Saturday, October 5, 2013

Maude VS The Obstacle Course (and, well, herself)

In case you're wondering, did I ever get my real sprint triathlon in (I'm sure you've been stalking my blog just waiting to hear) I completed the Best in the West in early September, complete with swim, even though I DID get an email the night before warning us of an algae out-break. 

I am totally not making that up.  Turns out, false alarm, but I was gonna swim dammit, no matter what.

It just so happens that there WAS something in that water, and I still have the ringworm on my left ass cheek to prove it, though the tube of anti-fungal cream I've been so very un-sexily rubbing on it night and day, says I'm near the end of the treatment. 

Fast forward a few weeks to last weekend and the Epic Grind.  After months and months of gorgeous weather, mother nature decided to piss on our Portland-is-so-beautiful-when-it's-sunny parade and hand us a big ass typhoon for the weekend.  September weather sucked.  Ass.  Big time.  But there was no worse weekend than Sept. 28 & 29.

I blog for Run Oregon which means I race a variety of events, usually about one a month and write my thoughts.  For the Epic Grind, I jumped at the chance to test out my first obstacle race/trail run when the weather was sunny and 80.  All the photos on their website showed sunshine and happiness in abundance.  I never occurred to me it would be monsoon season in just a few short weeks.

I also signed up my nine year old, thinking she'd like to do the 2 mile event and write her own review, like mother like daughter, she's a budding writer.  We were giddy with excitement.  Until the typhoon hit. 

I can't lie here, my baby girl was still really excited.  She never once, not one time, tried to get out of racing.  I gave her EVERY opportunity and she never took the bait.  It made me ashamed of myself, but not enough to not spend a SIGNIFICANT amount of time trying to weasel my way out of the event.

I tried to pretend that I couldn't do the obstacles (too much use of my chest muscles, they can't possibly be healed yet!), being out in the cold with my weakened immune system would surely spell doom for me in the form of a horrendous cold. 

In the past year and three months I've never, ever, ever let that whole episode with breast cancer stand in my way of anything (not even housework!) but I found it to be a convenient excuse suddenly when the wind was blowing the rain sideways.

I was unable to come up with any real compelling reason not to do the event, and I committed to being there, so off we went.  On the way my little lady and I listened to music and I tried to pump ourselves up.  We talked strategy and listened to Katy Perry's ROAR like fifty times.  But I never really felt like I had the "eye of the tiger" but more it's tail tucked between my fungal ass cheeks.

In the interest of full disclosure, I probably shouldn't have looked at any of the obstacles online before we left.  I think that really messed with my head.  I kept flashing back to all my PE failures:  I could never climb the damn rope, I had a devil of a time with the monkey bars and I sure as hell couldn't climb the net very fast.  And then there's running a 5K in between all these obstacles?  Hellz no.

As it turns out I did not have to repeat any of the aforementioned feats because I selected the 5K race (one of the few choices recently that turned out to be a GOOD one).  My heat started at high noon, Kaylee's at 12:30, I planned to get my ass moving fast so I could maybe make it back to either finish with her or watch her cross the finish line. 

If I'm being truthful, I was a little terrified of running trails in the mud, and also doing the obstacles in general.  But I'm game for anything most of the time, and with the motivation my beautiful fearless daughter gave me I went for it as soon as they counted us down.

I did start of slow, mostly because I wasn't sure what to expect.  Our heat was fairly small and I was in the middle of the pack after the keg pull.  I was pulling into the front when we hit the Tall Enough net, ten feet up and ten feet down, and I am clearly in far better physical condition than I was in grade school, I climbed up that thing like a fricken monkey.

Back down the other side and onto the giant spools, and suddenly I was all alone.  No one was with me, and from there I just said eff-it, I'm going for it.  I want to be back for my daughter and I've never been first before in anything, so let's see how long I can keep it going.

For once I didn't bring my Garmin so I had no clue how fast I was going and I had no music (which is a rarity for me) but I didn't even care.  Originally I was just doing this just for fun.  It's like I don't know myself, just for fun?  Pssssht.  What-evs.  The minute I had a taste of being the front runner my brain just switched into "suck it up and go" mode.

I'm pretty sure I was smiling about 98% of the time, how could I not?  No one was right behind me and as my BRF said, I pretty much made that course my bitch.  I sailed through the obstacles, with the exception of the paint ball gun (I'm a terrible shot and I hate firearms) and as I neared the lake I even caught a glimpse of my kiddo climbing the big net.  The kid race started!!  At that point I figured I was about 45 minutes in, not too bad, my "goal" was under an hour.

I just kept going, crawling across a moving pile of inner tubes, scrambling up the muddy bank and onto the "tired wall" the final obstacle before the finish.  I checked my time and couldn't believe my eyes, I did it under 46 minutes.  I knew I won my heat, and that was pretty cool for me as it was.  And I made it back to see my little girl crawl across the tubes, climb the tired wall and run to the finish (all with a smile on HER face!).

Later in the evening, after we got home, showered and I attempted to warm up I checked the online results.  I was second overall female for the day.  And if I'd gone the day before I would have WON the day compared to the times posted then.  And then I looked at the age group I was in: 31-40.  I was the moldy oldy!  And the chick that beat me?  In the age group below!  HA!  Take that!

And I'm going to say this so you can see what an awful person I really am, but as soon as I saw the results I said "Suck my 40!". Yes, I'm going to burn in Hell.  And not just for that, but I don't have time to make you a list.

I really would not have had as much fun if the weather had been nice.  I loved LOVED crawling around in the mud like a little piggy.  Being filthy dirty and sweaty was freaking awesome.  I had the time of my life, and so did the little miss.

I learned a few things about myself in the process: 

1. I don't think I can really run something just for "fun" no matter what I tell myself
2.  I'm a horrible person (suck my 40?!  REALLY?!) 
3.  I am my own worst enemy, talking myself out of something I've never tried before because I'm a chicken shit (it really wasn't all that much about the weather, truth be told) and, finally:
4.  I can do a hell of a lot more than I think I'm capable of.  I just have to learn to get my own ass out of my way.

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