In 36 days I’m going to be getting up early, heading into the big city, and running through 6K’s of obstacle, mud and mayhem. That’s right… I said running. I signed up for the Mud Hero—which sounded like a really good idea 6 months ago.
This is funny for those who know me for two reasons. One, I don’t run. I mean, ever. Not even if I’m being chased. I’m more of a stop and negotiate sort.
This wasn’t always true—as a kid I was a sprinter. I ran track and field and I was quick. I placed first… a lot. Short distances were my thing. But, I could never run the long ones. You know, the cross-country ones. Debilitating cramps would seize me after about 200 metres and I could never figure out the breathing thing. In through my nose and out through my mouth. Impossible. After 300 metres I would be gasping for air and blowing saliva bubbles out through my nose holes.
A million years later, a friend and I thought it would be fun to join an ultimate frisbee league to stay active. Some research ahead of time on my part would have told me that running was involved. A lot of running. My kids sat on a blanket at the sidelines of each game and every few minutes I would come flying out of the field and collapse beside them. They would jump to work wiping my brow or spraying water in my mouth and then pep talk me into going back out there—like I was some kind of prize fighter going back in for the kill. Damn toddlers. Didn’t they know it was just frisbee?
The second reason I don’t run is because at some point after turning forty… running makes me pee. I can describe the horrors of the “treadmill incident of 2009” while trying to get my money’s worth out of my under-utilized YMCA membership—or you can just take my word for it. I suspect that my body is objecting to the running and at that moment the only thing greater than my will to succeed is public humiliation. And I can assure you that I emptied my bladder many times in advance, yet somehow this ‘mystery’ pee arrived whenever I so much as even dangled a foot over the treadmill. This is the universe telling me, in agreement, that I do not run. Ever.
So, why did I sign up for a mud hero? I have no reasonable explanation. In my heart, I’m still a young woman capable of conquering anything. I see myself as strength, courage and indomitable will with no need for preparation—and with an outward physical appearance of something like this:
More and more though, I suspect that it is something closer to this:
I can also tell you that I have/had every intention of preparing for this event—but everything I say would be a juggernaut of lies. I will get out of bed that morning, drink my coffee, hike with my dog, try to find a pair of shorts in my closet that aren’t circa 1983 and then put on a pair of shoes that I need to lace up. I’m only partly worried that I’m going to let my team down by coming in last. I tell myself that it’s OK to come in last because I’ll have my GoPro camera strapped on and being in last place gives me the best filming advantage. Reasonable, no?
I may not be what I used to be. And I’ll never be what I can’t be. But I do know there is a superhero in me just bucking to get out. She’s there somewhere. Under gallons of soda, litres of red wine and fistfuls of ju-jubes… there is an athletic goddess. And soon I’ll have the video to prove it.
Onward to the Mud Hero!