Saturday, September 16, 2017

Mud Running for a Third Time

(This post is about 4 months late but I wanted to put it up anyway as I did have a good time running Rugged Maniac mud race.)

Mud-Running Yet Again

My good friend Emily and I decided months ago to run the Rugged Maniac in Rockingham NC again for the 3rd time this year.  This year’s race was on May 20, 2017, and our run time was noon.  We did not sign up early enough to get into an early morning time slot before they all sold out.  So high noon it was. 

This year we called ourselves The Dazzling Unicorns.  I found awesome shirts off Amazon that were just perfect for such sparkling, sensational and bad-ass racing women!!

To get ready for this run, I did a lot of walking and jogging as part of my regimen to get in shape and train.  The first time I could jog 1.5 miles without stopping caused me to send out an excited selfie through Snapchat to my friends. J  I kept jogging regularly and eventually got to the point where I could jog just over 2 miles without stopping!!  I was so excited.  I had a feeling Emily and I would do even better this year compared to last year for our run as she ramped up her exercise routine too to be even more kick-ass and amazing. 

A couple of days before the mud run, we went on a carb-loading lunch.  Mainly I suggested it because I really just wanted to go back to that little Italian restaurant I love.  ;-)   The night before we were set to get muddy and rugged, I got most of my stuff packed up – a change of clothes, sunscreen, drinks, protein bars and a 5-hour energy drink for afterwards.  Husband and I got up early that Saturday to make sure we got the truck loaded up and could leave in time to meet up with Emily.  Husband was our one-person cheering section this year; our cheering section has dwindled over the past couple of years.  But I was incredibly grateful for hubby to be there for us, carry our waters, hold our stuff and take pictures.  Thanks hubby!!!!

We arrived about 45 minutes before our start time, which I thought was perfect.  That gave us just enough time to get on our shoes, check-in, slather on the sunscreen and get stretched out without standing out in the humid brutal heat for too long before the noon showdown. 

So we make our way over the wood fencing with the rest of the group of the noon runners waiting for the start.  We start off really well and then become caught up in a log jam of a large group of people that were up at the front because they were at the front of the pack in the starting line up.  It took us a several minutes to be able to work our way past them at the first couple of obstacles, but once we did, we kept up a pretty quick pace with lots of jogging and quick walking throughout the course.  I was extremely glad and relieved to see that this year that one of the three obstacles I was dreading the most was reduced in how much of it we had to complete.  This one was those bastard stadium stairs.  Their official obstacle race name does not matter.  To me, they are just ‘those bastard stairs.’  The first time we ran the course, we had to go up and down the stairs about 5 times; last year, we were made to go up and down them 3 times.  And thankfully, this year, we only had to GO UP THEM ONCE!  Hallelujah!  J 

I knew all the jogging I did leading up to the race would help me out in the long run, but I was uncertain how my legs would hold up by using them in a way I really had not trained them for – climbing stairs, walls made of boards, cargo netting and whatever other climbing and crawling we had to do.  They held up fairly well throughout the course, though there were sometimes my overall stamina was low and I needed to walk.  Thankfully, Emily was cool with my needing to walk for a rest; however, I definitely jogged as much as I knew I could while still having the energy to complete, well try to complete, the obstacles.

Another obstacle I was also dreading was The Trenches – huge, deep ditches that we were supposed to jump over.  I jumped over the first one and apprehensively attempted to jump over the second one.  Well my right foot just did touch the far edge before I fell landing hard against the trench wall.  So I climbed out and then climbed in/out of the remaining 4 or 5 trenches.  That was an improvement over last year because after falling in one last year, I just walked to the end of the obstacle without even trying to go over the rest.  Emily was able to jump over most of them but did have to climb in/out of one that was dug extra wide.

The third obstacle I was anxious about was the Frog Leap.  Last year I managed to complete it by leaping onto and across the 4 ‘lilypads’.  This year, well this year….  I barely made it onto the 1st one and when I tried to land on the 2nd ‘lilypad’, my right foot landed on it; however my left leg lagged behind and landed in the water.  This terrible combo of my legs not moving athletically as one caused me to hit the ‘lilypad’ really hard with the back of my right thigh.  I very ungracefully wiggled my right leg off so I could walk to the edge and wrench myself out of the water pit.  I wound up with a huge purple and yellowish-green bruise on the back of my right thigh that took a while to go away.

There were a few new obstacles this year.  One was not challenging at all; I don’t recall the name of it, but I hope it is left out of the line up next year.  Another new was The Crag.  You had to climb up and over a giant inflatable obstacle, and let me tell you, I was sooo graceful.  :-l NOT!!

So about halfway through we have a positive and pretty convincing feeling that we were ahead of our time last year at the halfway point, and when we came up to the last couple of obstacles, we had a strong feeling that we were definitely faster than last year. 
The last obstacle was a combo of 3 – the same as the rest of these races.  You had to run up a curved wall, make it over, followed by crawling over cargo netting up the giant inflatable slide.  This year when I ran up the curved wall, I just barely touched fingertips with one of the volunteers at the top who help people make it up over the wall.  By our fingertips barely making contact, I found myself slamming against the wall and sliding back down to the ground.  L  Once again I got a running start, a better one at that, and got up the wall far enough to be within range of grasping volunteers hands so they could pull me up.  Three of these heroes came to my rescue and helped me succeed in making it over the wall.  I was deadweight to them.  Watching me try to get over the wall, was probably like watching a fish flounder about on land; really a sad kinda funny.  When it came time for Emily and I to go down the slide, which was taller than last year, she held my hand to help me be brave again!  The inflatable slide was definitely more fun to go down.  Once we climbed out of the water pit and ran through the finish line, we realized we ran the course in 1 hour and 6 minutes!  About 10-15 minutes faster than last year!!!   :-)  :-)  :-) 

I had a blast running the course again and am really looking forward to running it again!  Once again, Emily was an ass-kicking, awesome, inspiring, positive, fun and exuberant partner!!!  Thanks girl!!!  :-)

                        Love our amazing shirts

                                          The writing doesn't show up clearly, but the back 
                                               of our shirts say "The Dazzling Unicorns"
                                               "Rugged Maniac 2017" and "Mud is Fun" 

                                                                And we set off....

Happy to be near the end

... still rocking her badass-ness

Emily successfully makes it up the terrible wall the 1st time

Me, well I failed. :-(

sliding back down

Let's try this again

Success!  I reached the guys.  

My heros!!!  :-)

going up to the slide

As usual, Emily is much more excited about going to the slide

     I'm done


We finished in 1 hour and 6 minutes!!!!!  We Rock!!!

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Current Year Really Doesn’t Matter That Much

Over the past several years, when important social rights issues have been discussed, debated and voted on, I often hear people say “It’s 201_ and I can’t believe we are still dealing with X.”  I used to say that myself – example “why in 2016 are people still making a big deal about gay people being in love or getting married.”  I completely get where these people (and formerly myself) are coming from.  In this day in age – 2017 A.D. – one would think that the thoughts and beliefs of humanity in general would have moved beyond caring how other people live their lives or what color their skin is or what their religious beliefs are etc.  

But the other day, I think while reading some dialogue about LGBTQ rights, someone said something like “why is this still an issue in 2017?”.  And it struck me quickly like a lightning bolt (a tired metaphor, I know), “what does being 2017 have to do with anything?”.  The advancement of thousands of years going by, adding to our annual trip around the sun, does not necessarily assure enlightened progression of people’s understanding of the human condition.  People will be small-minded, racist, prejudiced, hateful, rude, spiteful, vengeful, merciless and unforgiving for as long as there are people to walk this earth.  I cannot say I have done much research, or even light reading on this, but I would bet that people have been this way since the progress of evolution brought about the human race. 

Painting with a broad brush stroke here, but I feel that as long as humans have the ability to think and feel, have free-will and choice, and the ability to decide upon which thoughts they will act, the whole of humanity will never end racism, bigotry, chauvinism, xenophobia, sexism, dogmatism or the desire to control others.  It is a very nice thought to believe that as the years continue to go by that all people (current living and future born) will fill their hearts with decency, unconditional tolerance of others, helpfulness, total acceptance, peace and have no judgement.  But as long as there is at least one person around spreading hateful ideas, there will be at least one person to openly/actively listen and accept those terrible, wounding views in their cold hard hearts.

It has been said time and again by studious persons that “people are afraid of the unknown – things they don’t understand.”  That is one of the truest statements ever realized and taught.  Many people are afraid and embarrassed to be seen as uneducated and/or vulnerable, leaving them to be stalwart holders of ignorance and hate.  They can also be fearful of having family and friends think ill of them, which continues the cycle of closed-mindedness and unacceptance.

One part of the human condition directly and indirectly taught is that we want people we love and care about to think positively of us; and we dare not go against the grain we know.  So we sometimes hastily take up their beliefs and opinions as our own and usually don’t give them much thought or scrutiny.  We don’t want to be left out in the cold or become one of those that our loved ones loathe.  Humans (some, not all, naturally) don’t want to be seen as weak that can be easily convinced to join the “other side”.  The “other side” being people who do offer acceptance, love, and tolerance of those different from themselves.  We’d rather keep the peace around the dinner table and back yard barbeque than to try and help those persecuted find peace. 

So many foibles easily and quietly slither their way into peoples’ views, and eventually show up in their actions.  2017, 2018, 2020, 2025, 2035 etc – no matter what year comes along, harshness, intolerance, refusal to empathize & show compassion, and being unkind will always be a part of the human experience.  Just like people have the option to choose which feeling/attitude they will act upon, they also may pick and choose which parts of some constitutionally guaranteed freedoms they want applied.  They want these freedoms to apply when it positively benefits them and will utilize these liberties to stoke the fires of hatred and bias. 

People appreciate freedom of religion as long as others practice the same religion.  Heaven help them if they don’t believe/practice in the same way!  Some of the populace use freedom of speech too liberally in some instances – as in speaking before fully understanding about what they are speaking when it comes to major social/economic/government issues and rights or spreading alternative facts. (!)   And with freedom of the press, some will quickly believe just about anything presented as news if it lines up with their views without doing any research to learn if what is being reported has any amount of truth to it or if some of the truth was twisted to entice and enflame its readers.  **These are just my thoughts.  Possibly not well-reasoned ones!**  Don’t get me wrong here!  I really do appreciate these freedoms and the others that we so fortunately have here in the USA.

So I realize I have been rambling on here and may have gotten somewhat off topic.  I guess overall what I am trying to say is that humans will be humans with all of the emotions, feelings and beliefs that are available for them to have - no matter if its back in the Middle Ages, Age of Discovery, Napoleonic Era or Post-Cold War/Postmodernity Era or any of the Eras and Ages that have come to pass since the beginning of humanity.

Anyway these are my (probably irrational) opinions and feelings on the often said “I can’t believe it is (current year) and we still have to deal with (social/economic issue).”

Two clarifications here to keep in mind:
1)    I am not a historian, philosopher, psychologist or psychiatrist or any other scholar.  So I am just kind of making this up as I go along based on what I have heard, read and observed over the years; and
2)    I do not have any answers on how to make all of human race loving, kind and peace-filled.  The best I can do is be kind to others and help where I can.  And if I am brave, call out other people who are being mean to those who are different – whether different in skin color, sexuality, religion or any other factor.

Today’s pun courtesy of the interwebs ---
An umbilical cord is a navel vessel.