Adventureland…

… also known as the Oklahoma City metro area, at least in my case—but that sounds way less sexy.

I’ve been trying to be more adventurous because I turn 30 this year and I’m having a ridiculous panic attack over it. So, 29 has been the year of trying new food, new movies, new hobbies, new sports, new whatever.

Now, it seems 29 turned from the year of adventures into the year of quitting. Pessimistic? Maybe.

Here is this story about how I went longboarding, like two months ago.


I am afraid of everything, so it was surprising how much I enjoyed longboarding the first time out. I may have liked it because it only took an hour or me to stop feeling like I was making the biggest mistake of my life.

You must be so impressed.

30 seconds into renting the longboards:

One hour later:

Anyway, for the next two weeks all I could talk about was longboarding this and longboarding that. I looked up #longboarding on Instagram, so I guess you could say things felt pretty serious. After those two weeks, though, my interest subsided. It might have had a little to do with how expensive the things are, and a lot more to do with my general discomfort with anything on wheels.

I hate driving. You know, I didn’t even get my driver’s license until I was 21 or 22 years old. I was that kid in college that would whip out her state issued ID to get a drink at that cool bar on Sixth Street. Anyway, I am uncomfortable with things on wheels.

My passion and almost immediate disinterest in the new things I’m trying this year must be why parents are always so mad at their children… “I love hockey….Oh, you bought me $300.00 worth of gear…I hate hockey.”

Trying a bunch of new things this year has made me feel more adventurous, but not sticking with those things makes me feel like a quitter. I’m an adult, though, and I am not required to stick with everything I try to be good at adult-ing. Right? Right.

I still liked longboarding, and I continue to like the idea of doing it again sometime, maybe even at more respectable speeds—but I will be talking about it a lot less… after this, obviously.

Next on the list is rock climbing, well, indoor rock climbing. I’m sure I’ll love it, and promptly never do it again.

About Fear

I’m afraid of a lot of things. I don’t like to think of all the things I fear because then I start counting them, and fear I fear too many things.

Mainly, though, I’m afraid of all athletic challenges. So let’s talk about that.

You want me to knock on the door of a man facing murder charges and ask for an interview? I’ve done it, and I wasn’t afraid. Tell me to jump onto something or do a handstand? I panic.

You know, it took me almost four years of crossfiting to feel semi-comfortable jumping on a 24-inch box. It’s like a mountain to me.

 

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I fell once, and have a scar on my leg to remind me. It hurt a lot. It still hurts if I touch it.

Now I have to jump once or twice near the box to remind myself I can reach it. It’s almost like a tic.

A coach who believes in me kept pushing me to try a few months ago; I almost cried, and I’m not a crier. I came to terms with the fact that I would always just jump on a 20-inch box for a workout, and that really was alright. Then, out of nowhere, I decided maybe a 24-inch box jump was a possibility for me.

Crossfit has taught me something intresting about myself— I’m a pessimist. I’d say I’m a realist, but isn’t that what pessimists say?

I see only everything that could wrong: I could fall. It could hurt. If I try, I could break something. I have before.

I think it’s ok to be a pessimist in that way. Let’s call me careful.

Despite my reservations, I’ve also learned I can still achieve many things that seem so impossible. I just take more measured steps.

Football: An Anti-Fan Converted (Not Really)

I like a lot of things: stuff, shenanigans, crossfit, karaoke, but most of all I like spending time with people I like—heck, I like spending time with people I think are just alright.

What I decidedly don’t like is football. I just don’t get it. I mean, I get it, but I don’t “get it.” That’s about as clear as I can make it. Here is a visual example of my thoughts on football.

 

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I, however, have found myself in a pickle because almost all of my friends like watching football. Nick likes it too—even though he swears he doesn’t mind if we skip Monday Night Football in favor of sitcom reruns.

I fought the good fight, but finally went with a group of friends to watch a game at a bar and actually —mostly— paid attention. I actually had a fun time, but I’m convinced it had more to do with the company and sweet potato fries than it did with Bronco nation.

Here are some things I learned:

1.  You can tell it’s a replay if there are no scores at the bottom of the screen.

2.  The yellow line isn’t really there.

3.  I totally called something a false start and was right.

4.  Peyton Manning has a stunningly large forehead and likes wearing his helmet really tightly.

5.  Fans get really violent/ happy depending on how the game is going.

So, now I will probably go to your football game watching party/ hangout sesh, and I will likely have a good time—but I will always look at you like you are insane if you start screaming at the television.

Dirty Dash Debacle aka Photoshop 101

I ran a marathon, just last year… and a half marathon the year before that. I have the participation medals and night terrors to prove it. I’m not trying to impress you (maybe just a little), but I think it is important you have this information before you read the rest of this entry, so now you may proceed.

Some amazing people from Crossfit Pandora’s Box and I ran the Dirty Dash in early September. I knew I was going to run this months ago, and told myself that training would be easy, and it would have been if I’d ever gotten around to doing it. Either way, a 5k was totally doable, or at least that’s what I kept singing to myself on the 20 minute drive to the race site.

There is me in the skirt with my team.

 

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Some 25 people from Crossfit Pandora’s Box were broken up into small groups, but everyone talked about staying together since it was a noncompetitive run/obstacle course. I thought, “ Awesome, I’m crazy slow, but no one is concerned with going fast, so, I’m golden.”

Wrong.

Some 400 meters in, I was out. I mean, I kept running, but everyone else just happened to be moving faster. It was somewhat depressing, but I kept my freaking chin up. I found myself treading through mud pits, because I thought it was “cray cray”, if you will, to launch myself into them if no one I knew could laugh with me. I guess I must no longer be a kid at heart, or something?

I fell on my right butt cheek when I was climbing over some giant slippery hurdle. That sucked. What sucked more is that a dude from the gym that was running late and has the, seriously hilarious, inability to say my name, managed to catch up to me and pass me…you know…to catch up with the rest of the group, which he accomplished successfully. What in the world?

 

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The best part, at least in everyone else’s eyes, was the moment some strangers that I managed to keep pace with decided I was too clean…said as much, and then shoved me into a mud pit. Yeah— the even better part: In my shock, I gasped and got a mouth full of mud. MUD IN MY MOUTH!

Anyway, the really horrible part was the literal petrification (not actually literal because I know what that word means) caused by these two giant walls and an even giant-er cargo net I had to scale, jump over,  and climb down. I really think I might not have been able to do it, if a very kind gal from the gym, with running skillz, hadn’t run back after finishing to find me, and encouraged me to conquer some pretty deep rooted climbing and falling fears. Which I did, so suck on that world!

 

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As a result of my all around slowness and distaste for overcoming obstacles, I didn’t make it into any of the freaking awesome pictures that were later uploaded onto Facebook— so I decided to fix them. You’re welcome.

 

 

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26.2

I’m not an athlete. I don’t even play one on TV, but on October 16th I ran a marathon– barely.

I should be more specific. I didn’t run. I ran, then walked, then hobbled my way to the finish line.

This didn’t just happen, of course. I had four months of training, an IT band injury and three weeks of trying to recover behind me. Also, fear, I had a lot of fear.

The start line showed me what it would be like to slowly suffocate to death. There were no corrals, just general areas suggested for a runner’s goal pace. There were 22,000 people plus their loved ones crammed into the Union Square area of San Francisco on a humid day– it was tough to breath.

I didn’t cross the start line until some 20 minutes after the actual start time. I was afraid I’d have some breathing issues because I hadn’t run in three weeks, but the being at sea level was like freaking magic. Every breath gave me more energy, and not feeling out of breath made it easier to deal with the slight pain in my leg.

I kept a 10 minute mile going for a long while, and didn’t even break a sweat. It was fun, for the first time ever, to pass people left and right– swoosh swoosh– feeling strong.

Things were good, and then they were not.

Somewhere between mile 6 and 8 there were short rolling hills through a pretty neighborhood. Well, pretty on the eyes, but not on my IT band. Without exaggeration, I will say it felt like someone was ramming little needles all along the outside of my left knee, but I pushed it.

My pace fell to an 11 minute mile.

Then, an 11:40 mile.

The pain continued to come and go, but I kept saying, “My mind is stronger than this. My body is trying to trick me.”

Paramedics were tending to a young woman. She went down– maybe dehydration. I so badly didn’t want that to be me. She looked out of it, but was crying. Her journey was over.

At mile 12 I was still running. I saw my husband. He said I looked good– looked strong. He was lying, he must have been. I was slow and in pain.

Somewhere between mile 14 and 15 it was over for my body. My left knee and hip were done. I started to walk. I felt broken.

There were two moments in the race where I could have dropped off and gone the half-marathon route. After an inner struggle, I continued along the marathon route trying to run, and getting passed by walkers– I gave up a little and just walked.

I started to feel the blisters forming and my hips were burning. My knee never stopped throbbing. Everyone was passing me. Everyone.

At mile 20 I started doing some math. I wouldn’t finish under the 6 hour and 30 minute time limit even if I ran.

I lied to myself, “It doesn’t matter. You can still do this.”

At mile 22 I started to cry. I was pumping my arms, pushing my legs forward even though I had nothing left and the tears were just rolling down silently– bloody but unbowed. 

I came to the false realization that it was never going to be over. That is what I said, out loud– Ok, this is never going to be over. I’m just going to keep moving until I die.

My heart broke some more when I was just steps from passing one more mile marker and a car honked. The vehicle passed me, stopped and some men took down the timer.

I should say, I was not alone. There were some determined walkers that continued to push and several others, like me, dragging their feet with all the dignity they could muster refusing to let their bodies tell them it was over.

Just after mile 24 a man on a motorcycle rode by me and said, “You have 20 minutes before a van comes by to pick people up.”

I nodded and then tried to run with everything that might be left somewhere inside– a little blood was in my mouth from pushing my teeth into my cheek, my hip flexors burning and my left knee vibrating with pain.

Everything begged me to stop and just stretch. Everything had been begging me to stop for so many miles– so many hours. It just wasn’t time yet.

A van drove by me and the nice woman in the passenger side seat told me I could get in and hop off at mile 26. I’d still be able to run through the finish line, get a necklace and a finisher shirt.

I was shocked.

“No. It’s less than a mile. Can I keep running?”

She said yes, but that she couldn’t guarantee me the Tiffany necklace I so badly wanted.

It was about so much more than a necklace at that point.

Run Run Run. Breath Breath Breath.

There it was, the finish line. I’d been moving for over 6 hours to get here.

Eyes closed, I crossed the finish line. Finally.

The clock said, 6:48:48. I missed the cut-off.

I found my husband and found the consolation hug I needed.

“You did it. You are a marathoner,” he said.

I explained he was wrong. I failed. Then, he reminded me that I had started 20 minutes after the start time. I had, in fact, done it. I finished before the cut-off.

This is not the way my first marathon was suppose to go. I was suppose to run strong and fast from beginning to end. I was not suppose to be injured. I was suppose to cross the finish line with fists in the air and a smile on my face after about 4 hours and 40 minutes.

I dragged my legs. I cried. I felt defeated. I crossed the finish line with my eyes shut and a limp believing I had failed.

It is not perfect, but it is.

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