Things that you think about when you’re 46 and your first Tough Mudder is nine weeks away.
1. Nine weeks. That’s still quite a few weeks.
2. Nine weeks. ARE YOU SHITTING ME? There are things in my refrigerator that expire AFTER I GET BACK FROM ARIZONA.
3. I’m in pretty good shape.
4. I am really, really fat. Like, come here. Let me squish up my belly in my two meaty fists and show you how much it resembles bread dough. Go ahead. Poke it. It’s kind of fun if you’re into that. And what is that roll above the band of my bra? How did I develop NEW back fat with as hard as I’ve been working?!
5. I can do very cool things with my body. Headstands! Handstands! Pullups! A gazillion situps! Running along quiet trails for miles all by myself!
6. My body is betraying me. If my achilles tendinitis doesn’t get healed, I’m going to be in a world of hurt on that 12-mile course. Also, what’s that twinge in my back? What is my elbow doing? Will my neck ever stop hurting? Did I mention I’m closer to 50 than 40? And how the hell did THAT happen?
A few months ago, when I agreed to join about 40 friends and acquaintances on the journey to Arizona to run my first Mudder, I was nervous about the commitments – physical, financial, and emotional. When I clicked on “submit” on the nonrefundable registration, my anxiety turned into an adrenaline-fueled free fall. Pacing around the house, I was giddy, terrified, ridiculously proud, ashamed (more about that later) and terrified (yes, I’m repeating myself) all at the same time. And then I immediately signed up for a second Tough Mudder a month later, to be held in the Poconos. Take those earlier emotions and multiply them by a factor of ten, and add nausea and lightheadedness. Fortunately, for me, anyway, many of my friends reported feeling the same. We’re a tight group of fitness-oriented individuals who all “met” via a Facebook health club group. The group itself has nearly 10,000 members, but there are about 100 of us who are particularly active, and through posting our “PWSs” (post-workout selfies), and stories about our challenges and our successes, have become more than simply Facebook acquaintances. In fact, some of my closest current friendships were generated since I joined the group in April of last year. The power of Internet connections can’t be understated. In fact, that’s how I met the love of my life. But that’s another story for another day…
Over the ensuing months since that stressful day, I’ve mostly settled myself down and concentrated on my training (more on that later too) and, through the miracle of private groups on Facebook, began to get to know my teammates better and started to build the trust that will be needed on the course. I’ve experienced incredible physical transformation; surprised myself and others by “winning” challenges I set for myself; organized and led team challenges; made friends with people of all shapes, sizes and ability levels; and dug deep and found grit I didn’t know I had. So much grit. I’ve also experienced boredom, self-doubt, pain, exhaustion, failure, and, most perniciously, the lows that come with what I’ve come to call “not being Awesome.”
I want to tell you everything right now. All the experiences! All the difficulties around diet, trouble fitting in workouts while in a longish-distance relationship, concerns about the old and new aches and pains, and the worries about not being ready and about not being Awesome. And too, all the accomplishments I’ve completed, all the times I set out to do something and did it (like a motherfucking rock star)…all the times I was indeed very, very Awesome.
So much to say, and my plan is to write, write, write, along with train, train, train, as both a personal journal I can look back on, as well as a letter to you, my friends, about what’s possible, and how to dust yourself off after a fall and find your way back to awesome. Over and over again. Mostly, I would love if anyone reading about my journey began to believe a little more in herself and her own abilities.
But for now, I have a boyfriend (who is the most supportive training partner ever born) waiting with a Belgian beer, a homemade cassoulet, and a warm space next to him on the couch. Balance in all things – including hot delicious food, superior beer, and love.
Until later! Stay fitty, my friends.