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

 

Long Distances: Why Do You Do It?

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That’s Craig Alexander, one of the world’s top triathletes.

I know several people who are triathletes, and believe me when I tell you the longer you are around someone who races, the more you want to participate.  Just go to a few races as a spectator and you won’t be able to deny the thoughts of “I think I could do that” or “That could be fun.”

I’ll admit, I resisted for quite some time, but just recently have found a sincere urge to spice things up a little.  I’ve been running regularly for some time now, and since switching to Paleo a little over four months ago, I feel better than I have…ever.

If I can conquer swimming, I think I would be set to sign up for a sprint triathlon.  I’m thinking a sprint distance is all I’d ever be interested in, however.  I like it because it would bring a lot of variety to my life as far as training goes, but each sport’s distance is so reasonable and easy to work with my busy schedule.

My big question for any triathlon- or marathon- or workout-junkies is this: why the long-distance races?  What’s the point for doing an Olympic, half, full, etc.?  If a person is fit, strong, and healthy, does distance prove anything beyond that?  In fact, at many races, I’ve seen people crossing the finish line who are overweight and seem generally miserable.  Why do they do it, then?

My thoughts are, short distances seem like a better fit for me and my lifestyle, but I’d like to get some opinions from people who appreciate long distances.  Why do you choose them over short?  How do they improve your life?  If you were “selling” the idea to someone who was on the fence, what are the selling points?

29/73/1500: Mayfaire 5K

What are all those numbers about, you say?

Yesterday, May 12, 2012 I ran in my first 5K race, the 33rd annual Midflorida Mayfaire. I have not been running regularly for very long; I practiced the 5K distance for a few weeks preceding this race. My goal was to come in under 30 minutes, and I did! My official race time was 29:24, which put me at 29th place out of 73 other girls in my age group. I ended up being in 502nd place out of a total of about 1,500 participants. Don’t worry, I already patted my back.

Overall, the race was good! It started at 7 p.m., which turns out to be a nice time for me. I was able to sleep in, do some yoga, eat a decent lunch, and have a generally lazy, relaxing day up to that point. That’s just the way I like it.

I felt the course was good for a beginner, but the hill at the end was pretty tough. It’s amazing how steep the streets feel when you’re running them as opposed to pressing the gas pedal in your car. The last hill was at the very end of the course, right when my energy was waning and my lungs were struggling to find enough oxygen amid the humidity. But, alas!  I ran like the Little Engine that Could and crossed the finish line.

My friend Mary was committed to run alongside me for my first race, and she kept me so motivated!

Pre-race: That’s me, Adam, and Mary. This was Adam’s and my first race.

Moments before I crossed the finish line

After the race, there were all sort of festivities, the best being fireworks. We all found a peaceful spot to sit along the edge of Lake Mirror, with an awesome view of the fireworks. We “oohed” and “ahhed” abundantly then shared some delicious pizza. It was the perfect end to a rewarding day.

Maybe I’ll stick with this running thing for a while.

 

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