I have always loved to run. Ever since I was a small child I've been running. But I did not join the track team or the cross country team when I was in high school because I'm not a sprinter or a marathon runner. I run because running is my meditation. It is my zen. It is my religion. It brings peace to my inner being when there is a storm going on around me. I absolutely love to run.
But I don't want to run on a treadmill, a track or in a gym. I want to run in nature. I want to smell the scent of the trees and flowers as I pass them, I want to see birds flit from the branches ahead of me, I want to feel the ground beneath my feet.
When I was little, I went barefoot. Everywhere. Until I was about 12. One day I was riding my bike and stubbed my bare toe on the sidewalk. I decided shoes were okay. But not socks. I didn't own any socks until I was about 14. And I bought all my own clothes and shoes by that time so I opted for Keds. They were inexpensive and didn't hurt my feet like running shoes did.
I ran at least 4 miles every single day through my high school years in Keds. And I worked out in the gym with the boys during a free weights class. I think I was the only girl signed up for that class. And I couldn't really bench press much, but I could free hang for as long as you could count. And I could leg press the approximate weight of an ox. I think I had like 2 percent body fat.
It's probably more like 20 percent now, but I digress.
After high school, I had children. In between children I would always take up running again. But never go very far or run very often.
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During the time I was just beginning to be able to form new memories, I had my fourth child. I don't remember her first word, first steps or most of her other firsts. I do remember that when she was 16 months old, I started running again. I lived across the street from a high school and even though I was afraid to try running because of the injuries to my back, neck and shoulders, I felt like I had to give it a shot.
The first time, I could barely run 200 meters. I had to stop, gasping for breath, walking it off. Going home and icing my back. I tried again. And again. And again. Night after night I ran. I bought a pair of running shoes. My first in about 10 years.
I got to where I was able to run from my house to a nearby lake, around the lake and back to my house again...I took Epsom salt baths, but the icing stage was over. It was a little over 5 miles. It took me over a year to build up that endurance. I was getting stronger!
I continued to run several times a week. And then my knee started to hurt really bad about half way through my runs. I bought a band to go around my knee so I could keep running.
That was about the time I first heard about Warrior Dash. As soon as I looked it up, I knew I had to run it. It wasn't just running. It was running with obstacle courses!
A little less than five months before Warrior Dash, I broke my foot. It wasn't even a tough gal type of break. I did it while working out in my house. It was right after dinner and the kids were still up and I was just jogging from the front door to the back door. I always ran barefoot unless I was outside. My three year old daughter decided she was going to run with me, but she ran right into me, pushed me over and I hit the vacuum cleaner with the side of my foot breaking my metatarsal bone.
It hurt. I got up and kept running. For about 30 seconds. I sat down, took some deep breaths and asked my son to grab me some ice.
That put off my training for Warrior Dash for the next two and a half months. I was on crutches for 8 weeks and in a boot for two more after that.
I was finally able to take off the boot. I taped up my foot and went for a walk. Walking just didn't cut it though and I was soon back to running again. My knee started hurting again. I put the brace back on and kept going.
A month later, my hip started to hurt. I was diagnosed with ITBS and bursitis on my right side. I was told I would never be able to run again.
I don't do well with being told what to do. I signed up for Warrior Dash for the next year and hoped that I would be able to run it when the time came. I gained almost 20 pounds.
I started walking and then I started doing P90X. I figured if I can't run, I have to at least work out. I have lost 14 of those pounds and I seem to be stuck at this weight.
For two years now I've wanted a pair of Vibram FiveFingers shoes. They are those "weird shoes with toes" that you have heard about or seen. I did a ton of research and decided that with as much time as I spend barefoot, these might be the perfect running shoes for me.
I finally got a pair for Mother's Day this year. One trip to REI and I was a happy runner again.
They were just supposed to be walking shoes for me for the next several weeks while I 'get used' to them. But when I took them out on their maiden voyage, I could not help myself. I ran. I did not want to stop.
The very next day, I was going to go for a short walk again. I ran. About 4 miles. It was absolutely amazing. I had not felt the freedom of running in over 8 months. I needed it.
That was yesterday. My calves are a bit sore today, but I relish in the pain and I just want to go run again.
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I also don't know that I have the gas money to get to the race site. But I just have to find a way.
There is another one called Tough Mudder that is three times longer and even more challenging. So what did I do? I signed up to volunteer! That one is in September.
These races with their obstacles are a way to be a runner and challenge yourself physically by getting over, through or under obstacles. Things like traversing 15 foot walls, belly crawling under barbed wire, climbing ropes, running through a field of live wires hanging over head, clambering up steep mud embankments, jumping over flames, wading or swimming through ice cold water and much, much more.
I can't really explain why I want to do these other than I love the challenge. I love proving to myself that it doesn't matter what someone tells me I can or can not do. If I put my mind to it, anything is possible.
I can do these with a brain injury. I can do them with ITBS. I can do them with bursitis. I can do them with a shoulder injury that will never heal. What I've been through doesn't matter when what I am about to do is right in front of me.
Yes. It will be hard. No. I might not be able to do all of it. But I will try and I will try hard. I may break down and I may want to quit part way through, but I will be able to pick myself up and keep on moving forward no matter how hard it gets because I am a survivor.
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Spartan Sprint, here I come!
Warrior Dash, watch out!
Tough Mudder, I'll be ready!
Until Next Time,