happiness is...

happiness is...
kenya 2010

Monday, October 24, 2011

i am warrior- hear me ROAR!!

i saw an ad on facebook several months ago for the warrior dash and decided that was how i wanted to celebrate my new life, after more than 6 years of debilitating pain and a subsequent neck surgery to fix it. the end of october marked the date that i would officially be off of restriction following my spinal fusion, and i wanted to charge into the NEXT 6 years as a warrior. this pain has kept me down. way down. not only did i have pain, but also muscle wasting and weakness, pain in both shoulders, insomnia, and loss of motor function and sensation in both hands. needless to say, i didn't feel much like a warrior. well, my surgery has changed that! this seemed like the perfect way to prove what i can do with no limitations. besides, it looked really fun, and i'm never one to pass up fun!

i didn't want to do this all by myself, so i started recruiting friends. a couple were on board right away, and a few took a little more coaxing...but the clincher was when i mentioned that you get a fuzzy warrior helmet with horns, a medal, a tshirt, AND a beer for running it! we decided to look into superhero costumes and i'll tell you what- THAT is when the girls really started to get excited. time after time, i saw them walk into that costume shop luke warm about doing the dash, and unsure if they wanted to wear a costume, and then i saw them find the perfect one. after that, you couldn't have stopped them with a bulldozer! julie (wonder woman) wanted to wear hers home. who can blame her? she rocked it!

here's the team pre-battle (fatouma as the green lantern, cate was cat woman, paula was gladiatrix, julie was wonder woman, and yours truly was super girl):

we made a real girl's weekend out of this. we stayed at paula's aunt ronna's house in st. louis. there isn't a more amazing hostess in the entire world, and her house is more luxurious than any hotel we could have afforded. she even had a hot tub! (that came in really handy the night of the competition). she had enough food for an army, and enough bed space that none of us had to sleep on the couch. it was perfect. the next day we all headed out to old monroe, mo, for the moment of truth.

okay, i'll admit that on the website the obstacles look a little bit silly. kind of like a big joke. this is a 3.2 mile run with 12 obstacles thrown in. at the KC dash, you could only see the final 2 obstacles- the fire and the mud pit/barbed wire. no problem. if the other 10 were like those 2, we'd have this thing licked! well, guess what? they weren't. when we got there, on the horizon, we could see something. it looked like a giant net with tiny ants crawling up and over it. i heard myself say, "oh my @$), that is one of the obstacles." i kid you not, the blood drained out of every one of our faces when reality set in. it was a rope cargo net over 20 feet high, stretched over a frame, and the competitors had to climb up and over, and down the other side. no net. no pad. no mat. not even sand below. just 20 feet up and 20 feet down, with hard ground below. i was starting to have my doubts...have i mentioned my paralyzing fear of heights? this was gonna' build some character. 

(see that thing in the distance with ants crawling on it? those are people, and that was obstacle # 10!)

there was one saving grace- we were super heros. i mean literally. we were super heroes like the guy dressed up in a fat suit at the mall is santa. you might know, deep down, that he's just a guy...but in that moment, he's santa. well, that is what it was like for us. people were taking our pictures, and calling out our names. they asked if they could take pictures of their kids with us, and their kids were big-eyed and in awe. by the time we started the race, we had forgotten our fear. we were 10 feet tall and bullet proof. 500 of us lined up in the cattle corral, and the gun (and blow torches) sounded. we were off.

oh yike. i trained to be able to run a 5k. slowly, mind you, but i can still run one. well, that was on a flat surface. THIS was a hunting preserve in the woods of missouri, and there wasn't a flat inch in the whole 3 miles. it was hilly and rocky and uneven, and STEEP. that was underestimation #1.

underestimation #2 was the entire rest of the course! the good news is that some of the ones in the middle made the one we could see from the finish line easy to handle. the other good news is that we finished it- all of us!  we didn't finish it fast (except cate, who rocked it!!), but we finished it. paula took a big tumble off of one of the walls, but kept going like the gladiatrix she is. fatouma slid down that same wall hard- but kept going as well...and the 3 of us finished holding hands, and jumping that fire while yelling our warrior yell at the top of our lungs. we all hit the mud pit to chants of "wonder woman!" and "green lantern!", and "super girllllllllll!", etc... and crawled under the barbed wire and over the finish line as champions.

we could barely walk the next day, and by monday i couldn't get out of my office chair in less than 6 tries...and we had bruises on nearly every surface of our bodies...but each and every one of us committed then and there to warrior dash KC 2012.

i'll let pictures tell the rest of the story: 

capes and barbed wire...epic fail!

fatouma and paula tackle "the hangman"

dead man's drop- this one is harder than it looks....

...obviously! nothing injured but my pride, here

8 feet off the ground on 2x4s

who said cats don't like to swim??

i'm not scared of a little 40 degree mud!


...AND the after-party, complete with costume contest and dancing...

bring on warrior dash KC -       May 5th, 2010!             



  1. you are out of your ever loving mind!

  2. but george- i thought that was part of my charm?!