"The timorous may stay at home."
~ Murphy v. Steeplechase Amusement Co., 250 N.Y. 479, 483 (N.Y. 1929)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Coming Home: World's Toughest Mudder 2014

The most fun you've had? Oh yes
There are times in life when things just feel right. When you know you are where you are supposed to be.

And as soon as I pulled up to the site of World's Toughest Mudder 2014 in Lake Las Vegas last Friday, I knew it was one of those times.

Hugging old friends, meeting new ones, we all anxiously set up our pits areas, commenting on how the Vegas desert was the FURTHEST thing from Raceway Park in Jersey that we had all grown accustomed to over the past few years. Excitement ran high. We were ready to begin.

But 8 weeks ago, I didn't think I would be there in Vegas, preparing to race. 8 weeks ago, I was mourning the loss of running the Spartan World Championship, and undergoing surgery on a bum knee. I had mentioned to my surgeon that I would love to make it back in time for a "24 hour race," and he rolled his eyes.

See, when the surgeon told me "return to sport" in 8 weeks, he meant "go play a basketball game," not "run around in circles in the desert for 24 hours." Sorry doc - can't help the sport I chose, and technically, you didn't qualify your statement. With that in mind, however, I came in cautious, mentally prepping myself for the fact that I might have to pull the plug. That the moment the knee started hurting, I needed to call it. I questioned how much conditioning and endurance I had lost being laid up for a good portion of those 8 weeks. I doubted whether my ego could take that (as I'm sure the others did around me). But regardless of how far I could make it, I knew I needed to be at WTM. Having missed last year with injury, the thought of missing another gutted me more than I could ever imagine.

But come WTM morning, it was all smiles and laughs. Surgeries, injuries, and disappointments were far from my mind as we started out. I try and learn something from every race, and over those next 24 hours, a few things became clear to me:

Monday, May 5, 2014

Willingness to Suffer

Might as well look good doing it
The typical interview question will go something like this: "So why do you think you are successful in obstacle racing?"

It's a question that has given me pause, and has stumped me for as long as I've been hurdling over walls and throwing myself under barbed wire. I typically will stumble through it with some answer about a mixture of speed and strength, and how you need both in obstacle racing.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Way Back

It's been a hibernation kind of winter here in Chicago.

And for most of it, I've buried my head in the sand. Thrown myself into work (lawyering like a BOSS), rehab (so many Jane Fondas...), and recovery (which means rest. Which blows). And football, of course (Thanks Seahawks for salvaging an otherwise miserable winter. #LOB baby).

Friday, November 8, 2013

Injured Reserve

I hate it when cliches are true: one moment, you feel like you are on top of the world, and the next - things coming crashing down. And you sit and struggle with "why me" and kick and scream and fight, thinking timing is never fair.

Such is my life right now. I've been mum on this subject as of late, laying low on social media, hoping/thinking things would resolve, ashamed to admit what I hate to admit to myself: I'm hurt.

As someone who has been fortunately injury-free for a long time, it's been devastating. Compound that with my calf injury pre-Spartan World Championships, I've been hesitant to let people know about the injury for fear of what other people think (I'll call it "FOWOPT." Deal with it). But you can only go so hard for so long until something has to give. And it gave, at a horrible time (admittedly, there is never a "good" time).

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

One Year Later: Spartan Race Championships

If there is one thing I learned from the Reebok Spartan Race World Championships this past weekend, it's that you can EASILY get rope burn through clothing.

Tyrolean Traverse
Photo credit: Scott Keneally

Ok, I might have learned more. But that was, by far, the most painful lesson. Tegaderm is now my friend.

It's been a year since the first Spartan Championships, and it was undeniable how things have changed. It was evident not only from the caliber of athletes that showed up this year, but even the feel and mood surrounding the race with the cameras and press and hoopla. While I laughed and joked with other racers and tried to appear calm, I'm pretty awful at hiding my nerves.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Push for Legitimacy

At my grandma's 90th birthday party following the Pacific Northwest Spartan Sprint, I found myself
in a conversation with a family friend, who I hadn't seen in years, trying to explain the race I had just run that morning. Granted, I'm not known for being able to express coherently when speaking (yes yes, and I'm an attorney...bla bla bla), but I found myself saying things like this:

"So it's a trail race, typically pretty hilly, and you have a few dozen obstacles on the way - climbing over walls, crawling under barb wire, dragging tires, etc."

His response: "So kind of like steeplechase?"

Monday, July 1, 2013

Death Race Truths*

 *for me. (like I would proclaim universal truths. pshaw)

(1) The Death Race isn't fair

Andy and Joe should really keep a running tally of the number of times racers complain "but this isn't FAIR." Newsflash, buttercup: NOTHING about the DR is fair. In fact, it's designed to be completely and totally unfair, in every manner possible.

Easy wood to chop. Not pictured: young birch.
Not easy to chop.
Sometimes you win with this unfairness, sometimes you lose. If Joe and Andy know your name, then sometimes you are screwed. Other times, it can work in your favor. I happened to have a number of "unfair" things that happened to me this race, and some of them were favorable. For example, my rock group - Group 8, got a SWEET section of the trail. Long, but gently sloping. We had smaller stones, and we had to carry them downhill, not up. In fact, a lot of our section was landscaping, and not heavy grunt work. I heard others were complaining about how easy we had it. Yes, it sucked that your section, Group 1 or 9 or whatever, was that much harder, and yes, it's totally unfair. But it was beyond your control, and it was beyond my control. So you take these "gifts" when you get them, and realize that it may come back and bite you in the ass later. (such as, when I got stuck chopping green birch logs. Awful. Absolutely awful.) Or, as another example, Joe didn't make me carry a massive rock over Bloodroot. He could have, but he didn't. Was that unfair? Perhaps. But would I have quit had he give me one? No.

Because that's where you put the nail in your DNF coffin -when you let the "unfairness" of the race get into your head and you mentally take yourself out of it.