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

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.)

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.

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…

Walls and Starting Lines: Tough Mudder- Mesa 2015

So, I suppose you wanna hear about my Tough Mudder adventure.

Let me start from the beginning. Did you know there is a wall you have to climb over before the starting line? I do not think it is very tall- 6 or 7 feet maybe. 8? I dunno. Not too high. Most people get over it- and make it look easy.

Now, let me explain- I don’t do heights. I do not climb ladders- I don’t walk to the edge of cliffs- I don’t go anywhere that might require climbing. I am not even fond of stairs. I’m a big girl- not one to let people lift me up or carry me. I just do not do it. EVER! Bridges? No, thank you very much. I am not doing it. Nope. I’ll just go home.

So, here we are. I have spent a small fortune to participate in this event, and I am about to quit before I even get to the starting line. I am in a mass of excited people, and I am filled with dread and regret. I am embarrassed, ashamed, and horrified. I am not doing it.

Tears are streaming down my face, and I am hoping valiantly that no one can see the terror behind my shades. The members of my team are surrounding me, and I cannot hear a word they are saying. All I know is that there is no way in hell I can do this. I feel like a fool for even thinking this is a good idea.

Then… somehow… they convince me to go up to the wall. A pair of hands clasped in front of me- all I have to do is take a step- push up- and take a leap of faith. After a couple of false starts. I am finally able to commit. I step up and grab the edge of the wall. Rick, (who is my burpee nemesis) is straddling the top. He grabs my hand, and I grip his arm. Somehow I get one leg over. I am laying across the top of this wall, shaking with fear. Rick is holding on and telling me how proud he is. And I come over the wall into the arms of my team. Angela is right behind me… up and over the wall. (she makes it look incredibly easy- which makes sense- she is a superhero to me.) Wow. How did we do that? Then, it is time for the National Anthem and the Mudder Pledge. Everything is going to be okay. I am shaking and crying.

It’s just an obstacle in the end. Do we really want to let obstacles stand in our way?

Then, we jog through the starting line- give a high-five to the dude- and we are off… Now, the adventure is really about to begin. Next up is the Arctic Enema. What? There is a ladder? Ugh. What have I gotten myself into?


Meeting my friends for the first time.

The weekend of the Tough Mudder has finally arrived. I have been meaning to sit down all day and write this. (I’ve been busy!!!!)

This dog won’t stop licking me. And, she does not pose for selfies well.

So, last night around 10PM I am pulling into Albuquerque, which means it is time to stop by and meet Rebecca. Good time to rest, recharge, and get mauled by her sweetie dog, Luna. (It could be Tuna- but, why would you name a dog Tuna?) This is my first encounter with this group of potential axe- murderers. Turns out, it is totally cool and the fact that we have “known” each other on FB for awhile makes it so much easier. I don’t feel the need to be on my best behavior, I am just myself.

You only take in what you are willing to lose.

So, after a good long rest… I hit the road again. All the caffeine is making it hard to sit still and drive though. Wait, what are those bright lights in the distance? Oh, a Casino. Hmmmm. Don’t mind if I do… Blackjack is not my friend. $60 later…

Oops. Poor Liz- she is really upset.

Back on the road- (I have been drinking an insane amount of water- I have to stop often.) There is a creepy dude in the car next to me. So, I pull up a space. (There are three rows of parking at this gas station. (It may actually be a truck stop.) Well, now the gas pumps are behind me. I know! I can just do a U-turn. (Hmmm- not one of my brighter ideas.) Poor Liz. I clipped the curb (Why was there a curb in the middle of a parking lot????) Liz is broken. (I called a place- it should not be too much to fix) IMG_7878

Okay- So, now- I love Road Trips. I am jamming along having my own little private car concert- Talking on the phone with the Utah contingent (who are also making the trek overnight.)

Holbrook. I took a long little break here. Checked FB- Walked around.
Flagstaff, which is one of my favorite places in the world. I really need to go stay there sometime. I am always just driving through.

Finally, I get to Phoenix. (After the scariest trip through the mountains down I-17.) I learned to drive in Lubbock. (We don’t have all that nonsense.) Start looking for friends. They are at Target. Okay. I will meet you there. (BTW, I pass like 12 Targets on the way to their Target)

When I get there, I am hanging out by the dollar stuff at the front of the store- I hear Sophi! She runs up to me- and says “You look exactly like I knew you looked.” Which is kinda funny, it’s not like this group is pretty much centered around selfies or anything. Rich was there- he and I have a long history of him using voice to text while he is driving all over the midwest. Miranda. It took me a minute. Ahhh.. We watched the Grammy’s “together.”

IMG_7904 IMG_7903 IMG_7905

So, I just realized- I am up here writing this. That is lame. I need to go experience this trip- instead of just writing about it. SO, to be continued…. There may be more trips to Target scheduled.


Letter of Intention: Tough Mudder Arizona

Ummm. Probably not.

Dear Tough Mudder,

No, not the actual people- this is a letter to the course. In less than one week I will be attempting to complete the challenge of crossing your finish line. 12 miles of mud, obstacles, and friends in the Arizona desert stand between me and success.

I am completely unprepared for the challenge I am certain you will present. Despite this failure on my part to adequately prepare, I am asking you to be kind. (Yes, I know you are the “Toughest OCR”) If I had any sense at all, I would back out. But, my ego and pride demand that I try.

I promise to respect the sanctity of this challenge, and to do my very best. I will face my fears, and try to do every obstacle that I can physically withstand. Furthermore, I promise to be a supportive and excited teammate for my friends who are going on this adventure with me. I will celebrate everyone’s success and encourage them to do their best as well.

I have every intention of laughing and having a good time. I will not give up because I am tired and sore. I will not be a chicken and refuse to let my team help me. It is quite possible that there will be skipping, singing, and dancing through this course. (We have to cope somehow.)

So, if I promise to face this challenge with an open mind and open heart, will you promise to look out for my insanely large group of mudderfied friends? This challenge is a big deal to a lot of us. I really need for no one to get hurt, and for us all to emerge relatively unscathed.

This is so far out of my comfort zone, and I see the opportunity for this to be an important milestone in my life. Next Saturday will be the day that I throw myself whole-heartedly into a task that I find terrifying and intimidating, and have the opportunity to achieve what so many people have said was impossible. Next Saturday will be the day I tell my inner self to get over herself, and allow myself to achieve an insurmountable task. I may as well be climbing Mount Everest. This is just as unlikely for me.

I am going to cross that finish line, no matter what it takes. This will be a huge victory for this girl.

Oh, and I am going to need a ton a photographic evidence. No one is ever going to believe I actually did this.

Sincerely (also excited and scared),

Lady Quirky

Wait! I did what? No… I don’t usually do things that require a death waiver. I must be possessed.
At least someone is calling me Princess. I would like to declare that next Saturday, I will officially be Princess Quirky.


Tough Mudder Course map… Orange Headband, beer, and friends

OH HOLY HELL. There is obviously something malfunctioning in my brain.E2d3ci-15.03.14 Spectator Map PDF

As I ponder this task, I am left with a sense of awe and wonder. I wonder what on earth ever possessed me to think this is a good idea. Then, I take a deep breath and ask myself “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” Oh, and don’t forget the “death waiver.” I am actually going to sign a death waiver.

Now, some people will do anything for a buck. I am not being paid to do this. I am paying for the pleasure of throwing myself into a giant pit of mud and jumping into a dumpster full of nasty ice water.  (Actually, they have upgraded this obstacle, and it looks way worse now.)

Why would I do this? I don’t actually know anymore. The only thing I am sure of is I have to try. I have to prove to myself that I am not scared to try something new. (thinking knitting might have been a little more my speed… )

I have a suitcase full of gear. I am planning a great week. I am scared and nervous.

I cannot watch anymore videos about these obstacles- or else I am not going.

I am going. Of course I am going. All the girls are going to have a hair braiding party the morning of the Mudder. Then, that night… we are going to have a big party. It is gonna be great. We are a little crazy. IMG_7800

So, here’s to my crazy Mesa Mudsliders team. We are gonna have a blast. We are staying together as a giant group, I am sure people are going to find us obnoxious. There are almost 50 of us. Crazy, I know. It is great though. We have spent the last 6 months or so scheming and planning, worrying and fretting, and sometimes preparing. I am okay with however I do at this. I am going to do the best I can. I am not going to give up, and at the end of the day… I am going to have a drink and toast a successful day. I have nothing to prove to anyone except myself. (Oh, and the people who think I can’t do this.) I have news for everyone- I can do anything I set my mind to- and today… My mind is set on crossing that finish line so I can wear that orange headband and drink a beer with my new friends.


Mud and the Art of Making “Friends” on FB

So, it goes without saying… I have always struggled with making friends. I never know what to say. I never know what the cool kids are doing. I have no idea about current fashion. I am seriously socially awkward. I am loud, forgetful, and at times judgmental.

I had been on FB for a while, and it was interesting… I guess. The only thing it was really good for was seeing what other people were doing (pregnant, married, engaged, divorced, and graduated- oh, and throw in a few “I am so drunks.”) I had no idea how groups worked and frankly, it was pretty boring. I had lots of “friends,” (mostly people from my past) and I got to see what they were posting. The one good thing FB gave me was suggestions for pages I might like. I got to see blogs other people were reading. This is how I accidentally joined the Health Club group I am part of.

Remember, I knew nothing about FB groups… so, I vaguely wondered why there were all these videos and pictures of sweaty people doing push- ups in my news feed. I did not really pursue it until one day, a video caught my attention and I clicked on it. This opened the page. I scrolled through the posts so confused. What was a PWS and NSV? Eventually, I started commenting on other’s posts and then one day I posted something. And people commented. I responded. A conversation ensued. It was gradual at first. I did not really invest any time in it. Eventually, I started to recognize people and would comment on their posts. Then, they would invariably comment on mine. We had become “friends.” These new friends were sharing their struggles and victories with trying to be healthy and eat well. So, last April I joined the gym.

Meeting these friends at the Mudder is one of the most exciting parts. They have watched me go from complete couch potato to someone who actually works out. (Except for when I am boycotting and pouting because it hurts that day.) I do not actually have any friends who weighed as much as I did. I certainly did not have anyone who had started working out at that weight. I needed someone who could relate to the idea of a girl who has never been athletic trying to morph into an athlete. In her mid 30s no less. I learned things about macros and shoes. FitBit vs Garmin vs Polar. Cardio vs strength training. I saw people sharing their progress pics. Transformation Tuesday. Flex Friday. Muscle Monday. I took pictures of my almost visible triceps. I competed in challenges between the members. I looked forward to posting my picture and a description of that I had accomplished that day. 

Over time we would gradually become real FB “friends”. Not everyone but, the ones I related to or found inspiring or funny. I have had the good fortune to meet some women who have so many special talents, and a unique outlook on the world. They have been so supportive and kind. Sometimes, someone will message me and tell me they signed up for a boxing class because they saw me posting about it. This whole fitty adventure has been enriched by this group of people. It is way more fun. Besides, it took me a long time to get brave enough to workout with my superstar friends. (I would have never been able to keep up at all in the beginning.)

FB is a great way to practice “talking” to people. One of the big risk, just like with our obsession with texting, is the inability to pick up vocal and body language cues. This increases the risk for misunderstandings. I tend to think (and speak) in a borderline obnoxious tone. Sarcasm is one of my favorite tools. I find delight in irony (especially irony and inside jokes that can be shared between people). This is a dangerous tone to use in written communication. So, I find myself explaining what I actually meant however, by that point… the damage has been done. I have been very fortunate. A few of these people have somehow infiltrated my real life. I talk to them on the phone. I make vague plans to someday come visit them if I am ever incidentally in that part of the country. I share some of my personal struggles and consider their view-point and see if they have any personal experience with the situation. We share tidbits and information about our real lives. So, FB friends can morph into real friends. 

Now, to define the word friend is hard. These people on FB are not my friend in the way that my best friend is my friend. They are not a friend in the way WM or SD are my friends. Those are close friends, or actually, they are people who I feel are basically part of my family. These FB people offer fun or interesting conversation. I would not call them to come bail me out of jail. I would not give them my home address and let them have a spare key to my house. They are FB friends.

I think that it is human nature to seek a connection with other people. We are social beings. We live in a community. Turns out, a community can be formed on FB. However, just like in real life, it requires effort. I have to be reactive and engaged. These are conversations, and I have learned a lot about forging interpersonal relationships with people in the real world by fostering and nurturing relationships on FB.

There is a real danger for folks who invest more time in their virtual relationships than their “real” ones. FB friends do not replace real friends. However, if you are lucky, the FB relationships can grow into significant real relationships. I can use the communication skills I learned to get out in the real world and foster some new relationships. Making friends is hard! One of the ways to make friends is to find a common interest and to share that part of my life. I do not have to share my entire being with everyone I meet. It is okay to keep my life somewhat compartmentalized.That being said, I still have to invest something in the relationship. I have to be willing to put myself out there. I have to pay attention to what is going on. Play a game. Post a picture. Develop inside jokes. Create memories that can be referenced. It is impossible to forge new relationships if I hold everyone at arm’s length.

I am so excited that I have made these new friends on FB. In a couple of months they will no longer be FB friends. I will be able to say with pride that I embarked on a crazy, muddy adventure with them. I am pretty sure that I will leave Mesa with a slew of new friends and the confidence to continue this crazy quest I am on.