This year has tested every ounce of spirit and grit deep within me. I feel like every step I take, I get knocked right back onto my arse. I’ve lost relationships I thought I would have forever in my life, lost myself into dark depression and failed gloriously at moments that should have come naturally to me. My health has declined and I feel in the pits most days but I have refused to let that bring me down or keep me from moving forward.
My race season has been no exception to the unfortunate mishaps. It seems that right before a race or in the earliest moments of a race, something catastrophic happens that slows the pace I know I could keep and my morale is totally shot. I’ve had trouble getting excited for races, slacked on my training and been harder on myself than ever before. My attitude has been severely negative and I feel like a burden on everyone.
I decided to put all of this aside and still registered to race Battle 6:11 #Rise:St Francisville. And after I registered, I immediately regretted it.. what had I done? Shortly after, I began passing out.. losing bodily control. After getting the all clear from my Dr to work out, I figured it was a sign I was just meant to do it. I got super down on myself. “You haven’t been training.” “You’re still big.” “You can’t get over all of the obstacles.”
Pre-Race day went pretty smoothly. I finished packing in epic timing and fell asleep with no problems. [This is extremely unheard of. I am usually running around my house like a chicken with my head cut off. Then I toss and turn all night afraid to miss my alarm.] My alarm went off, I sat straight up and was ready to tackle the day (or so I thought). As we got closer to the venue, my stomach was in knots.
What had I done? Why was I doing this? I literally felt like I was such a glutton for punishment.
As I registered, my nerves started to settle but I was still in my head about my flaws. I’m not a very graceful or fast runner. It definitely affects my mentality at every race. You see, my time will never be pretty and my body type isn’t exactly what you expect to see running or going over/through obstacles but man, do I love obstacle course racing. Anyways..
We loaded the start gate, Aaron did an awesome job getting everyone hype…and then they sent us on our way. As I went over the first wall, I felt great. My last battle race, I needed help over the first sets of walls .. so I felt like this was an improvement and let’s be honest; who doesn’t want to see progress for hard work!? So I start thinking that this isn’t so bad after all .. and then the climbing came. After the first small ascent, I could feel my heartbeat through my ears. My head felt like it was growing and shrinking rapidly. It was in that moment that I wanted to tap and call it a day. I kept it to myself at first and kept walking forward but I was falling behind tremendously from my group. We had all agreed before the race to go at our own paces even if it meant separating.
With some encouraging words from a friend, a brief separation from the pack and mental grit- I didn’t tap. I kept going. Each step seemed lighter than the last. I didn’t have 100% Obstacle Completion.. and chances are, I never will. I didn’t pass or lap anyone.. I still had to stop and catch my breath.. My heart beat out of my chest a few times. My heart beat out of my head a few times.. and I said too many Our Father’s and Hail Mary’s to keep count.
This race course was brutal. It took every fiber of my being to complete it. I walked away with bruises, scraps, rashes and even a tick.. but I also walked away with a refreshed outlook and rejuvenated soul. I took a step back (figuratively, not literally.. I was way too exhausted for that) and was able to see situations and events in my life with a fresh pair of eyes. Things have been tough, yes.. but I have made it through each and every setback somehow.
It doesn’t matter how you cross the finish line.. what matters is that you get there. Life is going to throw you curve balls.. or heat.. or hills – but you must keep moving forward no matter what. Always remember to drink enough water and put one foot in front of the other.
I would like to thank God for protecting me and my friends on this course and during our travel. We all had successful races and achieved great things out there.
To my friends who stand by my side, thank you for putting up with my slow pace, my complaining and my weakness. Thank you for picking me up (literally and figuratively) when I fall down. For always pushing me forward even when I feel like I have nothing left to give. Thank you to listening to me vent and cry. I would not be who I am today without my circle of friends!
To my family, thank you for letting me spread my wings in this crazy world. I know many nights I cry, I train and I mentally check out.. and not once do you complain. You have allowed me to find something I love deeply and pursue it with your support, love and understanding.
To my husband, thank you isn’t enough. Thank you for allowing me to run off and run in the mud. For nursing my injuries and boosting my spirit. For believing in me even when I don’t believe in myself. I would not be who I am today without each and every single one of you.
To myself.. for those days that you are hard on yourself and feel lower than low.. You are an amazing soul who does great things. Continue to push. It’s okay if you have to go slow.. and it’s okay that you don’t have the perfect body. It’s okay if you fall and it’s even okay if you can’t conquer everything. Always give it your best and that is winning in itself. Love yourself. Always. Find a reason to smile everyday and be kind to everyone, always.
To Battle 6:11, thank you. Thank you for challenging and changing me. There are many OCRs but none of them compare to Battle courses. They test your will, your mentality and your determination in every possible way. Battle Courses are humbling, unique, difficult and fun.
Someday I will tackle every obstacle out there.. but until then, I’ll continue to #Rise into a better version of myself, I will #Rise above the setbacks that I face.. and I will #Rise to race another day.