Tag Archive | struggle

Courage In The Shame

Right in the midst of last months angst of living in the tension of what is vs what is to come and the dueling excitement and devastation of what all that means, it was time to take my monthly pictures.

I have a friend who is a photographer and a woman I trust, who has agreed to take pictures of me once a month in a semi dressed state so I can look back and see progress when the scale is not being kind to me or when my brain simply has not caught up with reality.

These pictures are ones of me in a sports bra and bathing suit bottoms and also with a tank top on(for possible future publication somehow/somewhere)

Needless to say, with all that was true for me during this time,  as the time grew closer to get these pictures taken I was trembling.  I was so ashamed of my body and all I have done to it over the years such that even my current efforts, while good and healthy for my life, will likely never yield a very pretty body in its naked form.  I was ashamed of how I have used food to cope with life.  I was ashamed of the lack of discipline that brought me to this place.  I was ashamed of not having taken advantage of all of the opportunities to lose weight before.  I was ashamed that my body doesn’t respond as quickly as others do.  I was ashamed that I needed help, that I couldn’t do it on my own. I was ashamed that I let my abuse control me for so long.  You name it, I was ashamed of it.

Amy, my photographer and friend, is amazing.  I think she could tell something was up for me and as I stood before her, naked(literally, well almost) and ashamed and telling her some of my fears, she began to speak truth over me, about who I am.  Her words began to counteract the lies I had begun to believe again.  She helped me to grasp onto a wee bit of courage so I could take these pictures that one day I may be grateful for.

This journey is hard friends.  Overwhelmingly so, at times and in ways I never thought or imagined.  This day was a day of great shame…and it was about standing up, opening my eyes, and staring down shame as I looked straight into a camera lens that would forever capture an image of my body as it is today.

This journey cannot be done alone.  This day it was a day of  having a friend stand with me as Courage rose up to defeat the shame.

I was looking for images that display courage and this one hit home for me.  The little one is the small voice of Courage standing up to the Giant of Shame.

Pardon the language, but it fits!

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Living In The Tension Of What Is and What Is To Come

It has been a while since I have busted out the “Kim’s Translation” of the Bible and it is about overdue 😉 (This one came with a little help from my Pastor in trying to communicate this concept, Thanks Jim)

There is a theology/thought/belief/biblical idea about the Kingdom of God being here, but not yet.

Pause.

Say what??

I know, sounds kind of crazy, right?  Here, but not really?  What does this mean?

Let me ATTEMPT to explain, but remember, I am no theologian, I am just a girl working out her faith and learning along the way.  My understanding of the Bible will change over time as I grow, but for today, this is how I understand it, with help from Jim!

So, Jesus came to earth to fulfill a promise(or several promises really)  He came that we might have life, abundant life.  Overflowing life.  Life to the full. He came to bring His Kingdom, His ways, His power, to earth, to give it to us and when He returned to heaven, he left His Spirit with us…so we can have those things.

The problem.  We are still on earth, and while we are now the Temple for the Holy Spirit and it/he resides in us, It does not reside in all because not all have received it/him.  And, we are not in heaven yet, and we still live in a world that has sin all around us every day, and often we (I) are the perpetrators of such sin.

So we have this promise of abundant life and yet because of the sin in the world and in our lives, we don’t get to experience the fullness of that hope and promise yet.

Think of it this way, Grandma is baking her best cookies for you.  You love these cookies.  They are the best cookies ever!  She puts them in the oven and then hands you the spoon to lick.  You savor that spoon and can’t wait til those cookies are done.  You have just had a foretaste and you KNOW these cookies, in all due time, will be AMAZING and you can hardly wait. You watch the timer.  You count the minutes.  You wait in anticipation for the FULLNESS of what is to come.

That is what it means to say that the Kingdom of God is here, but not yet.

Now,what the heck does this have to do with anything I have ever written about?

Well, in this here, not yet idea, lies a tension.  A tension to want to push the process, to speed things up, to manipulate the thermostat to make those cookies get done quicker vs waiting patiently for the process to happen in the best way possible under the absolutely best conditions…and according to the Master’s GREATEST plan.  Grandma’s cookies are the best because she knows what she is doing.  Let her do her thing!

So, I am realizing, my journey is alot like this.  Just as God has begun a good work in me and will see it to completion, Leif has also begun a good work in my body and has restored great hope for me that my body is in fact NOT BROKEN and can and will lose weight.

In the last month, I have struggled with the tension of trusting Leif and Tate with their GREATEST plan for my body that will help to fulfill their promise to me of achieving lasting fat loss.  In the restoration of hope in this area, dreams I never knew I held within me were released into my soul and I began to anticipate what it might be like to be at goal.  I began to dream of things I never dared to dream before.  Dreams of perhaps wearing a bikini was a big one even if for only one day before realizing I am far to modest for that. But really the idea that if I wanted to I COULD wear one and really own it and work it!

More and more though, my body has been shifting and changing and while I am starting to look amazing in clothes, I know what lies underneath those clothes and that underneath those clothes, a time has come where I have had to start wearing Spanx, or some version of them, aka a girdle(this was a hard place to be in to have to buy and wear this article of clothing).   I see in the mirror all the loose skin and the unevenness in which my weight is coming off.  It is not pretty folks. In fact, it has been devastating.  I think, or at least it feels like, I have cried more this past month than I did during the 2 years when I was actively engaging my sexual abuse healing/therapy.  Now, that might not be true, given that I am a bit removed from that time, but sheesh, it sure feels like it.

I have begun to worry about what is to come and if those dreams that were birthed in me along with renewed hope would ever come true.  Or if I will have to find a very rich man to marry who can pay for skin removal surgery.  In all of this I have found myself angry at both Leif and Tate for bringing me to such a place that I would dare dream of something that just doesn’t seem possible, in this moment, in this mirror image that I see when I am naked and alone.

So I find myself in this tension of both hope and despair.  Hope and excitement of what IS happening and what is to come…and realizing I need to let go of some of those dreams of things I cannot control so that the cards can be played out.  A tension of trust vs control.  I have two men who know what they are doing.  They are the BEST cookie makers in the business, if you will.  Me begging them to give me all the ins and outs of their recipe in the moment is NOT going to make things happen any faster or better.  If I understood exactly what was happening, I would be tempted to manipulate and control things instead of simply trusting these two body whisperers.

Now just because I finally have words to explain where I have been this past month doesn’t make it any easier.  I have had to put blinders on like they do on a horse at a parade so that I can’t see all that is around me and be distracted.  Despite my chaotic emotional state that has felt crazy as I live out the tension, I have had to do whatever was necessary to stay true to the plan, nutritionally and training wise.  I have had to stop looking at new friends results and comparing their journey’s to mine.   During this time, I have gotten ugly.  Ironic, since my journey is about becoming beautiful, the kind of beautiful that Jesus would behold!

I have NOT represented myself or Jesus well.  I could blame it on “Dieter’s Rage” but that would be me not taking responsibility for my life and actions.  Daily, it has been a battle and as I wrestled with trusting these two men, particularly Tate, I have lashed out and said some really ugly things.  Hurtful things.  I realize in hindsight that I just wanted to feel like I had some semblance of control over some piece of all of this journey.  Slowly, I am learning…in Faith, my job is to trust Jesus where He leads and He has led me to these men. In my body transformation, my job is to trust these two and to not treat them poorly when they hold the line for me.   Fortunately, for me, Jesus is a master at forgiveness, and Leif and Tate don’t take it personal when I lash out, and they too forgive me.

For now though, I have my 60 lbs lost, my foretaste of what is to come, if I would trust the process.  I have the promise, it is mine to collect on, but it’s not all the way here.  Yet. It is a journey, a process, and I am not done yet.

Tension.

A picture of hope, me-mid process. 2 photos taken a year apart, although really, all the change has happened in the last 6 months.

What It Is Like To Be Me (Mid-Transformation)

Have you ever watched a baby turn to a boy? You know he is growing. You see the change in clothing/diaper sizes. You see the increase in skills…but he is still a baby. Then one day you wake up and look at him…and suddenly he is a little boy.   No more baby face.  Overnight some magical shift happens.

Or you have a friend pregnant for the first time. You know she is prego and are watching impatiently for the bump to appear so you can rub it. You wait.  And wait.  And wait.

..and after a while you begin to question it….then you meet for  your regular weekly lunch date and you walk in and HELLO BABY!!!  Almost overnight, the new momma went from barely pregnant looking to BAM there is definitely a baby in that belly.

THAT is what it is like to be me on this journey. I know things are changing. I see the scale each week. My clothing sizes have changed.   I am continuously amazed by what fits and doesn’t fit in my closet.  People oogle and aah when they see me after a long absence.  But I don’t see it.  Not usually.   Then one day…I  wake up and pass a mirror or catch a glimpse of a photo and holy #*%- who is that woman!!!?? What happened? It is like overnight a sudden shift happened and my body caught up to reality and decided to display what has been happening.

Or maybe…suddenly my brain caught up with reality.

Either way…it is awesome when I can actually see what is happening and don’t have to rely on facts and figures and numbers.

In the same way that overnight it seems that my body suddenly appears smaller, it also seems that overnight or minute to minute I seem to grow.  Not literally, but it is fascinating how in one moment I can look in the mirror and be so totally excited by what I see and in the next I can be near tears that I am never going to get to goal and I suddenly seem fatter than ever.
I wonder when/if my brain and my heart will ever match up with the mirror for more than a moment.
What it is like to be me at this point in my journey is both exciting and terrifying and requires bravery every single day to keep going.   At times I feel crazy, totally delighting in the ooogles and aaahs from others in one moment and the next moment freaking out like a mad woman.  One minute delighting in the changes in my body and the next totally depressed by the lack of changes I see.

The Need For Perspective

This weekend I have decided to take a Facebook sabbatical in an effort to gain some perspective by eliminating distraction from spending some much-needed time writing and processing some things out.  At the rate things are going, I am not sure how long I will last.  This social butterfly is feeling pretty isolated from the online community that encourages each other most and am feeling pretty crabby about it.  In fact, I could go eat the entire batch of banana nut bread I made into mini loaves for future free meals, very easily right now.  I never realized how much I have come to rely on my FB community for support.

So what prompted this?

The last for years (somewhat chronologically). 2008-current(August 2012)

This photo did.  The other night, mom made me take a picture for her as she prepared to go have dinner with some long-lost cousins of hers.  She wanted a current picture of me.  Well, she also had some old pictures of me which were awful.  Not just because of my size in them, but she managed to choose pictures of me at my worst!  So I went in search of some before pictures for her that she could show her cousins.  I get it.  She is proud of me and wants to brag.  I can’t very well steal her joy so I might as well find pictures I am willing to let people see!

In the process of searching for a couple of pictures, I ended up putting together this collage of photos.  The memories of where most of these photos were taken bring me great joy!

That first pic is me dancing in delight as I was told I would get to milk a cow while in Kosova!  The picture with the tank top and bib number is my first ever 5K and really the first time I did 2 legs of a triathlon relay.  Coach  had run it with me to ensure I ran the whole way and had just peeled off to let me finish on my own!  Others are at various triathlons or the half marathons I have done.  One was at the big Premiere night of my TBL audition video!  What a fun night that was!  The more formal looking ones were taken as photos to go with my TBL applications.  The last one…is the one I took for mom.

I ended up posting this picture on FB and getting a huge response from people.  It became overwhelming actually. My phone began to blow up from all the notifications of people “liking” or commenting on my picture.  All very encouraging things!  I should have been elated.  Instead I found myself more and more sad as the day went on.

I look at this picture, and I see so many things.  I see the accomplishments in the races.  I remember all of the love and support I have gotten over the years from so many.  I see the drastic change from even 6 months ago til now.

and I see…very clearly how little things were changing in the last 4 years, until now. I see my weight fluctuating up and down.  I see all the wasted years.  I see and remember how very hard the last years have been and it makes me sad.  I know I SHOULD focus on the now and the fact that I have found Leif and Tate and that history is not repeating itself again.  But if  I am really honest, despite all the hope I have, there is a piece of me that still doubts.  At least today, in these moments.

For this moment, I am sad.  For this moment, I am angry that NO ONE, including doctors seem to know what Leif knows about the body and how to keep it from plateauing.  I am frustrated that I had to get to the point I was before I found him, or he found me rather.   For this moment, I am filled with regret.

So this is one of the primary reasons for a sabbatical.  I need some time to process this in more than status update snippets where fewer people are likely to try to talk me out of my feelings or to invalidate them.

I realize they are wonky.  I realize that there is a lot of BOTH/AND going on.  I realize that it isn’t ALL sadness and woes, much is exciting and fun. These feelings are mine.  They are real and valid and I refuse to stuff them and so I realize the need to pull back a bit and look at the big picture…and gain a little perspective.

 

 

 

PopTarts: An Emotional Eating Tale

Let’s just cut to the chase.  On Saturday morning I ate half a Pop Tart.

In a world where my nutrition plan is put together to manipulate my body chemistry such that fat loss happens, this is the ultimate sin.  In my world of justification, it happened on a day I was getting a cheat meal chock full of carbs anyway, so probably not going to screw Leif’s body chemistry plans of his for my body too badly.  Had this happened mid-week, it could foil his whole plan quite drastically and therefore greatly influence my results.  In his plans, it requires 100% follow thru.  Tough.  Really Tough.

In a world of calories in and calories out and overall nutrition, half a pop tart is probably not a big deal.  Not the best choice but not the end of the world either.  Except that in my history, often half a pop tart leads to a whole pop tart…which leads to…and I don’t live in a world of calories in vs calories out anymore.

Get the picture?

It is not about the pop tart.

On Saturday morning, I weighed in and lost nothing.   The week before I had lost 1 lb and before that was a weird combination of gain/lose from my trip to NYC.  Prior to NYC, I was in the low 290’s.  After NYC, I have been hovering above 300 again.  In my head, I KNOW that Leif’s plans all build on each other and while I don’t see the whole chess board or even have a clear vision of my placement on the board, I know that each nutrition plan I get each week is very calculated.  I KNOW that if I followed the plan and maintained, then it is LIKELY what he wanted as he preps my body for the next move that will eventually lead me to winning the game.

I KNOW this.  Intellectually I get it.  However, when you are IN IT, this journey is not all facts and figures and science.  It is heart and soul and emotions.  Facts and figures can be controlled.  The heart and emotions, well they are what they are in any given moment.  And given the places of complete numbness to my feelings and the incredible healing that has occurred in my life, I have learned that my emotions and my heart must be given valid space to be and to feel without justifying, rationalizing, or minimizing.

My current problem is not always recognizing when I am upset.  I am thinking that if I am doing a TON of self talk about what is going on and analyzing of my week and wondering what Leif’s big picture plan is, then I MIGHT be upset.  But this is hindsight knowledge of course.

That morning, the morning of the Pop Tart, I was prepping some meals for my day and getting ready to head off to work and telling myself that “Leif has a plan, trust him.”  I kept reminding myself of this truth and my reality was, I was NOT trusting him, or HIM(God) in those moments.  As I gathered my stuff, I noticed a box of pop tarts on the counter and without thinking I opened a package and popped 2 in the toaster…the whole time thinking “WHAT ARE  YOU DOING?!  STOP NOW!!”

I grabbed them and went out the door and as I drove, I slowly bit into them.  In all honesty they were gross.  Not nearly what I imagined and they certainly didn’t do what food once did for me, which was to numb the swelling tide of emotions that were becoming more apparent and real to me as my morning progressed.  As I drove, I realized how upset I was.  Not at the maintain really, but that I was back over 300 and hanging out there.  That is what was really bothering me.  I had begun to regret NYC.  I am certain I did not do well there or nearly as well as I thought I did when I returned.  In all honesty, I had no idea how to gauge carbs when eating out like I can gauge 4 oz of protein or 10g of fat.  I tried to be reasonable, but I really had no way of knowing and if I did, I didn’t care to do what was necessary to know.  Leif said, “you will be able to eat pretty much what you want in NY, within reason.”  I took that to the bank and used the fact that I was walking 7-10 miles a day as overdraft protection. (Never a good idea to COUNT ON overdraft protection in your finances or your diet)

So these were my thoughts as I nibbled through a Pop Tart.  I didn’t want to regret going to NYC, so many amazing things were seen and getting to see Coach’s new home was amazing.  I was mad that regret was even part of my emotions.  I was mad that the gain of NY was not coming off as fast as I expected/hoped.  I was a boiling pot of emotions.  As I took a step back and looked at what was happening to me from outside of my body, while knowing what was happening within my heart, I just broke.  The emotional energy I was trying to dam up with food broke and I just cried.

It wasn’t about the F’ ing Pop Tart.  It was about my ability to stay true, EVEN when I am upset.  I will NEVER reach goal if every time I get upset I eat.  Granted this doesn’t happen very often anymore, but still, I hate that it does.  I thought I was angry before, but now, I was really angry at myself and my lack of will power or strength.  I hated this weakness in me.  I hated that I could allow my emotions to dictate my actions.  In that moment, I dare say I hated even me…and that killed me.  I have come to love me over the years.  There really is much greatness in me, and I don’t say that in a conceited way, just honestly.  I hated how quickly I could be shoved off-balance in circumstances.  I hated that Pop Tart and all it represented for me.

I took a hit.  I stumbled.  I fell.  I got right back up…but what I really wish I knew was…how do I keep from falling in the first place?   Falling hurts.

Sorry to disappoint you Leif, but I disappointed myself more.

Lesson:  It is OK to feel what I felt.  It is NOT ok to try to numb out with ANY substance.  Food, drugs, alcohol.

Warrior Dash 2011

On July 31st I traveled a little bit north of Detroit with some friends to participate in the 2011 Warrior Dash!  What a fun and challenging event! The only disappointing part was that Steve and Sharon couldn’t participate due to injuries!  They turned themselves into a fantastic race crew though!

So, for those who like the short version.  I went.  I conquered.  I lived to tell about it. I am a Warrior!

Now for those who like the details of my post race reports complete with photos…read on.

I went into this race knowing that I was gonna have to haul my 300 lbs over and under various obstacles, including cars, walls, barbed wire, and cargo nets.  But that’s not all.

I also knew that it was a 3.3 mile run.

What I didn’t know was whether I could do it or not.  Three days before the race I realized I have not run more than 400 meters at a time(when doing Crossfit workouts) since Nashville.  Nashville was in April.  I don’t even know if I can run 1 mile right now, let alone 3!  I also had no idea what my upper body strength was.  I knew I was getting stronger based on what I can lift but still.  I didn’t know how all that would translate.

Daniel said I would be fine.  He assured me my Crossfit training would have me prepared for this.

In my mind, that is easy for him to say.  I worked hard to trust his words while I internally freaked out while looking forward to seeing how right he was.   I REALLY wanted him to be right.


As we picked up our race packets and affixed our race numbers, I was also waiting for a Grand Rapids contingent to arrive.  Holly was going to be running as Steve (she didn’t register in time) and we all needed to connect so he could give her his bib number and timing chip. Rebecca and Dave were also coming to run this as well!

Just as Steve was about to put on his bib number and run against his Dr’s orders, Holly showed up!

We all took a few pictures then to the starting line we went while Steve and Sharon went off to find a good vantage point.

When it was time to go a huge torch blew out flames and the 10 AM wave started.  Holly, bless her heart, stayed with me the whole time, which meant a super slow run for her.  The first obstacle wasn’t for just over one mile in.  So I got to settle in to what I thought would be my normal heavy breathing run.  Which I did, except it felt faster than in the past.  My running felt stronger.  I began to think about Daniel and how he told me that Crossfit will make me a better runner even if I don’t run all the time.   Could it be  true?    Could 4 days a week of Crossfit be reaping benefits in my running already?  I felt stronger, faster, and just overall better in my running.  And I totally ran all the way to the first obstacle without stopping.

Obstacle #1- The Junkyard– This was a mess of tires tied together that you had to get through (like a football drill) before you get to the first cars that you have to climb over. Those tires were much harder than I thought.  But getting over the cars was a piece of cake.  I just sat on the hood and rolled over.  There were 3 sets of tires and 3 sets of cars to get over.

When I was finished, we ran again to the next obstacle.

Obstacle #2-Deadweight Drifter–  This was trudging through waist-high water and climbing over giant logs.  By this point I was so hot I was relieved to get in the water.  This was not a difficult one to do other than balancing as you get over the logs.  Besides, as I climbed out there was a very nice looking young man there offering me his hand as I scrambled up the bank.  Doesn’t get much better than that!

Off we ran again to….

Obstacle #3- Barricade Breakdown- Holy Crap.  I think a demon dreamed this obstacle up. It certainly was NOT designed for this 300lb woman to do.  This was a series of 3-4 foot walls that you have to go over followed by barbed wire to crawl under.  Notice the bruise pictures up above.  They ALL came from this obstacle. We approached this obstacle and I began to assess how I was going to get over this thing while Holly just leaps over.  As I am standing there trying to figure it out, another girl comes up and declares that she is walking around.  I looked at her aghast and said, “seriously?  Without even attempting this, you are gonna go around?”  Unacceptable.   I bent over and told her to step in my hands I would give her a boost over.  She balked, declaring herself to be too heavy.  I insisted and told her to step in my hand and that I am stronger than I look.  She finally did and she got over.  Then I looked around and realized I am the only one left on this side of the wall.

Crap.  How am I gonna get over?

Holly suggests that I can go around.

Oh hell no! I just need to figure it out.  I noticed that one end seemed shorter than the other so I walked over and swung my leg back and forth and then heaved it up on top of the wall…and then I stood there.  On one leg. Stuck.  Now what?  Then my leg cramped up and it had to come down.

Well, if you know me at all…you know I will not be beaten.  If I can get my leg up, I can certainly get over.  Just a matter of time and since I am racing against myself….I have all day!

I swing my leg up again and instead of pausing, threw my belly up too.  At the same time the girl I hoisted up is waiting and grabs my arm and pulls and over I go.  Splat!  I am on the ground primed to simply roll under the barbed wire.

Stand up and repeat.

I hoist the girl, she hauls my ass over.

We did this 4 times.  Holly is cheering.  I am cracking jokes to the volunteers.  We are doing this together.  This was the beginning of a lifelong friendship here.  Ok so it was an hour long friendship…but we were BFF’s for that race!

Then we walked.  This obstacle took a bit out of me.  My leg was bleeding and I knew my inner thigh had just taken a major beating and was gonna be pretty bruised.

We walked and got to know Kate ( I think that was her name…we quickly renamed her as the COnqueror, I became the Beast, and Holly became The Avenger)

Kate was invited to do this with some friends.  This was Kate’s first ever physical event.  She was feeling pretty self-conscious at her inability to run and what she considered lack of athleticism and told her friends to go on ahead.  Stupid people did!  I was angry when I found out!  You don’t invite someone to try something like this, especially one who doesn’t do athletic things (yet) and then ditch them….even if they tell you to.

So we stayed with Kate.  We helped each other get over, under, and around obstacles, cheering each other on and being inspired by each other as we went.

We did some walking and running on to…

Obstacle #4-The Great Warrior Wall-  This was a huge wall with giant rungs and a rope to help get yourself up.  Kate and I tried.  Holly did great!  But in the end, Kate and I realized we just didn’t have the upper body strength yet to pull ourselves up this wall…so we went around it.

This whole time, Holly and I are calling each other by our nicknames and trying to come up with something fierce for Kate.

We came to…

Obstacle #5-Chaotic Crossover-  This was kind of like trying to cross a horizontal cargo net split into 3 sections.  Sooo perhaps 3 giant hammocks?  Yes I was tempted to take a nap in them.  I jokingly suggested laying down and rolling across, climbing over the wood and rolling again.  Holly did just that.  Kate did that.  I however, was NOT going to do that!  I stayed upright(sort of) and held on to the center bar and slowly made my way across.

Suddenly some skinny man is flying past me and I realize that the 10:30 wave not only started but is now passing me!  WTF!  I shouted to them that they SUCKED and shouldn’t be passing me yet!  Then thought, sheesh Kim, that’s not very sportsman like of you…and quickly shouted “Go  Warrior GO!  Quickly these very agile men were scrambling past me and I wanted to trip them! 🙂  At one point there was two men to my left and one behind me with my butt right in his face.  I glanced back, and feeling more than a little self-conscious, decided to make light of the situation.  Afterall, when uncomfortable, it is always best to laugh, right.  I looked at the man and asked him, ” They didn’t tell you about me did they?”  “You weren’t expecting to have this ass in your face, were you?  Well, I am the surprise obstacle…if you can make it around me you are a real warrior!  And I wiggled my butt from side to side.

I do not know what comes over me in these situations.

The man laughed, applauded my humor and told me I was doing great as he zipped past me.

In fact, everyone laughed.  The volunteers were looking at each other, wondering if I really said what they think I said. Holly and Kate were laughing.  I could barely hold it together…and I had to pee.

I finally got across and off we went…

Obstacle #6- The Teetering Traverse-  This was a balance beam type thing except it was hilly.  So we had to go up and down hills on four-inch wide wood.  Not too difficult, unless you are afraid of heights….or falling.  Which Kate and I are.   I managed to slowly get myself off and I turned around to cheer Kate on when I realized Kate was kind of stuck in fear at the top of her last downhill.  It was a shaky piece.  I grabbed one hand, Holly grabbed the other and down she came.  Trembling, but down she came.

At this point, I realized that Kate is afraid of heights.  She is doing crazy athletic stuff.  She is overcoming fears.  She is trying things she never thought she would ever be able to do…she was conquering things left and right.  This is when she officially became…The Conqueror!

We moved on, walking and running t…

Obstacle #7-  Blackout-  I called it the box o’ hot!  It was a low to the ground tent made out of black plastic.  We had to army crawl through it in the darkness to the other side.  It was situated in the blazing sun and was hotter than hell in there.   No joke. I lost my sunglasses in here.  I was quite bummed and tried to go back in there for them and realized that there was too many people in there for me to get to them…as if I could see them in the dark anyway!

From there, we moved on to…

Obstacle #7-Arachnophobia- This one wasn’t as much tricky as annoying and you really had to be careful not to hurt the men.  It was a series of bungee like bands that were strung between trees.  You had to get through them.  However if you stepped on one and a dude stepped over and then you stepped off before he was fully over, well it was bad news for his boys.  I was careful.  To the best of my knowledge I did not hurt anyone 🙂

Conqueror is doing great!  She is even attempting some short runs!  I couldn’t be more proud of someone I have just met!

Obstacle #8- SOmewhere in here is a crazy mud pit!  This was NOT like the mud pit that you see in the pictures.  This was a thick, sludgy, mud that smelled like sewage.  This was clearly NOT a man-made pit.  We had to go through it, without losing our shoes then climb out of it up a steep embankment that was also incredibly muddy and slick.  There was no attractive young man giving me a hand out.  I grabbed tree roots and whatever I could to haul myself up.  When I got halfway up I grabbed hold of a tree and wedged myself in front of it and just stood there to breathe for a minute.  This was so ridiculously hard.  Holly pointed out a rope to my right and I grabbed hold of it and continued hauling myself up.

But it wasn’t over yet.  We now had a series of mini mud slick hills to get up and down without killing ourselves.  By the end, I was so exhausted, I told Holly I would rather run a Nashville hill than these little muddy things any day!

Finally we made it to…

Obstacle #9-The mystery one-  This was a wall about 8 feet high with foot/hand holds kind of like a climbing wall. Conqueror and I decided we should be able to do this one.  The foot holds were not as far apart as on the previous wall therefore our leg strength could be used in combination with out arm strength to get us up.  So up we went.  We got to the top where there was a platform and discovered that the way down was a knotted rope with a hay pit at the bottom.  I knew for myself, there was no way.  My hands would get torn up as it slid right down and/or I would simply fall to the ground and get hurt.  Now, I am a beast, but I also don’t want to get hurt and not be able to play anymore.  The kind volunteers told us there was a top-secret ladder on the side we could go down!

Conqueror led the way and over the side she went.  The problem is though that you have to go over the edge backwards and blind.  The drop to the first rung is about 4 feet down at least.  The guys kept telling me I had just a couple more inches to go.  Finally, someone grabbed my foot and guided it to the rung and another grabbed my butt as I dropped down, to steady me and keep me from falling!

From there, I could see the rungs and was able to climb down.  As I did, I thanked the kind gentleman for grabbing my ass to keep me from falling!  That is probably the one and only time I will EVER be grateful for a stranger doing that!  Any other time, I would probably slug him!

We got through that, and Holly told me she was tearing up watching me.  Conqueror agreed that Holly was indeed crying.

Are you kidding me?  Whatever for?

“well, because you just don’t let anything stop you!”

Dude, I am in a race just doing what I gotta do to get through it!  No tears!  Let’s go!

As we trudged along, I felt like I had put back on those 11 inches I had lost.  I was so weighed down with mud, my clothes were soaked and cotton and just heavy.  At one point I actually commented that mud is the ultimate body glide!  I am sure that is only true until it starts drying.

We kept going.  We could hear the band now and knew we were getting close to the end.

Obstacle #10-Cargo Climb-  This was a giant cargo net that I had to go straight up and over.   I assessed it as I approached and determined that the steadiest spot would be near the beams.  So we each took a beam and began our climb.  Holly of course got up and over the fastest.  Then Conqueror.  I got to the top and looked down, and freaked out!

I am about 20 feet in the air. I can hear Steve and Sharon and Dave and Rebecca and Keith and all the others shouting for me.  Holly is down below telling me how to get over and I am thinking I made it this far just to plummet to my death.   a woman climbing near me offered to help, but really what can she do?  I need to figure out how to do this.  At the top is a beam.  I had to get myself on top of the beam then over it so I can climb down.  I kindly tell the woman that really she cant do anything but get out of my way, cuz I am about to swing my leg over and once the momentum starts, well I can’t be held responsible for anything it hits.  She climbed down.

I began muttering about whose foolish idea was this to do this race in the first place…(it was mine)

Holly shouts up that I need to keep one hand on either side as I come over, so I do and next thing I know I am laying on top of the beam.  One hand and leg on each side, clinging to it for dear life!  I am almost over.  In an act of bravery and pride I sat up and threw my arms in the air and smiled towards Steve, knowing he had a camera….and maybe he would catch this one-act of bravery.  Quickly I fell back down and grabbed hold of that beam.

Carefully, I eased myself over and began my descent.

There, now that both feet are on the ground, that wasn’t so bad after all.

Holly and I began to run…the energy of the crowd was picking up and we could see our next obstacle…

Obstacle #11-  The Fire Pits-  You really needed a running start to do this.  So Holly and I ran and without thinking we were up and over the first line of fire….then the second and before we knew it, we were on our way to the final obstacle…

Obstacle #12- Muddy Mayhem-  This was a  muddy pit that started out about 3 feet deep and got more and more shallow as you got closer to the barbed wire that you had to crawl under.  We got in the pit and crawled through it and by the end I was army crawling/dragging my butt under barbed wire.  By the time I got to the last wire I was so done I just laid there in the mud for a minute, catching my breath.  Finally, I hauled myself through and I got up and ran to the finish line.

And we were done.

Such a fun race.  I would do it again!

The Avenger, The Beast, and The Conqueror...finish strong!

Merciful Encouragement

Today’s workout was intense, to say the least.  Halfway through I was not even sure I could finish it and part of me wanted to quit.  The other part of me would not let myself quit, no matter what.

So the next best thing would be if CJ would scale my workout.  Sometimes when he scales things it is either a lower weight than others or it is less reps than others.  Part of me was hoping he would see me struggling and scale my reps back (because he already lowered my weight)

Thank goodness he didn’t because I might have  been mad at him.

Struggle is not always a bad thing.  Pushing through the struggle is what makes us better.  I am sure he and Eric(yet to be introduced) were watching my form to make sure I wasn’t getting too fatigued or too out of wack such that I might have gotten injured. I am really grateful they did NOT scale me on my number of reps, even if during the moment, part of me wished they would.

SO here is what we did for the workout.

  • 50 push jerks (10 lbs on each end of a bar that I think weighs 25 lbs)
  • 25 pull ups (my modified version was jumping and pulling up at the same time since I cannot do a pull up yet)
  • 40 push jerks (CJ lowered my weights to 5 lbs weights on the bar)
  • 20 pull ups
  • 30 push jerks
  • 15 pull ups
  • 20 push jerks
  • 10 pull ups
  • 10 push jerks
  • 5 pull ups

DONE

By the time I got to 20 push jerks, pretty much everyone else was done.   This is where I was really wanting CJ to scale it for me, not because I couldn’t push through the struggle, but because my pride was rearing up and I wanted to be done with everyone else.  I hate that I can’t always keep up with the rest.

My hands hurt, my shoulders were burning, my quads were aching…and along came Seth(another Crossfitter who shows up at 6 AM), CJ, Eric, and “the blonde girl with amazing legs”… were all there cheering and shouting in my face for me to keep going.  They were counting down the reps for me.

It is amazing how when you feel most spent, that extra encouragement is enough to help you push through the pain and finish strong.

When you are an observer watching this, as I was a couple weeks ago, it can look like people yelling at you, showing you no mercy.  But when you are the recipient of people yelling in your face, telling you not to quit, to push through, to not drop the bar…it is the most merciful thing ever…and is most energizing.

Today I am grateful for the merciful encouragement of others who believed that I could finish, when I wasn’t so sure.