Friday, May 27, 2011

Under Construction...

A month after my R2R2R and I'm on a bit of a wind down.  Healing some small, nagging aches and pains and adding some crosstraining and Crossfit back into my training regimen.  Post epic run, I definitely have felt the letdown after the hype and excitement has simmered.  Fortunately, I'm not one to not have another adventure or goal in the near future, so the letdown has been short lived.  Nevertheless, the bit of fog I've been wading around in has led me to do some serious re-evaluation on pretty much everything going on in my life from my weekly training to my competition goals to my career goals to my thoughts on where I want to really be in 5 years.  Yikes.  Heavy stuff.

After 37 years with myself, I certainly know what makes me tick.  And what doesn't.  I know that I'm a creature that grows bored with routine and daily activity that leads me unchallenged.  I know that I have to feed the competitive monster in me, I know that I need to be intellectually stimulated, and I know that I have to maintain a good balance of body, mind, spirit in my daily life.   When something is off balance,  I'm pretty much a disaster.   And everyone, unfortunately, can tell.  I'm OFF.  I'm miserable.

Currently, I'm not miserable.  But I'm a little off.  I'm bored.  I'm also antsy, itchy, and craving something HUGE.   And I'm not sure if jumping out of an airplane, or even traveling to the other side of the world can curb this craving.   I know this, because in my deep, heavy, self-analytical discussions with myself, I have narrowed down a few things...

Number One:  Through my work, I have had the rare opportunity to help young girls grow into confident, athletic women.  I have worked with countless girls who struggled with their identities, their body image, and their mental toughness.  And more often than not,  I got to watch them overcome those hurdles and rise above teenage adversity, embrace their athletic prowess and become incredible young women.

Number Two:  My favorite part of my job has always been what I've achieved in Number Two.  It's what led me to my vision of Gutsy Girls Adventures to begin with.  Hmmmm...

Number Three:  It's not enough to dream about doing something huge.  If I don't feed the dream, I'm only going to feed the boredom again and stay right smack dab where I am.   This life is short.  If I'm unhappy with my situation, what's the point of staying in it?  And after all these years of teaching young girls to embrace the unknown and conquer their fears, what kind of example am I if I don't live by my own words?

Number Four:  LEAP!   After my wind down phase, I am now in my "under construction" phase.  This phase involves a lot of journaling, lots of note taking, lots of emailing and talking to people I admire and have asked to mentor me, lots of late night discussions with my partner over what steps are realistic to take today and what steps might need to be taken later, and most importantly--being accountable to myself to do something to move forward EVERY DAY!

Number Five:  Maintain BALANCE while in "under construction" phase.  It's easy for me to get carried away with the excitement of change and the HUGENESS of what I want to accomplish.  It's also easy to get overwhelmed.  So, it's super, super important for me to meantime, keep things balanced and take time in my daily life to recognize the here and now.  Because sure, I've got big plans, but I've also got some pretty awesome stuff right here in front of me that simply can't be ignored.  

Of course, I don't have it all figured out yet.  I'm 37.  I'm just BEGINNING to figure it out!  But that's part of the fun, right? --where I've already been, what I've already done, the mistakes I've made, and what I've learned along the way.   Truly,  as deep in my head as I can get sometimes, I've discovered that I'm really just a big kid who has big crazy dreams and looks at most things in life as a giant amusement park--with a few big, scary, stomach dropping rides with twists and turns that end up being pretty darn AWESOME!  Which leads me to Number Six...

Number Six:  Don't take it all TOO seriously.  

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Warrior Dash! (or why I should definitely run in a costume)

Last Saturday, my fellow "warriors" and I departed for Florence, AZ to compete with other equally insane "warriors" in a 3.4 mile obstacle course race that promised to be "the craziest freakin day of your life".

Warrior Dash 2011.  Just check out the footage on their website and the video above:    and you'll see why.   I think what made it truly "crazy" was the environment--the crowds of people in ridiculous costumes (we saw a whole group of people dressed up like Pat Simmons and another group dressed in tutus) some not particularly looking as though they were in any shape at all to run 3.4 miles, much less climb a cargo net or jump over fire.  In fact, the scene was more like a giant outdoor concert or party with live bands, lots of beer, turkey legs, and drunk people in costumes dancing around, high fiving and chest bumping each other while covered in mud from the course.  Wild.

My group looked pretty tame as we lined up at the start of our 12:30 wave. The event would be held over two days with waves starting at 8:00am and running every half hour until 4:00pm.  We're talking THOUSANDS of people getting their warrior on!   Once the fire torches blew to signal the start of the race, it was a ridiculous attempt to push through the shoot through all the tutus and capes and kilts to get any kind of normal running stride.  But that was part of the fun and if I ever thought I'd be competitive that day, I should have positioned myself in front, not smack dab in the middle.   It was entertaining anyway and I realized, as I passed hooting and hollering men and women in neon tights, tutus, and dresses, that this whole thing was pretty reminiscent of the couple of times that I ran Bay to Breakers in San Francisco.  Only this time, there were no naked people.  Bummer.

My brother pushed out of the crowds pretty early on, and I decided I felt good enough to follow him.  This made it much, much easier to get through the obstacles up ahead without too many people stopping or slowing us down.  First obstacle was jumping over and under several walls about four feet high.  Next up, we had some small dirt hills to climb up and down.  Then a junkyard of cars and tires, a big cargo net, a tower of hay bales, balance beams, more cargo nets, another wall, and finally...the firelogs and mud pit!  I had planned on doing something ridiculous, since I wasn't wearing a cool costume, and maybe cartwheel or flip into the mud pit, but in the end, I would probably have landed on the guy in front of me and drowned him, so I opted for a bit of a belly flop instead.

The mud was pretty awesome and a great way to end this insane event.  Once our group was in, we immediately went to the beer tent for our free beer and then headed off to the "showers"--a concrete slab about 8x8 feet where we stood, like cattle, while crew members stood on water trucks hosing us down.  Hilarious!

In the end, I decided that this was a perfect event for me after the seriousness of the week before.  It was even better that I got to do it with family and friends!  I did decently too--32nd out of an insane number of nearly 800 and was pretty happy I didn't die out there or fall headfirst into the fire.  We are already planning for next year's Warrior Dash, will be recruiting several more of our family members and friends and yeah...we'll be designing our costumes way ahead of time!

I HIGHLY recommend this event to everyone!  It's just a fun, crazy, challenging day that you'll surely remember forever and at the very least, you'll definitely get some awesome pictures!