Sunday, October 21, 2012

Spitting in the Face of Fear

I don't know what possessed me.

In a moment of delirious insanity, one of my multiple personalities, AthletiMom,  must have decided that I was perfectly capable of doing a Mud and Obstacle Run. AthletiMom proceeded to register me and then posted an open invitation on Facebook for everyone to join me. A few hardy souls took the bait.

Of course, after accomplishing this, AthletiMom turned tail and ran, not to be seen even once during the weeks leading up to the race.


I was left during that time with a --no, not a niggling fear -- but a giant, colossal, massive, SCREAMING, WIGGLING ALIEN LIFE FORM WOOLIE WORM OF FEAR that feasted on my insecurities like the Walking Dead and grew more drunken and obese by the day. What had I been thinking? I am not a Marine!! I have never done a pull up in my entire life. I RUN. That's all I do. I don't do drills, I don't do Jillian Michaels, I don't even do Zumba, for Pete's sake!! I put on some shoes and go run around my neighborhood. What in the world made me think I could do this race??
                       My fear surprised me by looking like Jabba the Hutt.

I have no answers for that. It just seemed like a good idea at the time.

If not for the ladies who said they were going to run it with me, the sniveling coward in me (who occupies my body most of the time) would have backed out. But I didn't want to let them down, and more importantly, I really, really wanted to meet Kim McKinney, Joanie Ashley and Donna Klim in person. We were friends on  Facebook and I absolutely wanted to spend a fun weekend in Atlanta with them.

But a mere few days before the race, I received my confirmation email from the friendly folks at the Merrill Down and Dirty organization and saw a link to the obstacles. I'd never looked at them before. (I know, I know, I  tend to jump into things without thinking them through all the way.) Prior to registration, I had been soothed with the phrase that the race was for people at all fitness levels, and the few photos I'd looked at seemed fun. Muddy, but fun.

Did you hear me screaming??


One obstacle was an extremely tall rock climbing wall. Another was a slanted slippery wall that you pulled yourself over by ropes. There was a really steep inflatable slide. And a host of other equally intimidating obstacles.

I'll admit it -- I was terrified.

But I was determined to spit in the face of my fear. Even though we agreed we were just going to do it for fun, and we could go around obstacles that were too difficult, I knew me -- I would never do that. Give me a challenge and I will die trying to succeed.

(Hmmmmm, maybe not the mindset you want when you're a 53 year old, out of shape, weekend warrior with an irregular heartbeat.)

Anyway, race day dawned cool and overcast -- perfect running weather. My friend Laura Gallagher had agreed to come along with me to cheer and take photos. We also met up with my college roommate, Ruth Thomas, another photographer extraordinaire.

Our group, which also included Donna's and Joanie's sons, waited impatiently in the corral for our wave to begin. And then, we were off. Bounding like deer over rock and rill, we tackled each obstacle like mad dogs. I know I'm mixing metaphors here, but hey, one minute we were fleet of feet and the next we were rabid, slobbering, howling, teeth-baring maniacs. Oh wait, that was during the cold shower afterward.

Anyway, it turned out to be more fun than I could ever have imagined. I did things I never thought I could. So THERE, fear!!! Hock-tui!! And I can't wait to run another.

These photos tell it all, I think.

                       Before: Myself, Kim, Justin, Donna, Joanie, and Brandon                                  

                                                Me, looking good from behind, lol!
                                                 Made it over!
                               Definitely down and dirty. I think this is where I spit.
                                        My muddy buddy!!
                                 The aftermath....

And when you get the chance to sit it out or dance....

I hope you mud run.


  1. You and me someday, baby!! :D

  2. Definitely!!!! We did good! And we were not last.... though it would have been OK if we were. Next test?

  3. Definitely!!!! We did good! And we were not last.... though it would have been OK if we were. Next test?

  4. Well, I have my half marathon in November, and then there's the Cooper River Bridge Run in me, I can come up with enough races to keep us busy! Someone told me that neon race is coming to Charlotte in April too!!