Five miles of hilly terrain. Seven newly acquainted teammates. Twelve unknown, muddy obstacles. Hundreds of face-painted women dressed in matching outfits. This does not describe my usual Saturday afternoon. This is not my comfort zone.
I am not generally one to do something wild. New experiences make me uneasy. The unknown makes me anxious. Throw in the fact that I don’t like crowds, mud or running long distances, and it’s a wonder that I entered Mudderella PA 2014 at all. But I did. I put on my big girl underpants, a pair of old running sneakers and did something crazy … I got down and dirty and had a blast at Mudderella.
I have to admit, I had butterflies in my belly before we started. I go to a kick-ass boot camp three days a week with an awesome trainer and I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, but I was still nervous. I didn’t know my teammates well, I had no idea what the obstacles would be like and I stopped running distances almost two years ago. Would I be able to handle this? Was I tough enough? Confident enough?
As the #mudderella #wave9 group of runners warmed up, I looked around and saw women of all shapes and sizes, ages and ethnicities. Some of these women looked like they couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded, but they were hootin’ and hollerin’ and rearing to go. If they could do it, I thought, so could I. This was a fun run, after all. You start and finish with your team. No winners, no losers. Just hundreds of women “owning their strong” as the Mudderella theme dictates.
So at 11:30 when the whistle blew (actually, I think it was just a woman yelling “GO!,” but you get the idea), I threw caution to the wind and went for it.
I climbed up nets and over walls. I ran through mud and over hills. I crawled under wires and even underground (into a dark hole like a groundhog!). I carried a teammate on my back and let her carry me . I cheered on fellow racers and pulled strangers out of mud pits. I ran the entire course, all five hilly miles of it (thank you, 20-something tri-athlete Jenny, for keeping me motivated) and held hands with my new friends as we crossed the finish line together.
I got muddy and wet and I may have even peed myself a little (blame it on childbirth … damn kids!), but I did it. I even handled the group rinse station and communal changing tent like a champ. With boobies and bums abound, there was no room for modesty, just quick action. I credit my many dressing room experiences at Loehmann’s and Century 21 for my prowess — you New Yorkers know what I’m talking about.
All in all, I rocked it. No, I crushed it. I stepped out of my comfort zone and owned my strong … and then some. We all did.
Would I do another mud race? I don’t know … It did take two showers to feel clean again (and three washes to get the mud off my clothes). But I do know that the next time I’m faced with a new situation, if I believe I can handle it, I will. I just have to own my (inner) strong.