lies, then why are these poisonous thoughts on a constant loop in my mind? When do they stop for good?

Now, don’t get all worried about me, I have plenty of tools to combat this problem. I have ways of dealing with myself that leave me pretty much okay most of the time. I am just perplexed at the pervasive nature of the thoughts. It’s like they are professional confidence killers for hire. Who hired them?

Oh, that’s right. I did! I am the one responsible. It is irritating. One more thing I can blame myself for. Do you see the inane nature of this? It is a perpetual cycle.

So, what is the answer?

I assure you, it is not looking in the mirror and murmuring sweet nothings to myself. (If you ever catch me doing that, I probably need either food or a drink because I will have lost whatever is left of myself to this insane cycle, and it could be a symptom of hypoglycemia or something.) I seem to be doing fairly well, with constant conscientious opposition to the negativity. As long as I remain vigilant, I suppose that I just might have a chance to convince myself to shut the hell up and get on with it already.

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The look on my face is hysterical. I need to find something to wear this dress to… Hey! I know! Sergio- wanna ask me out? I can wear this dress!

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Or, I may just wear a quirky hat. Or, maybe a tiara. I am still trying to figure out how to pull it off for every day wear.

So, I promise to ignore the little voice in my head (the one that screams louder than the rational one,) and to keep trekking along on this adventure. I am doing two more Tough Mudders. I am going back to boxing. I am going to eat well and right. I am even going to wear dresses that probably show a little too much cleavage, and wear a little too much eye makeup.

I am not going to stop having crushes on totally unobtainable men (Sergio Garcia- that one is for you.) I am going to go out-of-town to see a friend. I am going to seek to improve. I am going to work on my story (I still can’t call it a novel, but I really hope that is what it turns into.)

Despite the negativity, I am going to keep going. I know I am not the only one who struggles with this. Maybe that is the point. We all have problems. It’s a shame that mine just happens to be me.

 

*This whole post started with me trying to find the right word to describe myself- which led to a google search- which led to an article explaining why pugnacity was not always the best trait- which led to self-doubt- which birthed this diatribe of honesty. Sorry, I am not sorry.

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My One Regret: Tough Mudder- Mesa

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IMG_7972I just finished reading The Blogger’s account of the end of Tough Mudder. Those of you who know anything at all about it, know that it always ends with a trip up Everest and a dash through electricity.

I knew all along that Everest is not something I feel like I need to do. It just seems rather careless with a marginal knee. So, I never intended to do it. I did not expect to do what I did though.

I went and sat off to the side alone. I was not watching my teammates crushing this obstacle. I missed Amazing Daniel giving back to his team, one person at a time. You see, Daniel was paralyzed in a work accident. He still came and crushed every single obstacle Tough Mudder had to throw at him. Then, at the end, after he traversed a human ladder to the top of Everest, he stayed at the top and caught the hands of every member of our team to help them to the summit. I missed it.

I forgot about my team. I was frustrated, sore, tired, hungry, and irritable. More than anything, I was ashamed that I had stopped training for TM. I knew that I had brought all that pain and misery on myself. I hated feeling so weak and dependent on that course. I felt like the anchor that threatened to drag down the ship. I felt like I did not belong. I felt like they would have been better off without me.

Letting myself entertain those thoughts was a dangerous game to play. It sucked all my motivation out the door. It is unfortunate that I threw those dice three months before TM. I gave in to negativity. I stopped believing that I was worth fighting for. I unlearned all the lessons I thought I had learned. It is a slippery slope. Negativity only breeds more negativity. I knew that. I did it anyway.

Now, let’s keep in mind my team is awesome. They had supported me the entire time. No one made me feel this way. I did. I let the noise inside my head crowd out reality. The worst part about this whole journey to a healthier lifestyle is the way I talk to myself. I constantly undermine my successes and sabotage all that is good. I do that. No one does it to me. So, I am responsible for changing it.

Yes, TM was awesome.

Yes, TM was HARD.

Yes, I walked across the finish line- and celebrated with my team.

Yes, I hated a lot of it.

Yes, my life changed.

Yes, I made some new life long friends.

Yes, I changed my mind about some people.

I am planning to do two more Tough Mudders this year. Dallas and then I will rejoin the SDLHC in Philly. I have a lot of things that I want to do over.

  1. No crying about climbing over walls.
  2. No going off and ignoring my friends, just so I can entertain my own negativity.
  3. I will more prepared physically for the challenge.
  4. I won’t let my head do all the thinking.
  5. I will buy a waterproof camera and take a ton of pictures.
  6. I will share this experience with my son (In Philly)
  7. I will not shut out my best friend this time.
  8. I will remember that being quiet and ignoring the group, hurts people’s feelings.
  9. I will not lose my bib.
  10. I will figure out how to avoid blisters.
  11. I will get different underwear.
  12. I will laugh more.
  13. I will wear a damn TIARA. You know why? Because I am a damn Princess.

So, yeah. My biggest regret is that I missed Everest. It was a selfish move. I will not be making that mistake again.

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I really underestimated how much this would change my life.

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Nope- look at the bottom. I was terrified at that point. I swear, it is so much higher than it looks here.

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Nose wrinkle and all. I guess I did not care what I looked like. Maybe I stepped out of my head for a minute, and let my heart take over.

 

This is me. I am not starting over. I am continuing this quest. I may make mistakes, and I may have some regrets. That does not diminish what this experience was for me. Remember- in my new tribe, we have a saying:

We totally got this.

 

I am not one-size fits all. Not even close

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I have said it before. I will likely say it again. I am fat. Now, there are people who try to say things like:

“You are not fat. You have fat.”

I hate that. It makes me roll my eyes and want to scream. Give me a break. I am not in the mood to argue semantics. Do not undermine my intelligence by trying to put a positive spin on a potentially lethal medical condition. I deserve better than that. You deserve better than that.

Obesity is a medical condition. Morbid Obesity is a serious medical condition. I have that. It does not make me less of a person. It does not mean that I have zero self-worth. This is not some body dysmorphia issue. It is a medical fact. Here is the caveat. I am responsible for treating this disease.

For me, this is not due to something out of my control. I have made poor life-style choices. I ate junk food (I still do sometimes.) I have not been active enough (I am a little better, I need to work harder.) I did not put my physical health and well-being as a priority. Once again, this does not make me a bad person. Stop making excuses for me. I can do that all on my own.

As a morbidly obese nurse practitioner, I find the whole weight loss topic difficult to broach with my patients. I feel like I have no right to tell them what they need to do in order to get healthy. I am actually afraid that they are going to challenge me and ask exactly who I think I am? Well, let me tell you. I am an educated medical professional who has an obligation to try to help you achieve health and wellness. When I avoid this topic, I am not preserving either of our best interests. I am doing you a disservice.

I do not hesitate to admonish a patient for smoking, not taking their blood pressure medications, or not taking care of their diabetes. I lay out the worst case scenarios, and do my best to convince them that “you could die!” I ask questions to find out what the barriers to compliance are, and I try to help them find the tools they need to be healthy. So, why do I avoid the topic of weight loss? Why do I avoid asking them if they need tools to get healthy?

I have an obligation to be open and honest with myself, and my patients. I need to step up and take the time to find out why they struggle with living a healthier lifestyle. I never hesitate to make sure that my elderly patients who are losing weight have enough to eat, and to inquire about who helps the ones with mobility issues get their needs met.

I am not insinuating that I know the best method for everyone to lose weight. I am not insinuating that everyone who is overweight or obese is going to die. I do know without any reservation that there is no such thing as morbid obesity being healthy. Even if you have not developed any obesity related complications, I assure you, you will.

As a medical professional, I want to see my community thrive. I want to improve the health and wellness of my community as a whole. I want to improve my health and wellness.

Starting to workout and eat right is a daunting task. You feel isolated. You feel like you are on display. People do not hesitate to walk up and exclaim “OH MY GOD! How much weight have you lost?” It makes you feel like you are just a number. My self-worth has nothing to do with how many pounds I have lost. I get more satisfaction when I do something active that I could not do before. You are embarrassed when you are wheezing and out of breath after 5 minutes on the treadmill. You are going slower than anyone else. You do not belong.

This is why I think that promoting a community walking program will be beneficial for my town. We can promote activity and healthy lifestyles in a nonthreatening and fun way. We can help people with goal setting, and then help them on their journey to meet it.

So, I want to start a movement movement. I want to encourage and support people on whatever step of their journey they are on. I want everyone to have resources for their questions, and a safe place to voice their concerns.

I want to foster a community of encouragement and I want people to have somewhere to celebrate all their milestones.

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It’s way more fun to workout with friends- and it makes the selfies all the more epic.

I used to tell myself that I needed to lose weight so that I could work out. Does that make a bit a sense? I felt like I did not deserve to be helped. Everyone deserves a little help. Maybe all they need is a safe place, reasonable goals, and a few friends.

Natives, Heroes, and Heat: Tough Mudder- Mesa

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This post is dedicated to one of the most inspiring women I have ever met. I remember the first time I remember seeing her post on the HC that I am a proud member of. A friend of hers had gifted her a bootcamp scholarship from one of those weight loss shows. I was so impressed by her already. She was one of the reasons I was so excited to do this Tough Mudder.

Jill is one of the most positive and life affirming women I know. She is unendingly kind. She is so tough.

Jill is from Arizona. She had been training hard. Completing obstacle courses with her workout buddies, working hard, and eating right. She was totally prepared to rock this Mudder to the core.

Well, preparation does not alway ensure the ending that we are expecting. For unknown reasons, Jill began having problems with nausea and vomiting. Eventually, it led to her being in an extremely dehydrated condition, and when she became light-headed she had to leave the course and seek medical treatment. I know that was the last thing she wanted to do. I think if her body had let her, she would have continued regardless of how she felt.

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My Toughest Mudder. Even with an IV, she looks fierce.

Let me tell you a little more about this superhero. She was there waiting for us when we got to the finish line. She had received IV hydration in the medical tent, and was still not feeling great, and she stayed to support her team. I am so humbled by her inner strength.

I can only imagine how I would have felt. I can easily imagine that I would have left, and gone home to wallow in my shame and disappointment. The fact that she was more concerned about seeing this group of strangers complete this course shows her spirit. She is far stronger than I am.

So, imagine my heartbreak when I read her Facebook post that said “I am not a Tough Mudder.” My initial reaction was shock and disbelief. I had been thinking of her as the toughest mudder out there.

I had some guilt where Jill was concerned. When I first found out she was struggling to keep water down, I off-handedly told her to just take little sips. When I found out she was sitting on the ground by the monkey bars, I went over to make sure that the medics were coming, and then I removed myself. The nurse practitioner in me wanted to put my foot down and demand that she quit. The girl who knew that this was a grown woman who had not entrusted herself to my care, knew that was not my place. So, once I knew the medics were there I walked away. I wish I had given her hug right then, and told her that I was proud of her. I regret that.

You see, this adventure was so much more than an obstacle course. It was a life changing experience. I met some of the kindest souls I ever imagined. We all had different fears and obstacles to overcome in order to even show up. We were a shockingly large, slow-moving tribe. People would stop and look at us in awe, and ask “Do you all know each other?” We were able to gleefully answer that no, most of us had just met. Yet, we were continuously throwing our arms around each other, and posing for a ridiculous number of pictures. (There are thousands of pictures!!!)

I was overwhelmed many times by all the emotions that Tough Mudder brought out in me. I struggled with being in the middle of such a large group. I sought solitude frequently. I wanted to process what I experienced. There were many times I wished for a pen and paper so that I could find the words to describe the interactions I witnessed. For some, they thought that meant I was not okay, or that I did not like them. This is one of the pitfalls of my personality. In an effort to filter what I say, I have to remove myself from the situation. Otherwise, whatever pops into my head tends to come out of my mouth. Unfortunately, no one cares how you mean it. So, when I am overwhelmed I tend to withdraw. It is simply my coping mechanism.

You see, ADD has some benefits. I see and take in a lot of information, but then I am tasked with the chore of sorting through it all and determining it’s significance. I had faced so many fears, and still had so many more miles to go. I had blisters on my heels, and I was hungry. I was surrounded by strangers who were also friends. It was a huge amount of stressors to deal with.

I was unprepared physically and mentally for this challenge. I was unprepared for how much I would depend on this group of strangers.

Since the TM I have seen video of me completing some of these obstacles. Let’s be honest, I am horrified. I cannot believe I allowed myself to be captured in those positions. There are far more pictures of my ass on Facebook than I ever imagined possible.

Which is why, I am signing up to do another Tough Mudder with this group. Guess what? All these people have seen me blubber and cry at the thought of climbing a wall. They have seen me go off alone to contemplate my insanity. They still wanted to give me a hug at the finish line. Some of them even walked with me, with my arms around their shoulders so I could take some of the weight off my throbbing, swollen, blistered left foot. So, in October my son and I are traveling to do one together. I can’t wait for him to see the way people can come together to support one another.

I never would have thought a Facebook group and a man I call “the blogger” would change my life. More about that later.

 

Mud, Sweat, and Boobs?: Tough Mudder- Mesa

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I froze at the top of every wall. Yep. Every single one. These awesome guys would support me, and make me feel safe enough to finally awkwardly roll myself over.

So, if you have been paying attention, you are getting the picture. Tough Mudder was tough. I was scared. I was scared I was too fat, too heavy, too clumsy, too weak, too much and too little all at the same time.

However, there were some parts that I felt pretty confident. Funky Monkey did not scare me, I have no doubt that I cannot cross monkey bars. I knew I would reach out and fall in the water. I did. Nothing bad happened.

Warrior Carry. I got to the starting line of the obstacle, and immediately started searching for Angela. There was no other person I wanted to carry. She has carried me plenty of times throughout the years. It was absolute greatness. You can tell by the picture. And, yes. Her hands are firmly grasping my breasts. It made me laugh. I am so glad there is a picture of this.

This was not hard for many reasons. One thing, I would never drop her. She would never let me fall. This was easy. It was a time that I felt like I was capable. I think that this challenge was good for me. I needed something that felt right. By this point, I was afraid that I needed to give up. This fun time gave me a boost to keep going for a while.

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Best pic ever! I was so comfortable. I was so happy to be with my best friend. There was no shame, fear, or self- doubt. I really do not think anyone else could have gotten away with using my breasts as handles.

So, trudge along to the very last obstacle. I have blisters on my heel. My left knee is swollen and stiff. I am hungry, tired, and cranky. All I want is for this to end. I skip three obstacles. Not because I am scared of them, but because I am tired and afraid that I will not be able to finish if I don’t.

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It was fun. It hurt. It kinda tickled. Until I fell.

The very last challenge is the electroshock challenge. Basically, you run through a giant mud pit under wires that give you a little jolt. Basically, a whole body TENS unit. I was planning to run through it holding hands and skipping with Rebecca. This was necessary. We did it.

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This is such an attractive picture. Here is the funny part. I was right under a “live” wire. It was shocking me over and over. I could not move. I just sat there, twitching repeatedly. It felt like an eternity. Finally, Lisa came in to get me. She got zapped in the face at that point. She is one of my heroes.

I love the fact that these pictures captured my smile. I was happy. It did not matter what I looked like. I had been supported whole-heartedly the entire day. I surprised myself and other people. No, I was not graceful.

When I was going over the Berlin Wall, Trevor (not my brother, but my new friend) was recording with his GoPro. He never dreamed I would do it. I was his “out.” Yeah, well with a little help from my friends, I sure did do it. So did he.

We have no excuse to back down from a challenge. If it is just fear that is threatening to stop us, we have an obligation to push through. Sometimes that requires help.

Now, there are still so many stories to tell. I am not going to discuss the finish line until after I tell those stories. They will have to wait though. I am not done processing this adventure. It was an emotional roller-coaster.

I know that I am failing to adequately explain what this experience was like for me. There are really no words to express what I was feeling. I do know that I repeatedly threatened to kill “whoever thought this was a good idea.” Funny, since I am planning on doing two more. I am going to train harder and try to be in better shape. I know what to expect now. I know I can do it.

 

Crybaby, Tear Gas, and Friends: Tough Mudder- Mesa

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I forgot about Crybaby.

This is basically a box- there is a ditch- covered with plastic sheeting and filled with water. You slide in, climb out of the ditch, and army crawl through a big box filled with “tear gas.”

Dewayne is preparing to help me out of the box

DeWayne is preparing to help me out of the box

Soooo graceful. My knees and elbows are being shredded.

Soooo graceful. My knees and elbows are being shredded.

Hugs and thanks. I am so grateful for his help. This is seriously one of the nicest young men I have ever had the good fortune to meet.

Hugs and thanks. I am so grateful for his help. This is seriously one of the nicest young men I have ever had the good fortune to meet.

The tear gas smells like Ben Gay, not that big of a deal. Now, granted we got lucky. They had just had to change out the canister, so I think we only got a little gas.

Now, I almost skipped this one. I was set to go right after Daniel and the guys went in. I hesitated for a second, and some dudes ran ahead of me. I did not want to do it alone, so I walked around to the end to meet my group. DeWayne walked up to me, and said “You are awful clean.” I explained that I had not wanted to go alone, and that I was okay with skipping it. He was having none of that. He and I walked back to the line, and in we went. (It was not Mark, it was Kurt that went with us.) They gave me a boost out of the trench, (That thing was slippery!)

Now, Army crawling on the hard ground sucks. It hurts. But, we got through it. Once I got to the end, DeWayne was there- and gave me a hand up. These pictures crack me up. How much less grace can i have? This obstacle was actually a lot of fun. Seriously. Totally fun.

**Turns out, these pics are from Birth Canal. That was epically hard. Army crawling through a box with plastic sheeting full of water pressing down on you. This one was deceptively difficult. I got stuck- I like to say I had shoulder distocia. I actually was just worn down. scooting forward on your stomach across the hard ground is hard. My elbows still hurt. When I had about 6 feet left, I felt like I was probably just going to have to die in there. DeWayne turned around, grabbed my hand, and helped me get some forward momentum. It was awesome. There are so many things that he helped with.

This was the important part of this team. We had so many people who were there just to make sure that we all got through. How many times in life do you get to experience that kind of support? This group is special. Everyone is there to support and lift everyone up. No one was teased or made to feel less than. I was never the object of ridicule or disdain. I felt loved.

This is something that many of us have struggled with. I know that many members of our group have social anxiety, and just showing up was a struggle. The Mudder was only a small part of the challenge.

Ladders, Slides, and Ice Water: Tough Mudder- Mesa

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We are just getting started.

Okay, so we have started the course. (Don’t Worry, I cannot remember the whole course step by step. I wish I could- but, it is too much.) You know about how my team encouraged me and lifted me over a wall. You know that they figured out how to get me out of my fears, and to just man up and do it.

So, now the first real obstacle. Arctic Enema. Oddly, I was not that scared of this one. I mistakenly thinking that it would just be vaguely uncomfortable. Then, we arrived to the obstacle. Once again, I have no real idea of how tall the platform was. There was a ladder. A tall platform. Very tall. I am imagining that we were like 200 feet off the ground. (Of course I know that is not true but, it may as well of been.)

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Me- freaking out. Angela- handling it like a boss. And, Mike.

I walk around a little, find Angela, and up we start to climb. I am holding my breath, and hyperventilating all at the same time. Trying hard not to freak out and freeze. Somewhere near the top, I look through the slats I am climbing. I am too high. I freeze for a second. Then, there is this guy who is climbing up beside me. I suppose he looked over and realized that I was freaking out.

He said “Don’t think about it. Think of anything else. Do you like food? Think of your favorite food. I bet you like Mexican.” Wait. What??? Why would you automatically assume the fat girl likes Mexican food? I was vaguely annoyed. So, I climbed up a little faster  until I got to the top, and I had to let go and stand up. I froze again. The very nice volunteer came over and said “you have to come up.” I was scared, so I stalled. Introduced myself to him. His name was Mike.

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I love this picture. Angela really hates being cold. She handled this like it was nothing. That is so cool.

So, once on the top  all you have to do it sit down- and then slide down a slide (covered with a fence- I do not know the purpose of the fence) and land in mid chest height ice water. There was a guy unloading ice from a truck to pour into the tank. I remember pointing and yelling at him to wait right there and not add to my misery. As if it would have made a difference. Angela is next to me. I am nervous.

Then, we slide down and I am surrounded by ice. All I know is that I have to stand up. I can’t get my feet on the bottom. I hit my head on the fence. I have a vague sense that I am going to drown and die. Somehow I emerge from the icy depths. And, my mind and body stop functioning. I have no idea how I got over the wall (someone probably boosted me- I seriously have no idea.) I do remember the end, I could not figure out how to get out. I think someone helped me up, and I awkwardly rolled out. Then, I walked away. I was sputtering and crying, all I wanted to do is walk away. I was horrified at how difficult this was. My body was numb. I was in serious pain. I was convinced everyone who goes to this thing is insane.

Why? What on earth does this prove? Then, I started walking. I was very much not concerned with the group. I was in my head trying to sort out what my motivation was. Why was I here? Did I belong here? What on earth was I thinking?

I think the very next obstacle was pit fall. (I could be wrong. Whatever, it is my story.) Pitfall was okay. Go under a log into a pit of muddy water. Walk to the end, climb out. Well, it was simple. Yep, fell like 4 times. The bottom was uneven, and there were a ton of holes. I ate a lot of mud. Then, I got to end, and lo and behold there was an outstretched hand waiting to haul my ass out of the pit. I had done it. I could do this. My friends were there for me. They did not judge me and make me feel stupid, fat, and weak. They just assisted me. I am so grateful for that. Traversing the muddy, slippery banks of these obstacles was not particularly easy… but, it was kinda fun.

This whole adventure was not easy…

Next… Another damn wall. What are these Mudder fools trying to prove? Why on earth is this considered a good idea?

I am planning to skip this obstacle. I don’t want to go up on another wall. I walk around the obstacle and stand there to watch…. Until I decide to try.

Once again, there are many false starts. Kris (or maybe Dan, I am not sure)- leans down and says “this is nothing,  just step up” I finally step into the hands, grab Kurt or David’s hand, and reach up for the wall. When I get up there and look out into the sea of muddy faces I am overcome with shock and awe. I screamed at the top of my lungs, “Holy Fucking SHIT!!!” And, then I am helped over the top of the wall to the tires on the other side. It was scary climbing down. Once again, my team was waiting with open arms. Once again, I am shaking and trembling with fear and exhilaration.

Now, you would think that I had this wall thing down… Nope. Not even close. The taller one is coming up….. I really want to give up now…