It almost sounds like the start of a bad joke: two runners, an Olympic athlete, and a fat girl stand at the bottom of a mountain…
Wait, let me back up.
Last year, a bunch of awesome people I know did some mud runs. They got muddy, and it looked like fun. I thought maybe this year, I’d like to do some mud runs, too. But as they new year approached, I became more and more focused on this idea I’ve had of doing what I love, of only saying “yes” to commitments that make me shout, “HELL, YEAH!”
So when I revisited the idea of mud runs, I was kind of meh. Frankly, I hate running. I didn’t used to hate running, but since I took up HIIT training, I have come to find it deadly dull boring, and it makes me feel like I’m slow and fat when everyone else is quick and lithe.
Yes, running is hard, but all my workouts are hard. One key difference has stuck with me, though: after the workouts I do now, I feel strong. Empowered. Totally badass. When I finish a workout that involves running, at the end I really don’t feel any of those things. I feel exhausted and defeated and miserable, and it sucks.
Here’s what I feel like, after running:
And here’s what I feel like after one of my current workouts:
Why wouldn’t I stick with the workouts that kick my ass the most efficiently AND that make me feel like a rockstar afterward?
So I was kinda shying away from the idea of it, and planned to set some goals just for myself that had nothing to do with running, whether in or out of mud-related obstacles.
Then some friends started bugging me.
Friend: Let’s do a Tough Mudder!
Friend: Come on, it will be fun!
Me: No, it will be awful and I will hate it. I don’t want to do it! I hate running! Leave me alone.
Friend: How about in Vermont?
Friend: Just adults?
Me: Ehhhh…still not really into it.
Friend: How about just girls, with a whole weekend in Other Friend’s house in Vermont and we can party and have a blast after we get all muddy?
Me: BLUUURRRGGGG!!! SonofanevilsuccubusFINEI’LLDOIT!!!!!
So here I am, against my will, doing a Tough Mudder in August. On a friggin mountain. With two runners and, oh, did I mention that Other Friend is LITERALLY AN OLYMPIC ATHLETE? What. The. Hell.
Yes, I am terrified. But I’m not terrified that I won’t be able to do the Tough Mudder. I know I will. I could finish a Tough Mudder tomorrow if I decided to…it might take me 6 hours, but I could do it.
What I am terrified of is being the weak link. The one who holds everyone back, or just has to resort to saying, “Just go ahead without me, girls. I’ll catch you at the finish line.” I’m terrified of being the fat girl who can’t keep up.
I guess in the end, things are as they should be. Sometimes, the things we don’t really want to do are likely the things we should be doing, and I think in this case it’s true for me.
And the hard part of this journey to badassery is that the more badass I become, the crazier shit I have to undertake to keep pushing beyond my comfort zone. And this Tough Mudder–specifically as part of a team–is waaaaaaaay out of my comfort zone. When I ran my triathlon, I did it alone. I had no one to answer to but myself. This is different.
As for my goals, it really helps me define them and have a clear deadline and REASON to completely crush them by the deadline, or have to have my fear become a reality on Mt. Snow in August.
So I have just under 7 months before I’m standing at the bottom of the mountain with 2 runners and an Olympic athlete, crapping myself. And in order to make sure that I’m NOT the butt of a bad joke, here are my goals between now and then:
- Reduce bodyweight by 30-40 lbs (part of my fear stems from the fact that, while I am strong, I am HEAVY. My bodyweight is a huge handicap for me as part of my team
- Increase my strength in the following ways:
- Work up to doing 30 consecutive pushups with good form and depth (currently I am at about 12-15)
- Increase my deadlift max–need to determine what my true current max is and then set a specific weight goal
- Increase my pullup capacity–I’m not sure what is a reasonable goal to set with this yet, because bodyweight plays such a role in it. I know I want to significantly decrease the amount of support I get from bands and make aggressive progress towards being able to do an unassisted deadhang pullup. I doubt an unassisted pullup is realistic for me in the next 7 months, but I will talk to my awesome trainers and get back to you!
- Increase my endurance and overall workload capacity in the following ways (goals for the last 3 months of training) :
- Work up to run 3 miles consecutively without feeling like I want to kill myself. (Hmmmm, this one could be hard…and I know the Mudder is longer than 3 miles, but the one in Mt. Snow is actually quite a bit of walking since it is mostly up hill, plus the running gets broken up by obstacles.)
- Focus on increasing my metabolic workload by counting, tracking, and increasing burpees, climbers, box jumps, etc. during workouts
- Run at least once a week with my son, including speed and endurance work for both of us
So this is where I’m starting. These goals could change, as I plan to ask my trainers for input and feedback. But I’m not going to forget about them, and will let you know as they change with my training program.
So now it’s your turn. What’s cooking for you in 2013?