Monday, September 26, 2011

Conquering The Wall

I ran the Rebel Race this last weekend.  This was my first obstacle course race ever.  I've done many half marathons, a trail relay, a century and a half bike ride, so I'm not a total newbie to what most outside of the runner's & cyclist's community consider a tad extreme.  As most of are when doing something new, I went into this with a few nervous jitters and some fear.  I wasn't scared of the running, this was only a 5k.  I've ran 3.1 miles over and over again.  That was the least of my worries.  I had read and seen the course description on Rebel Race's website, so I was somewhat familiar with what I was about to get myself into.  As the Rebel Race promised, I started off my dash toward the woods, slid through some mud and into the river for more mud sloshing.  I went over and under the logs in the river and climbed back out the slippery slope where I was expected to do a forward roll in the mud. So much for only washing my hair once this week.  Everything was great so far.  Getting wet and dirty was not what I feared, it was what I expected. I continued my trek jumping through tires with confidence that was about to be shot down as fast as my children disappear when it's chore time.

I was wishing this moment wouldn't come.  I knew there was no way to get around this, literally.  I approached the cargo net wall with much hesitancy.  Must it be so high?  There was no way my arms were going to pull this body up those ropes.  My upper body strength is equivalent to the amount of motivation my children have to maintain clean bedrooms, non-existent.  I nervously began my ascent.  Much to my surprise, I've underestimated my arms' ability and easily maneuvered to the top of this wall.  As I gave myself an imaginary pat on the back and "yeaa for me", I realized my premature excitement.  I still had to hurl myself over to the other side of this wall and make the descent. All this time I wasted worrying about my lack of upper body strength was misplaced.  My real fear, the fear of heights, came to the surface.  Once I looked down and over the side of wall, I was done.  My legs started shaking so bad, I was sure to be the reason for Japan's next tsunami.  I remained still for fear of falling as my legs now registered a 10 on the richter scale.  Regardless of the encouragement from the other participants, I was unable to get past this mental block and came back on the same side I went up.  I was determined to finish the rest of the course, while wishing, hoping & praying for no additional "walls".

I scrambled through the tunnel and made it across the ditch with ease.  I completed sit-ups, push-ups and leg lifts with military effort.  I picked myself up off the muddy ground to be greeted by not only one, but two more walls.  Before you begin to "Oh, No!" for me, much to my own amazement, not only did I make it to the top of both walls, I crawled over both and came down the OTHER side of both walls.  "Yeaaaaa, freaking', whooo, whooo for me!!!"  Of course, I didn't repeat that outside of my own head.  I'm sure I would have gotten the same look from the other participants that I get from my husband when I say "Gag a maggot".   "What was different about these two walls versus the first?", you ask. Be patient people. I'm getting to that.

I continue with my boot camp crawl on my elbows and knees, leap over the flaming fury of fire and proceed to what I believe is close to the finish.   What?  Another "insert bad word" wall?  Are you kidding me?  Let me guess!  Some jerk I refused to date in high school found out I was registered, figured out one of my worst fears and set this entire shebang up just for me, right? No, wait a minute! This is how karma rears its ugly head for throwing a worm on my best friend's head when we were younger, much younger. This wall was just as high as the first, but constructed of intermittent boards versus the net. I did the last two walls with unexpected ease, I can do this one.  WRONG!  I made it to the top and once again, froze up faster than my frigid, cat lady destined sister. I couldn't make myself throw my leg over that wall to climb down the other side. Once again and with much disappointment, I crept down the same side of the wall I came up.  I finished my adventure with a crawl through a very muddy pit under barbed wire.

"So, what was the difference between the two walls you conquered and the two you didn't?", you ask again.  Lacking the proper psychiatric training, my non-professional opinion brings you this conclusion. The two walls that didn't like me both had the same characteristic.  When approaching the very top and attempting to climb over, I was in a position that I could look down and see the ground regardless of where I focused.  The other two walls were solid structures and I could throw myself over the top while staring at the walls themselves and ignoring the fact, that at any given moment I could come crashing to my imminent death.  Would I do this course again?  Absolutely!  I'm determined to conquer this fear.  Hopefully, when I do, it's about 10 feet closer to the ground.