Before & After Battle..

Sorry for the delay and the broken promises.  I guess I needed a longer break than I originally thought. It was time well spent. I’ve spent the last month or so training hard and focusing on bettering myself and my family. 
In that time, I was preparing to run the Battle 6:11 Battle of Baton Rouge State Championships. It had been since March since I’d taken on an OCR (obstacle course race) but I knew I’d stepped up my training and I guess I just needed to prove something to myself. 
When I finally realized that PCOS Awareness Month AND Battle Race were September, I knew I wanted to use this as an opportunity to create awareness for this illness that plagues me daily yet is still so taboo. So I did. I posted about statistics.  I shared facts. I even had my dear husband make me a new shirt as part of my race gear! Shout out to Shawn with Lipari Specialties for my sweet new shirt

As the days counted down, the fatigue and self doubt began to set in. Why do I do this? Who do I think I am!? I’m just an average Mom of 2 cute kids who tries her best to keep her life together and has chronic illness. There’s plenty of “me” out in the world.. so what makes me think that I’m anything special to run these courses? 

I have really bad anxiety and I tend to be super tough on myself so I’ve learned to push through that train of thought and commit regardless of anxious thoughts.. 

And before I knew it, race day was here… 

At the beginning of the race, I was still in my head and graciously received help on getting in the chute and a few of the earlier obstacles I should have been able to do solo.. but the mental block was dragging me down. But I slowly found a groove and started hopping straight into obstacles without hesitation. 

I wish I could tell you some courageous story of great speed and heroic leaps and bounds.. but the truth is, I am just a Mom with chronic illness who gets on that course to better herself and to make her kids proud. I went out, ran.. well walked/jogged some terrain and tackled some obstacles.  Some obstacles, I needed help and others I tackled solo and shocked myself. 

BUT WHAT THIS RACE SHOWED ME is that I am brave.  I am out in the world creating a platform for women with PCOS to break stigmas and create awareness.  I am slowly (but surely) changing myself and creating a healthier future. 

There are 2 main responses I get when I mention “I run races”.. The first one is that awkward sideways head tilt glance.. I know, it’s hard to believe someone with a larger body build and frame does these things.  Well, it’s hard to believe if you aren’t in that world. More often that not, you will find people of all body ranges at an OCR. Why? Because they don’t require you to be a machine or goddess. These races take HEART. They take effort and determination.  They take comradarie.  *NEVER* let someone tell you that you cannot do something outside of the norm.  Do what makes you happy. Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets you soul on fire. 

The second response is usually “well, do you winm” or “could you even win?” Honestly, probably not. I’m a mediocre runner, and that’s being generous. But not every race has to be about what place you are. Would placing podium be amazing? ABSOLUTELY!  Does it mean I shouldn’t run because I won’t podium? Absolutely not! If you want to run, RUN YOUR RACE. Run your own race. Do not define your ability just by podiums.  Work on self improvement and victory is still yours. 

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Find Yourself in the Mud

My oldest son has asked to run an obstacle course ever since falling in love with American Ninja Warrior.. when I ran Tough Mudder in March, he was disappointed he was too young.. BUT not all hope was lost. 

In Louisiana,  we have Battle Races created by Battle 6:11. 

http://www.battle611.com

They have weekly training, races, rucks, etc. If you’re in the area and looking for a local OCR circuit, this is it. 

So when a date and location popped up that was pretty convenient,  we decided to register him. Elated was an understatement. When he found out he’d get to run, he was so overcome with emotions that he cried. Truly touching as a parent to see that much emotion and happiness come out of such a tiny body. Even more emotional when it’s over something you love, too. 

Race day came and that same level of excitement was still there. As his heat approached, I pointed out the parks alligator in the pond,  I told him a few obstacles I’d seen at my earlier arrival and told him some cool stuff the state park had for after the race.. and then.. 

It was time! 

The start bell sounded and WE WERE OFF! Due to his age, he needed an adult and it just made sense that I would go with him since Shawn isn’t into the entire OCR scene.  He flew over the first obstacles like they were nothing. A little hesitation at trying new things but over the moon with every step at everything he was achieving. 

Leaps and bounds came and went and he breezed through obstacles I had previously assumed he’d struggle with. 

 And then.  It happened. The log carry..

I totally assumed he’d breeze through this. Not because its easy but because we do play outside. And, well, he’s said he wanted to do Tough Mudder, everything.  
Had you told me just milliseconds after I’d taken the photo above that he was about to have a huge mental breakdown,  I would have laughed at you.  He had just scaled 4 foot walls with ease and flew off of them like Superman.. but we hit the mud and it happened. I have lovingly referred to this moment as #MuddyMeltdownApocalypse. 
As he took little steps holding his log, his feet sunk into the clay-like mud. And each step was a little heavier and a little deeper. He chunked the log and exclaimed it was too heavy as he looked at me with defeat. Fine, I’ll carry it- no big deal, right? I grab the log and we go just inched forward. Next step, his shoe is totally submerged in the mud and when he pulls his leg up *POP*.. his foot comes out and the shoe stays hidden. At this point, he LOSES his mind. Tears, screams, wails, groans. Total mental breakdown. I’m doing my best to calm him but it’s just getting worse and nothing I say gives any sense of hope whatsoever. With his next step, his other shoe comes off. Then it’s socks to the mud and he is just a mess of emotions at this point and not happy ones.

I’m doing my best to hold it together but the mud is gross, I’m sinking myself and his screams are making is pretty impossible to make rational thoughts.  So I finally catch my head, hoist him to my back, the log in my arms and every slipped off shoe; his, mine and strays tossed onto my fingers and turn back around. When we finally get out of the mud, he’s screaming that he just needs to rinse off. He’s done and ready to go home. Tosses himself straight to the ground in a fit of refusing to put back on his shoes.

The “Mom” in me fussed with him a bit that he needed to go on. Not for the medal.. but because I knew he would look back on that moment with regret if he didn’t and I didn’t want that for him. I’ve been there before and the regret haunts me. It took some convincing but he finally gave in and agreed to go a little further and “feel things out”.

The brisk run after the mud was rough. He just kept fussing, grumbling and giving me a death stare. I picked up the pace a little so that he’d give chase and be distracted until the next obstacle.  It worked. 

When he finally completely the course, he had been stuck, shed tears, fallen off of an obstacle, overcome obstacles he never thought possible and achieved something he always said he wanted to do. The raw emotion at the finish line was overwhelming,  even staff teared up at his reaction. He was immediately brought to tears in amazement of all he’d done in such a short time.

Check out his live finish by clicking on the link below: 
Greyson’s Battle Finish

Ironically, I check my email and his “word of the month” at MMA is resilience. Their definition is “when life pushes me down, I bounce back up.” There is literally no better way to explain what had just happened to him than this. Somethint had just *clicked* inside of him with this word. He realized that by getting back up and moving on, he was able to overcome an obstacle AND achieve a dream..

Some people wait a lifetime to meet a superhero.. I am blessed enough that I am raising two tiny heroes.  In this moment, I was elated at how mature of a realization this was for such a tiny soul. I spend every second of my life trying to help them through life.. and every second right back, they are showing me just what life is about..

If you find yourself knocked down or just stuck… do not succumb to the mud pit.. dig yourself out and bounce back up. 

Battle 6:11 always encourages participants to discover what’s their battle cry?

On this day, we learned that Greyson’s battle cry is #Resilience.