Sometimes I feel like it’s going to be hard to top 2011. There was the Death Race, yes, there was that, but also so much more. 2012 was supposed to be my year off from racing to focus on more outdoorsy, family oriented activities like tent camping and mountain climbing. But here we are, one week into the New Year and I’m signed up for the Tallahassee 1/2 Marathon in February and will soon be paying my entry fees for a zombie run in Atlanta and my first 50K in New Mexico! It doesn’t take much peer pressure to get me to agree to a race.
Just a little catch up:
The Tough Mudder Race Review – This race was in one word: awesome. I hadn’t properly trained, of course, having taken a lengthy 4-5 month sabbatical after the Death Race. Having fulfilled the self-promised three months off, I had seriously gotten used to getting home from work and not having to leave immediately to work out for a few hours. It was nice. And if I hadn’t already paid over the summer, I definitely wouldn’t have gone. But as things stood, the plan was to go down to Tampa for the day, take things nice, easy and slooooow and just have a good time.
The atmosphere at a Tough Mudder is infectious. People are dressed in costume and no one takes themselves to seriously. Over the course, I had to have assistance with a couple of obstacles, but there was always a fellow racer right there to give you a hand, or shoulder, up. The race was do-able and I felt good throughout, but was actually surprised by how tired I was at the finish. I still had energy and was smiling, for sure, but my legs and arms were like jello that had been sitting in the sun for a little too long. Before going, everyone told me, “Oh, after the Death Race, this will be cake for you!” so that was kinda the mentality I had going in but don’t underestimate the Tough Mudder, you do need to be in shape to make it through without being miserable the entire time.
– I did the monkey bars! Doesn’t sound that impressive, but I knew going in, without a shadow of a doubt, that I was not going to be able to make it across the monkey bars. I could visualize my fingers betraying me as I fell several feet in the pool of water below. And these aren’t your standard playground monkey bars, these are Tough Mudder monkey bars – they angle up and then angle down like a gently sloping “A.”
– I learned a pretty profound thing about myself. The entire race (about three hours for me), I had time to reflect on the upcoming obstacles. There was plenty for me to fear (falling, drowning and getting shocked): the cargo net that I had problems going over at Adventure Race Training, the 10-15 feet jump into cold water, the electroshock obstacle, and the unknown, but the one thing that had a grip on me with tunnel vision-like worry was the Everest obstacle. This is a 10-15 foot half-pipe that you have to run up, grab the top lip and pull yourself over. Most people can’t accomplish this by themselves, but usually there is a Mudder at the top with an arm out to help lift you up. The entire race, I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to do this and I’m terrified that I’m not going to be physically capable of completing the obstacle and will have to, gasp!, go around. There you have it folks. Me vs. My Fears? Not an issue. I’ve been there, knocked them down. Don’t give it a second thought. Me vs. Not Being Able To Do Something? A horrible thought, I don’t even want to talk about it. Oh, and if you are wondering, it took me three attempts, but I was able to mount Everest with some help from a few nice Mudders.
Rest in Peace Paco-Taco – My first Hounddog and best friend died on December 8th. And no, the world did not come crashing to a halt like I always thought it would. Even you that know me may not know that I considered Paco my soul mate, he was meant for me and I was meant for him and we were perfect together. He was my favorite dog, my Angel-face-baby-boy, and after he left, I thought maybe the source of my happiness. He was not a dog. He was an old soul that I loved more than anything else (don’t worry, Jerritt already knows).
Of course I know that I’m not the first to go through this grief but it just felt wrong to be without him. There was lots of crying, lots of down days, and lots of confusion. I never allowed myself any serious “what-ifs” because I know that kind of grief is more wounding than healing. But I do wish there was more I had done with the time right before his death. The Monday before he died was his birthday and I bought him some of his favorite toys and almost took him to the dog park. But Monday became busy and he never got to have his toys and didn’t go to the dog park. He was sick by Tuesday and the last time I saw him alive was Wednesday. Paco, I’m sorry that you didn’t get to rip apart one last dot or go “woo woo woo” at the intruding dogs at Tom Brown. I wish that several weeks before he left me, when he had run up to Linus’ area at MoJo’s on the way outside, I had let him play with Linus, his old best pal. Instead, I hastily shooed him outside to potty. Paco, I’m sorry that you didn’t get to have that grumpy old man contest with your favorite grumpy old man.
Other than that, I think Paco and I had a very good life together. A short life, indeed, maybe I could have had a few more years, but I’m grateful for every growl; whale-noise; woo woo woo; nose-kiss; jibbity-jab; shredded towel; shredded rug; shredded scarf; shredded t-shirt; shredded blanket (can you see his favorite pastime?); nice-to-meet-you-mr-paco-taco; high-pitched cry; bell ring; early morning tail wag; quick-stepped waddle up the stairs; leg lean; scratch, scratch, scratch at the bed; flip of your soft, floppy, pizza-ears; and every sit down pow wow where we would look into each others’ eyes and profess our mutual love of one another without words. Megan and Paco, For-Eva.
Call me a Cavewoman (for now) – I’ve made the leap. During the holidays, I abandoned my normally healthy eating habits to partake in the large amounts of junk food flowing into MoJo’s thanks to our sweet and generous clients. A cookie here turned into three cookies here, plus some chocolate bars, plus a candy cane…boiling down to a me that felt like crap for two weeks. Attributing my ill-health to too much sugar, starch and carbs, I was ready for a cleanse and a change. Enter the Paleo Diet.
Though it’s been on my radar for some time now, there were many reasons for me to not jump on the bandwagon. 1st – I was vegetarian, and cutting out dairy was not an option for me because that’s where I was getting almost all my protein. 2nd – I am very wary of any diet that cuts out entire food groups. 3rd – Yes, that’s how our ancestors lived many years ago and that’s how we evolved to eat, but wasn’t the average life span of a caveman 30, maybe 35 years? What’s the body do on a diet like this after that?
Yet here I am. I cut out the dairy, grains, legumes, processed sugar and alcohol and am seeing what ensues. I’m back on the fish and the chicken (free-range, non-cannibal, of course). The goal is a month to let my body tell me if this is right for me or not. Maybe I will add back some healthy grains and some greek yogurt, but for the most part, I’m enjoying what I’ve seen so far (though it’s only been 5 days…). I’m having fun with new delicious recipes, enjoying eating healthy foods again and feeling less sluggish throughout the day. We’ll see where this goes.
Training Resumes! – Now that I’ve signed up for some races and have the feel once again for what it’s like to have muscle tone, I’ve become re-addicted to working out. I’ve begun going every day again with some twice-a-days thrown in there too. There has been Bootcamp, Adventure Race Training, Sweat Therapy and long trail runs. Who knows what crazy people I will meet or what crazy races they will talk me into 😉 Welcome 2012!