I entered my first half marathon in the fall of 2008. I had never run over five miles at one time, let alone be officially timed while running. I had only started running as a way to tire out my Golden Retrievers, then I realized it was good, cheap exercise, and it was stoking some creative energy that I thought I had long since snuffed out. The only reason I entered that half marathon was at the nudge from a friend who is without a doubt the most authentically warm, genuine and positive person I have the pleasure to know and I had not one good argument to tell her I couldn’t do it. Plus, I was getting addicted to that runner’s high. I know, gag me, but it’s real.
Since that race in 2008, I have run six half marathons, two of which where off-road trail halfs, and as of tonight, three Tough Mudders. As my team, the mighty Mudtallica walked around Truckee this morning, we were chatting about how we became Mudders, and it all goes back to me and an email I wrote on April 30, 2010 to several good friends who were each experiencing some of life’s hardest and darkest times. The email was a rallying cry, an effort to inspire my friends to join me in showing life that we were not going to take its worst days without showing it how we live our best days.
As I sit here, sore as hell and chuckling about our adventure on the course yesterday (yet also feeling a bit of the post Mudder blues), I realized that my next organized event is not a run, but a much needed nudge to honor my writing and creativity, Camp Mighty. I am seriously WAY MORE terrified of that than any eight foot Berlin Wall will ever be. But, since I used my writing to inspire the friends that have now helped me complete three Tough Mudders, I wanted to share that email, and a picture of me, with my actual face showing, however covered in glorious mud.
Hope this inspires you too. I imagine it can.
30 April 2010
So there I was last night, on my walk with the pooches, not really running this week as my body needed the rest after the half on Sunday, and my mind started doing its thing where it lets go and settles into my “write” brain. My feet would not not run, so I let myself settle into short bursts of jogging as gentle as possible since my feet still ache from the race, I had not taken my inhaler, and most of all, was without proper boob support. I started thinking about the next physical challenge I wanted to pose for myself since that seems to be the way I have kept sane the past two years. The ideas and images of half marathons and trying out Cross Fit and getting back to yoga all meandered by. Then I remembered an article I read in the NY Times the night before about a challenge called Tough Mudder.
Apparently the Tough Mudder is a not-race, meaning it is untimed, but it is a 7 mile course with intensely crazy-fun obstacles, like a mud run on steroids. I f’ing love it.
Now comes the imagining part…
As I walked along last night, I started going all GI Jane and thinking about climbing hills, and rope walls, and slogging through mud and doing it with glee and shouts and laughs and yawps and promise of beer at the end. And then I thought, who would be the best people to have on a team for this insanity? Please see list above :-)
Each one of us, for all our blessings has had their share of shitstorms, stresses, dramas, depressions, worries, and hells on Earth the past year or so. Between us I tallied up three divorces, one nearing divorce, two strained marriages, two kids with life threatening surgeries, two pending bankruptcies, one mom on chemo and radiation, one dad in a coma, two sick dogs, two dogs who passed away, cats given up to others, family members dying, friends dying… just amongst the 10 of us. Each one of us has found strength in the others and damn it all to hell, our tough asses are still here facing these seeming disasters. And each one of us has used physical strength, movement and activity to heal ourselves, or at the very least, expend some of the nervous energy that builds up in our battered hearts and minds. We have a triathlete, two marathoners, several collegiate athletes, skiers, both amateur and pro, and some who just like to run and all who like to move their bodies.
I started to imagine each of us, standing together as a team at the top of some crazy-ass hill in the Northern California mountains in October getting ready to hurl ourselves down it Braveheart-style, scramble across logs and rocks and mud and water all the while helping each other along the course. We would be our own Race for the Cure: the Cure for Fear, the Cure for Worry, the Cure for Stress, the Cure for Hating Your Job, the Cure for Anger, the Cure for Sadness, the Cure for Others Who Cannot Hurl Themselves Down a Hill… Us. We together could do that.
And I would write about it. Oh boy would I.
So, dear friends, I just ask you to IMAGINE. Just spend a little time this weekend imagining this. It is five months away and the same weekend as the Nike Half and Full, which two of you I know were considering anyway. We would be an AWESOME team. We already have a coach on the list. And I am really good with logistics.