Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tough and Dusty

Ok, so it is a "Tough Mudder" I'm reporting on.

I did my first Tough Mudder!!
It was tough. And a little muddy. But mostly dusty (seriously, breathing in all sorts of dust and at times not even being able to see 5ft in front of me for the stampede of people through the dirt), AND a Heck a lot of steepness to climb and descend.

one of the many motivational signs along the way...
The course was at Snow Valley near Big Bear, CA. 
It was 10.5 miles-ish. Ranging from 6000-8000ft.
with about 13 obstacles, while in between them
we traversed up and down ski runs, sans snow.

It could have been much worse. Can't it ALWAYS be worse?
But I think was more than satisfied with the toughness of the day.

Will I do another?  Umm... not sure about that yet.
BUT. It is so cool to have been done.

There are some things about this challenge (it's not a race, they say) that are different to me.
1) It lasted forever.
2) It was a team effort, which is part of why it lasted forever.
3) It may have been the biggest, longest challenge in one stretch that I have ever faced.

By forever, I mean 4 hours. 
If I had done this on my own I think it would have taken about 2.5ish.
The super spartan had nothing on this course.  It was a very different experience, though for appearances I would think it should be very similar.
Actually the guys that brought our team together had done a tough mudder in February, at the same location I had done the Super Spartan last year -Vale Lake near Temecula.  I asked them how this one compared to their last.  They responded that in terms of difficulty, "If this is a 10, then February's was a 5".  Well that makes us all pretty bad@ss don't you think?

Secondly, team effort.  I have never really run a race as a team, but again "it wasn't a race, but a challenge." 
Years ago, I was always behind the group in our 5K runs. We all just went at our own pace and regrouped at the end. In the last few years, I've generally been ahead of my comrades.  I've felt a little guilty about this. Like a Jerk really. Guilty about leaving them behind.  But then I never felt guilty or resented my friends when I was the one left behind.  So maybe I need to just lighten up on myself.  We all owe it to ourselves to be our best.  Not to hold back from what we can accomplish for fear of making others feel bad.

(And this is when I get all introspective)

But then where is Christian charity and compassion in that? 
I suppose there is a time and a place, and a competition is not the place?
But then, I feel like I am competing everyday, and in that,
I fear I am becoming self centered.
But I also feel I do owe it to myself, and to others who would be inspired, to TRY to be my best.  After all isn't the glory of God man fully alive?  Isn't holiness being the best version of ourselves - journeying with Him to discover what that is?

Somehow, there must be a marriage of these two callings.  Being free to drive and strive and shine, and being free to serve and humble oneself, sacrificing my own desires for others.
I just don't know how that is to be. yet.

So a team effort this was, at least in the sense that we left no man behind.  We regrouped at every obstacle and water station.  Since of course I felt I needed to prove I could hang with the toughest of the boys and to prove somehow to my coach that this was a worthy challenge, I stayed pretty near the front of the group, and just got more rest while we waited to regroup.  Other than this, the boys helped me over the walls, and we rallied and encouraged each other, and we finished together. 
This was different for me.  It was a little weird too, since I had just met 12 of my 13 teammates that morning. Still it's cool to be a part of a whole. And it must be good for me to lay aside my drive to just go go go on my own - 
To try to be a little more cooperative and play well with others :)

The truth is in all things I need to know I have a crew of support behind me, to lean on, to pray for me, to believe in me, and to catch me when I fall.  And I love being that for others.  But in our own ways, in our own battles, generally we're not side by side but the support is no less real. 
In all this long journey of life, I still don't really know how to be with people and be true to myself at the same time. What's the trick? 

I think I'm learning, and yet, I clearly still have some lies in my head that need to be knocked out.

Final observation: biggest longest challenge yet... hmm... well I've hiked mountains before, for longer distances, and greater heights.  I've also walked 500miles across a whole country before. But all of those seemed to be at a much more casual pace with more reflection along the way, more of a retreat than a challenge, so it's different I suppose.

With every adventure I'm growing more comfortable with being uncomfortable.  More resilient to muscle fatigue. And I have more experience of victory to combat my belief system from youth that says "I'm not an athlete, I don't win anything, I just blend into mediocrity."  I've said this many times and probably will have to repeat it many more, but it's about time I started believing in myself.

All in all, this was another step to challenge my will, and to do it in solidarity with thousands around me.
Pretty cool stuff.
OH, and I came down full blown strep throat within 3 days of this adventure... so Hey, either the germs were already building within as I conquered this challenge, or I picked them up along the way.  ewwww.

Oh so many more thoughts and insights to the experience but these are the biggest musings in the last few days. What adventures are you having these days?

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