Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mommy is a BADASS (aka Tough Mudder Utah, event report, part 1)

Good gawd. Where to begin? At the beginning might be too boring, but I’ll do it anyway.

It all started out in January. I just happened to see something online somewhere. I don’t even remember where. It doesn’t matter. I sent the link in an e-mail AS A JOKE to one of my fellow weight class buddies saying that we should NOT show the link to our instructor because she would come up with some new tortures similar to what the video was showing. He responded back and basically said “let’s do it.” See how that happened? That’s why I blame him for all of this. I wasn’t actually suggesting anything. He did. (FYI – the rest of the team seems to remember this differently, and it’s somehow my fault. Can you believe it?) So, five of us plus one wife signed up, paid our $115, and goaded each other all year long about how we were going to completely rock it. In the end, it turns out that the one who started the whole thing (NOT ME) was injured and couldn’t participate. (I’m not sure if he was the lucky one or not.)

So, I was going to be 40 pounds lighter by now, and it was going to be easier to do. Well, I’m only 6 pounds lighter. I guess if you count the number of times that I lost the same five pounds, I would be 40 pounds lighter but only if I hadn’t gained it all back in between. And, I truly worked HARD to develop my upper body. I may have mentioned this before, but I HAVE BICEPS! And some other stuff, but yeah, again with the biceps….

As the time approached, I managed to watch enough footage to really freak myself out while trying to mentally prepare. I think that I did a good job on both fronts. The entire past week was spent in a constant state of nausea. I hadn’t been this nervous for any event since my first marathon. Thankfully, a friend of mine had recently completed the TM Seattle, so I got some great advice from her, too. The course was only six miles from my house, so I drove past a couple of times. Of course, I couldn’t see much, and all it did was make me more nervous because three of the hardest obstacles were right at the end which was right next to the road. I needed gloves, so I perused the store this morning at 6am. I finally decided on a $3 pair of fish grabbers. Awesome damn gloves. We’re getting more of these things.

We decided to carpool out, so the group gathered at our house at 8am. Our start time was 10:40, but we were recommended to arrive at least two hours ahead of time. That wouldn’t have been so bad, but it had rained the night before, and it was cold. Also, true to Tooele weather, the wind was blowing. Not a breeze, but a wind. Oh, thank goodness.

Oh, and to make it more exciting, the course was now 12 miles instead of the original 10 with 21 obstacles instead of the original 20. Oh, joy.

So, we arrived at the event site and got all checked in. The Tough Mudder people think that it’s funny to write your participant number on your forehead – you know – just in case you’re decapitated. Gosh, thanks. We were early enough that we could wander around and check a few things out. They were as nerve wracking as I expected them to be. And, we were already shivering WITH our sweatshirts on! But, it was exciting. It was exhilarating. It was crazy.

If ever I need a reminder about how stupid I can really be, I just need to sign up for an event that is out of my league. There were about a billion 20- and 30-somethings. All of them were in shape. Then, there’s me, having my early 40s mid-life crisis, overweight, and not quite as prepared as I wish I was.

Here’s a funny side-note: I was getting the last wristband out of my participant packet when I noticed the name on the packet. Kathryn. Yeah, that’s not my name. So, I said “I have never typed Kathryn before in my life. How could they make that mistake?” Then, I looked at the age: 45. Dude! I’m only 42, and I’m not in a hurry to add more years. What. The. Hell. I have someone else’s packet. SOMEONE ELSE HAS OUR LAST NAME!!! It’s not like it’s a common name, AT ALL. It’s not like Christensen (which there were probably 700 of them at this event alone). It’s just us. Or, so we thought. So, I had to stand in (the slowest) info line to fix the mix-up since I had Kathryn’s number on my forehead and my wrist and my shirt. While standing there, I saw her team! They had their team name printed on the back of their shirts. Dumb luck. So, I found her, and explained the situation. “Well, how did you get my packet?” she asked. “We have the same last name,” I replied. She and all of her friends just looked at me like I was crazy. “No, you don’t. Nobody has this last name.” “No shit,” I said. Suddenly, there are, like, eight more of us. CRAZY.

Hey. Guess what? It’s almost time to start the race. Oh. My. Gawd. In order to get to the start line, we had to scale an 8-foot wall. Just to get to the start line. I couldn’t do it without help. Read that sentence again. No, wait. Don’t. You’ll be reading it about 2749 more times before I’m done. Kneeling on the dirt and listening to the motivational emcee, I was shaking – and not because of the cold. (But, it was cold.) My hands were shaking. My insides were shaking. My mind was shaking. I was scared. I don’t do shouting with groups, but I couldn’t help but get caught up in the excitement. I shouted out some “ooo-rah”s, and I meant them. We sang the national anthem as a group. This was the best national anthem I’ve heard for years. It was awesome. Top of our lungs and with gusto. Fantastic. I wish we could have sang longer, but we did need to start the event. I wanted to barf. Motivating Guy blows his whistle, and we’re off.

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