On climbing walls and crawling through mud….

This is going to result in some rambling. I’m okay with that. My blog; my rules.
I ran the Warrior Dash last weekend. I’ve been wanting to do that since it first came to Colorado last year. Obstacles, running, mountains…it all sounded like something that was right up my alley! Basically, it’s like field day for grown ups…in that you get a delicious (free) beer at the end. Mmm! So with nary a training day under my belt, I headed up the hill with Todd and the dogs and embarked on “the craziest frickin’ day of my life!”
I should know better than to race at elevation without training. I mean, yeah, I live at nearly 5300 feet so I can take on just about any sea-level challenge, no worries. But when the race itself STARTS at 10,000+ feet, I should have really reconsidered my lack of training. I DQd myself on the second (of TWELVE) obstacles because I had to launch myself over a 4-foot high wall…it should be noted that, thanks to years of cheerleading, I’ve generally focused all of my strength training on my lower body. So lifting myself (all 122 pounds of me) is a pretty daunting task. And I simply could not do it.
The rest of the course went about as expected: not well. The mud pit = hilarious and fun, but it’s worth stating that there was mud in places that there should only be mud if I’m at a spa. Made for a pretty interesting run after that craziness!
The worst of it came at the end of the course when I wound up with disgusting bruises on both my wrists and my knees along with some pretty major cuts and scraping (which are finally starting to heal). It was just today, four days after the event, that I noticed some pretty nasty green and purple bruises on my legs from said obstacle. One is the size of a small continent.
Doing the Warrior Dash taught me some things about myself:
1. There are certain things that I cannot and will not ever be able to do. I need to be okay with that.
2. I really really am absolutely terrified of heights…to the point to near-hysteria.
3. I can be brave when I have to be, despite the hysterics (and, often, despite the cursing).
Bravery, I think, comes in a lot of different forms. And just because we ask for help doesn’t mean that we haven’t done a brave thing. Sometimes, asking for help IS the brave thing. I have friends that I think do brave things all the time. Some of them go back to school at nearly 30-years-old to pursue a dream. Some of them go off to war, knowing full-well the potential danger in front of them. Some of them simply get up every morning and face the day head on, despite what life as thrown at them. Some of them leave the safety of home in an effort to prove to themselves (and maybe others) that they are brave enough and good enough to do it.
I wonder, then, what makes us feel brave? Is it when WE feel it, individually? Or is it when someone else recognizes our fearlessness and applauds it? I’m honestly not sure. Maybe it’s both. Maybe sometimes we need people to reassure us that what we’re doing really is very brave, regardless of the fear or of the unknown.
Pursuing a dream is one of the bravest things I’ve ever seen. My best friend did it almost 10 years ago and I’ve seen what that kind of pursuit can lead to…and now I get to watch another friend do it!
And let’s just be honest about how brave going to war is.
Sometimes life is just a real bitch. We don’t know why things happen the way they do, but to not let it get the best of you? C’mon. That’s pretty amazing.
Just having the gumption to change your life…that’s…wow. Even if you do it (or did it) to prove a point to everyone EXCEPT yourself, you still did it…alone. And look how incredible you are because of it!
And maybe, just maybe, while we’re all trying to prove to everyone else how brave we are, we really end up proving it to ourselves.
So did I have fun at the Warrior Dash? Absolutely.
Would I do it again? I’ll never rule anything out, but I think I’ll stick to being the cheerleader for now…

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One thought on “On climbing walls and crawling through mud….

  1. I think bravery is a lot about perception/perspective.

    I think walking thru a parking lot full of geese is the bravest thing ever; while someone looking on might just think I have mental problems. People looking at my life might think I'm brave for getting up and not giving up; when to me, it's just my life.

    Props to you for taking on something so physically daunting without a second thought. From here, that looks pretty brave. (c:

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