I don’t generally #MedalMonday.. sometimes I forget.. and other times, I just don’t- no particular reason.. I don’t share many photos this season because I always look crazy (yes, crazier than usual, hahah) but yesterday made 3 years that I quit smoking. 3 Years that I gave myself the gift of a better life.. So (traditionally), I do something special for myself to celebrate and yesterday.. I celebrated by actually organizing my medals and keepsakes from my races..
I can remember back to when I registered for my first OCR. I did it on a whim.. looking for adventure.. and as I excitedly shared with friends and family about my training and upcoming race- I can remember when someone told me
“are you sure you can do that? a barbed wire crawl? you’ll never fit under that, you’re too big!”
— needless to say, that sucked. It cut like a knife.
I spent many nights laying awake thinking what had I done to myself.. why did I even think i was good enough to run these races? For a while, I was even angry.. I figured I’d signed myself up to look like a fool and my friends and family just willingly let me sacrificed myself as some joke.
The morning of my first race, I took supplements and vitamins and all that jazz. I was scared and excited out of my wits.. and all I wanted to do was just not die.. and I didn’t… I didn’t conquer every obstacle.. and some obstacles straight up conquered me.. but I didn’t quit. I spent a lot of time in thought wondering why I was doing this to myself.. What was I trying to prove? And to who? Eventually, I crossed the finish line.. the next few days were miserable.. I felt terrible (I think I caught a virus but I’m still not sure so I don’t know if I sucked.. or my immune system sucked.) But something kept pulling me back.. Was it redemption? Maybe. The thrill? Possibly.. but I kept signing up.. and I kept trying. Greater distances, more obstacles.. different terrain.. I still haven’t fully gotten redemption on all of the obstacles that conquered me… I sometimes bypass an obstacle that I’m unsure of and need to train harder on.. but since that day..
I have lost weight. I have gained muscle. I have seen heartache.. and I have seen pure happiness. I have fallen a few more times.. and I have stood back up a few times more.. I have smashed goals.. and I have failed gloriously. There have been times that I felt on top of the world.. and there are others that I feel absolutely lower than dirt.. I feel tired less, I can push harder and I endure more. It’s a roller coaster.. every day with its unique obstacles and each race with its own set of hurdles.. sometimes, I crawl under them.. sometimes over.. and there are times I accept that more progress is needed and just go around them.. but there is one thing that remains.. There is a hunger burning deep inside of me to continue to do better.. to continue to improve.
Aside from hanging out with my little family, some of the best memories I have from my adult years are spent on the course.. in the moment that I wanted to sit on the grass, cry my heart out and quit.. to climbing over that slide I thought I’d never see the top of. Each of these obstacles has broken me down.. and built me back up into a stronger version of what I once was. I have given blood, sweat, tears and dreams each time I have laced up my shoes.. I have met some of the most amazing people.. and cross paths with truly inspirational souls.. and my only wish for myself is that I continue to lace up each and every time this adventure presents itself and the hunger burning inside to improve never goes away.
I have answered some of the questions that once plagued me. I know now that I do this for myself. I know that I can fit under the barbed wire. I can push harder than I ever thought I could.
There are many medal racks just like this.. some with many, many, many more hanging.. and others with less.. but this one? This one is mine. It’s a reminder that I just have to keep moving forward, no matter who or what stands in my way. It is a permanent visual of pushing forward.. even when I struggled to believe in myself. Someone will always have something to say.. but at the end of the day, I know my heart and I know that if I push hard with every fiber in my being, I will eventually tackle each and every goal I set.