Cowabunga!

Also known as, “I’m not so tough after all.”

I’m not sure about you, but it seems like my twenties have been like the old guy at the beach walking around with a metal detector, just hoping to find something valuable. I feel like I’ve been on a hunt to find out what makes me truly happy, and what makes me…me.

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The latest piece of metal I dug up is not one I’d take home. It’s called a Mud Run. While digging, quite literally, I discovered just how not tough I really am. Consider the puny, yappy dog that greets you at your neighbor’s door. That small, five-pound sack of snarling teeth and fur doesn’t realize how tiny she is. How easily trampled she is. In my mind, I am this tough, strong, elegant, and graceful person who can accomplish anything. You already know I’m an optimist, and while I can’t think how that could be a bad thing, it definitely puts me in my place now and then. Yesterday opened my eyes to things I do not enjoy, and things I need to work on.

Thing I do not enjoy #1: Getting hurt. I will avoid it at all costs.

Our first “obstacle” was a 15-foot-high wooden structure made of horizontal boards that had large three-foot gaps between them. We had to climb up, over, and down it. As soon I as approached it and realized how far of a fall it would be, and how much it would hurt if I did fall, the fear took over. I suddenly wanted to just run back and wait for the others. It was hard, too. Being slippery from already running and swimming through mud, it was hard to find a good solid grip and then I had to reach my entire body length to find the next rail to continue. It was rocking back and forth from the weight of all these people climbing it and when I was sitting at the top straddling the boards, I froze. With the encouragement of my teammates, I finally made it down, safely, but I have a few bruises today from that one. As soon as I finished, I said aloud, “I hope we don’t have any more climbing obstacles.”

This rope obstacle wasn't as bad as the ones I wrote about.

This rope obstacle wasn’t as bad as the ones I wrote about. I wasn’t able to get a pic of those.

Thing I do not enjoy #2: Climbing obstacles.

We had about 10 more climbing obstacles. Tires, small one-inch boards nailed to a 10-foot wooden wall, rope mesh attached to walls with tracker jacker hives hidden underneath, etc. I would say the majority of the race was running and climbing high obstacles.

Thing I need to work on #1: Agility.

This is a big reason I’ve joined CrossFit, and this weekend made it exceptionally clear how awkward and clumsy I am. I need better control of my body. I need to learn more functional movements so I feel more comfortable in my own skin. I think if I knew everything my body could do, I would’ve been more prepared to handle the obstacles.

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Thing I need to work on #2: Balance.

I thought I had pretty good balance, but watching all of my teammates gracefully clear the log over water, while I made it halfway then fell in, made me aware of how inferior my balance skills are. If only I had a slackline like Mark Sisson! (Btw, he is so cool. I would love to meet him and Anthony Bourdain someday.)

The Mud Run was 80s themed, so obviously it was totally rad seeing all the neon-inspired costumes. I did enjoy the run, and I loved crawling all lizard-like through the mud. I was hoping for more of that. There was a decent amount of swimming and I enjoyed that part, too.

So, it wasn’t all a kick in the butt…just most of it.

Pre-race, obviously

Pre-race, obviously

 

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Kayak

I was a little nervous the first time I went kayaking.  The only thing I could compare it to at that time was canoeing, and the one and only time I’ve ever done that was a train wreck, to put it nicely.

When I sat down in the kayak and pushed off, I felt so…buoyant.  Never once have I felt like I would flip out or capsize.  The arm workout is great, but you get to sit back in a better position than a canoe.  On a hot day, the water dripping down off the paddle feels really nice.

Once I rented a triple kayak and although my friend in the middle couldn’t help paddle, she manned the camera and got some really cool shots.

Check out my guns.

Triple kayak fun

Beautiful scenery

One of my favorite places to kayak is Wekiwa Springs in the Orlando area.  I haven’t yet taken the plunge and kayaked in the ocean.  Maybe I should work out my arms a little more before I try that.

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I went canoeing with my mom, dad, and brother when I was probably 10 or so.  I was a scrawny little thing, weighing in around 65 pounds.  My parents decided to stick me in a canoe with my larger-than-life brother: 6’4”, 200 pounds, and seven years my senior.

Needless to say, he rocked and squirmed and I held on to my lifejacket with the fear of capsizing.  My parents laughed at my horrified face the whole time, so on the way back my mom partnered with my brother, and I relaxed as my dad rowed us along.  I think I got sun burnt, but it was better than the alternative.

My mom gained an appreciation for my initial endeavor after she flipped out the second time and lost her shoes.  I’ll never forget her holding up the lifejacket that had these words: “PLEASE HELP.”

Today, when I pass canoers, I remember that day and simultaneously feel grateful to have discovered kayaking.

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