This past weekend I felt a happiness I haven’t felt in awhile.
I took part in Terrain Racing, a mud/obstacle run. It was an event I had signed up for back in July when I saw an ad for a a price cut in the event. I also convinced one of my co-workers (Julia) and another friend (although she bailed last-minute) to come with me. I signed up, then put it out of my mind.
Last week leading up to the run, I was not quite dreading going, but not really looking forward to it either. I just wasn’t excited about the “hassle” of driving nearly an hour to get to the event, figuring out the logistics of what I needed to bring, the event taking up the bulk of my day (meaning the less time for adulting activities such as cleaning, organizing, and grocery shopping), etc.
Plus, in the last two weeks I have NOT been my typically active self, AND I haven’t been eating super well either.
But, both my co-worker and I rallied, and it also happened to be a picture-perfect 75-degree day. No one wants to get in cold wet mud and have it be chilly outside at the same time.
When we arrived, we had about 45 minutes to wait for our heat. We decided not to wait for our start time, and jumped into a heat a couple minutes early. Unlike the Warrior Dash, which you start out very dry and most of the obstacles don’t start until about mile 2, they had us start in a murky pool of water. Then we had to hoist ourselves out of the pool to begin.
As we moved through the course, it became apparent that this event was much harder than the Warrior Dash (which I’ve done twice). With the WD, the obstacles were challenging-ish, but fun, and totally doable for most people.
With the Terrain Run, it involved things like climbing a rope (something I couldn’t do as a kid, and sadly still can’t do (right now)), to rope and ring swings, which for even the most athletically gifted, is a challenge.
But both Julia and I played with each obstacle as best we could, and for the most part we could do all of them, including big tire flips, pulling heavy cinder blocks in the dirt, and wall climbs.
But the one thing that got me most nervous was the second to last obstacle: monkey bars.
Ever since I had impingement in both my shoulders about 5 years ago, I have been apprehensive about doing them. They are not as easy in adulthood as they are in childhood, when you have less body weight dragging you down. Plus, I think kids just play and climb a lot and improve their grip, where us adults just sit at computers and type a lot. And we don’t do as much manual labor as a whole like generations before us.
At the gym, any time we would hang from the monkey bars or have to traverse them, I always either dropped to the ground trying to do it, or felt the pain of just hanging there.
So, as we approached the bars, my stomach was in knots. There were about 8 or so rungs (that went up as they went along) in the first section, and in the middle was a giant wooden beam, followed by another 8-ish rungs that went down.
As I waited my turn, I saw others drop into the pool below, which gave me some comfort that if I couldn’t make it I would be fine.
But as I took off, I went really fast through the first section. Holy shit, I was doing it!!!
But then I got to the wooden beam, and I just couldn’t find my way around it and the next rung was too far away. I lost my grip and fell into the pool. But I wasn’t disappointed. In fact I was thrilled knowing how far I’d come, and if the wooden beam hadn’t been there, I know I could have made it all the way through. If you watch this video, you can see the wooden beam in the middle that this girl found her way around.
But it wasn’t just that obstacle that made me feel on cloud 9 the rest of the day. It was the fact that I realized how much I missed doing a LOT of physical activity. How much I loved “playing” and getting dirty.
The next day I also volunteered at Dreamcatcher LA, an organization that provides equine therapy to special needs kids.
I got to walk along side horses and even trot with them if the rider was skilled enough. I finished my day by shoveling horse shit, and thoroughly enjoyed it. lol!
Again, it was the being physical part that I really enjoyed.
It’s not that I want to quit my desk job and go work on a farm, but it does give me a lot of clues as to what brings me happiness. I mean, I think overall we ALL sit on our asses way too much. Our modern “disease” is living sedentary lives AND eating crappy processed food at the same time.
It also was a clue that I need to venture out more and yes, that might mean spending more money. I would love to have a significant other who I could just be content staying home with and playing cards and saving tons of money (and don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being home), but that means I gotta get out of the house and “out there” more, and if friends aren’t available, sometimes that means joining an event or organization.
Case in point: I signed up for a 5k trail run on Thanksgiving, morning because I don’t have any other plans. Yes, I could run for free by myself, but I want to be around the energy of a lot of other people. Go ahead and sue me hard-core FI people. 🙂
Oh, and wish me luck that I don’t break an ankle!
ETA: I also might sign up for the Tough Mudder Half in March in LA.