So word is apparently getting around that I like to lift heavy things, climb like a monkey and run in the mountains, preferably while covered in dirt. Two or three weeks ago my friend/colleague/trainer Matt asked me if I would fill in a place for someone who had dropped out for a Mud Run. Matt is my weightlifting coach at the gym where I work (still weird to say….) and lets me come to his class and disrupt the men in their routine by adding sass and slowing everyone down. 🙂 He’s also the size of a refrigerator. So when he pulled a pink tutu out of his bag, I could hardly contain my excitement. Matt’s girlfriend, Sarah, had someone drop out of her team for the upcoming Dirty Girl Mud Run. The tutu and matching princess socks were the required costume. He was willing to take over my shift so I could go run in the mountains covered in dirt. What a guy!
So of course I agreed to the race without even considering it much of a question. I signed up; put on my tutu and met up with the girls. I was running the race with Sarah and Krista, each of us in our required tutu. I felt like I knew Sarah through Matt but I was meeting Krista for the first time. The last time I agree to a race without looking it up and ran with strangers, (Tough Mudder 2015) it was the most fun I’d ever had on a race. So I figured it was worth the risk. AND WE HAD A BLAST.
The Dirty Girl Mud Run is a 5K course in Copper Mountain with 10-12 obstacles. It was attainable for all levels and a great race for newbies. This was Sarah and Krista’s first obstacle race and I knew that I was agreeing to go their pace and be a supportive team member. To be a total cocky jerk, the race was really simple for me. I tried to focus on being patient, encouraging my teammates and having fun with racing. Check check and check. It was a great day.
I almost got emotional a few times on the course. I’d never run an all female race before. Also, I’d never done one with so many of my ghosts along the path. Again, to be a total jerk: Most races that I run now, I NEVER would have been able to do before. I rarely see someone the size that I used to be in a race and never anyone bigger than that. Most races I run, my old self wouldn’t have even knew existed. This race is attainable for everyone so I saw so many versions of myself along the course. I remember one girl in particular. We were coming up to a climbing rig with: a cargo net climb to the top, horizontal traverse across a cargo net and then slide down a fireman’s pole; then crawl through the bubble pit to the other side. The whole thing was maybe 12-15 feet up in the air. Ahead of me I saw someone who was larger than my past self just giving everything she had to get to the top. But down below I saw my old self. She was standing to the side and wasn’t even going to try. Both my teammate Sarah and I tried to encourage her to try and offered to help her. It was clear she was just going to watch.
I wanted to encourage her more and fill her with a sense of inspiration and rigor to give it a go, but she was so defeated before she began. I saw myself in her eyes. I knew she would never try; no matter what I said. I watched so many women that day accomplish something they never thought they could. One woman was frozen at the top of a long slide and my team spent a long time trying to encourage her. Eventually she told us to go. She had the biggest smile on her face when we found her at the finish line to tell us that she had done it! But to the girl at the cargo net, she wouldn’t know. She wouldn’t know what that was like. I don’t know that woman. Maybe just walking the course was her goal that day. Maybe that brought her more joy than the obstacle would have anyway. But I saw it in her eyes.
Defeat. Not defeat from fear of the height or the obstacle. But defeat from even trying. I’d been in that place so many times. Here’s what I think she was going through her head:
I’m to heavy for that. Will the obstacle even hold me? I’m not supposed to do those things. What if I fail in front of everyone? I know I can’t do it.
These phrases kept me from even trying to lose weight so many times. “I know I can’t do it. I’ve tried already. What if I fail?” Fear of failure is something I deal with everyday of my life. Its something that I struggle with in everything I do. But I keep trying. I keep failing and trying to be ok with it. I’m trying to be ok with not being able to do EVERYTHING. But it’s hard. My fear of failure made me miss out on so many things in life. I’m not letting it rob me anymore. I almost missed out on the most beautiful Saturday on Copper Mountain with the most beautiful of ladies! 🙂