***Disclaimer – This post is, likely, going to be extremely long and heavily laden with pictures. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.***
I did it!
I’ve tried to start this blog post at least 20 times. Every time I try I just can’t find the words.
Luckily one of my FitNation teammates summed it up better than I ever could:
Today I did my first “mud-race” and while I don’t think they will be a frequent of mine- I have to share my overwhelming thoughts. Today I witnessed so much care – share – be there – amongst my FitNation family, I saw very many tearful “I can’ts” become beaming “I DID’s”, so many fears crushed as walls were topped, everyone hanging, stopping, coming back and sitting as anchor boosts to make sure each slippery slope, rope and wall were cleared of our mighty pink/blue/black. We are all on a different part of our journey to health, and all with varying intensity- but each of us contributes, teaches, and learns EVERY DAY from one another equally. I’ve never been more proud of anything I’ve been a part of, so thankful I found Beachbody and that it led me to FitNation. There will only ever be one reason I will race in mud again – and it will be to be a part of this overwhelming feeling of “We will not let you fall”
Libby said it all in her post.
Let’s rewind to the night before the race.
My grandparents stopped in for a quick visit on their way to visit relatives in Detroit and we also had a surprise 30th birthday party to attend.
Nerves were shot, needless to say.
It was not how I envisioned the night before the race to go, but it wound up being a terrific time! The visit with my grandparents went really well and the birthday party was a blast. We were still home by 9 and I was in bed by 10:30, so it wasn’t too terrible. I thought for sure that I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep, but I barely remember my head hitting the pillow.
6AM came sooner than I expected, but I was buzzing with excitement which helped calm the beast that only comes out first thing in the morning.
My grandparents got up with us and hit the road. I decided on a Shakeology shake for breakfast (chocolate shakeo, banana, peanut butter, cashew milk, and ice) and we set out for Frankfort. I love our race outfits. Some of the other girls wore tank tops, but I’m not that brave.
Frankfort is only about an hour away and our wave didn’t start until 9, so we had plenty of time. We got to the park around 8 and immediately saw FitNation peeps!
About 15 of our members took off on the 9AM wave and for a few this was the SECOND time they had done the course. Our captain, Gina, had already completed the course with the 8AM wave. I’m so happy that Cliff came with me (not just because I had someone to take pictures!)
The course was labeled as a 5K (it actually turned out to be four miles) with a total of 23 obstacles. My goal was to just to complete the course, but I wanted to at least attempt each obstacle.
I’m happy to report that I attempted 22/23 obstacles (I only skipped the monkey bars at the very end of the course) and I completed 21/23 (I couldn’t get all the way up the net at the end of the same gauntlett that the monkey bars were on).
Ironically enough my biggest fear, “The wall”, was one of our very first stops.
Yes, I ugly cried when I threw my leg over the top.
No, that was not the only time I broke down on the course.
After the wall, we followed the trail into the woods and into a pretty deep creek. The first mile was mainly navigating through huge mud holes, army crawling through a few spots, and scaling a few downed trees. Around mile 2 we started to see the difficulty of the course increase. We had to climb up a wet rock wall (with a knotted rope), run/slide down some pretty tall hills (and of course climb back up the other side, and it was also the hilliest part of the course between obstacles. The level increased again during the third mile where we were led to a tall, steep slide into a giant mud hole (which sounds like fun until you have to figure out to get of it) that was then followed by a 20(ish) foot tall wall to climb.
Straight up, over, and then straight back down.
Soaked and covered in mud.
It was like looking at the gates of hell.
After I got over that wall, everything else is a blur.
Had it not been for my group, there’s not a doubt in my mind that I would have failed.
I don’t know how many times Carrie had to grab my face and tell me to keep going. Or how many times Gina and Angela pulled me up or pushed me over a wall. Or Rodney standing at the end of the last slide and waiting until I was in the river safely.
Or how all four of them helped to stop my panic attack when I got stuck at THE VERY END OF THE COURSE.
Full on, hyperventilating, bawling eyes out, panic attack. No joke.
I didn’t even know getting stuck or sinking was a phobia of mine. Now I know!
Now that I’m 24 hours away and covered in bruises and cuts, would I do it all over again Even with the complete physical and emotional breakdown that I had at the end? Even with the inability to properly use my limbs today?
This race taught me so much about what I am truly capable of. Two years ago, I would have never thought I would be crossing a finish line and having a medal put around my neck after running, crawling, and swimming through four miles of hell.
Who cares if I can’t use my legs today?
However, what I learned most from this experience is the awe-inspiring strength of teamwork.
The entire team was filled to the brim with amazing people. All of us pushing and helping and cheering on the next person. I have never, in my life, seen such a show of comradeship. Everyone ran into a fear sooner or later and it warmed my heart to see the others in the group rally together to get them/us through it.
Every time I thought I was done, my team helped me find strength to push through. When I looked at that last wall and thought, “There’s no way I have enough left in me to pull myself over that” there was my team boosting me up and pulling me over.
I feel honored to have shared such a momentous occasion with these great people.
So, teammates (those that are reading this), thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.