haters

Haters say what?

“That’s my gift. I let that negativity roll off me like water off a duck’s back.

If it’s not positive, I didn’t hear it.

If you can overcome that, fights are easy.”

-George Foreman

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You know those super perky, obnoxious people who just seem to be happy about everything all the time for no reason?  Does it make you just want to hate them?  Well, I happen to be one of them.  Okay, well not all the time.  Certainly not when I’m at work anyway.  However, I am when it comes to any kind of exercise.  I truly LOVE and enjoy working out.  I am an absolute endorphin junkie.

I remember back when my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer, they prophylactically put her on prozac to avoid situational depression.  She loved that stuff.  She would always comment about how it was making her “fat” but she didn’t care because she felt so great on it.  She said she would rather gain weight than give it up.  That is how I feel about exercise.  Sure I appreciate that is good for me, but mostly I do it for the endorphins.  It is literally the only thing that helps my anxiety; so even if I gained a hundred pounds doing it and found out it wasn’t good for me… I think I’d still do it.  I’m an addict.

Perhaps that is why I can’t seem to grasp how other people can workout and not enjoy it even a little bit… like not even when it’s over.   Do they have endorphin resistance?  Are they so determined to be grouchy that even a good workout doesn’t help?

What’s more, I can’t fathom why anyone who doesn’t enjoy exercise or racing would sign up for an endurance event.

Last weekend, the hubs and I had a fantastic time at the Waterbury Duathlon.  However, there was a gentleman near me for much of the course who was ABSOLUTELY hating life.  He was moaning and screaming up all the hills on the bike section, and I (being a friendly and supportive runner at heart) would yell encouragement to him each time I passed. (SIDE NOTE: This was primary because I have a compact crank that makes my bike better suited for climbing… and I’m tiny which also works to my advantage on the way up).  While watching him struggle, I thought of suggesting he invest in having his bike properly fitted, but figured the timing would not have been good.  Besides, what do I know?… well, at least a little more than this guy.

Anyway, apparently I annoyed the bejeezus out of him because when we were about halfway though our second 5K, he grumbled something to the effect of “Congratulations, you are the person I HATE this race.”  At the time, I assured him that I was not trying to pass him and simply trying to run at a comfortable pace.  He growled he would prefer if I just passed him already.  Then, after making a rude comment about one of the finishers coming back through the course to cheer the other athletes on, he admitted to being an “angry runner” (two terms I didn’t think could ever be used together).  So, I asked if he preferred cycling instead.

In retrospect, it was probably a really stupid question… just based on the amount he was screaming and carrying on during the bike leg.  Which begs the question, if he hated the running and the cycling then what on God’s Green Earth was he doing there?  It just sort of boggles my mind.  I didn’t think people who ran and biked that far were capable of being so cranky.  Perhaps he didn’t train enough, but still… what a tremendous waste of energy.

Here is was a beautiful day with a well organized event, and this dude was hating everything and everyone- me most of all, smilingapparently.  Well excuse me Mr. Grumpy Pants, but you’ll just have to pardon my enthusiasm.  If you are truly in the habit of picking a person to hate every race; then maybe you, dear sir, need to find a new hobby.

The day that I stop loving and enjoying running and working out is the day I will stop altogether.  What is the point of going out there and doing these things if not to enrich our lives?  Sure, there are times when I hate the training and the discomfort during an especially long run or tough workout, but mostly I am grateful.  I am grateful because there are so many people who give anything to be able to walk let alone run.  I can do amazing things with my body, and that is a privilege.  It’s also something that can change in an instant- a thought I try to remind myself regularly.

Above all things, trail running is pure bliss for me.  Even in the midst of running a full ultra, I still love it.  I smile the whole way through.  I consider myself lucky to be able to take a whole day to myself to do something I love.  I am not torturing my body when I’m out there running a 50K, I am challenging it.  Yes, sometimes it can be painful, but that is what the training is for.  More than anything, though, it’s empowering and rewarding.  The reality is, there will come a day when I can’t run, bike, or swim anymore.  Until that day comes, I am going enthusiasmto appreciate each opportunity I have.  I will be chasing dreams until the day I die.  That is what makes me feel most alive.

I just don’t understand how Mr. Grumpy Pants missed the boat on what a gift it is to be able to bike and run at all, let alone compete. Maybe I offended him because I made it look easy.  Perhaps it was because I smiled and cheered on everyone around me.  More likely it was my sheer joy and enthusiasm which resonated exactly the opposite of how he was feeling.

Regardless, it wasn’t my issue.  I’m not going to dial down my enthusiasm and friendliness to avoid offending some cranky dude I’ve never met.  Frankly, there is no pleasing people like that.  The struggle they’re facing has nothing to do with you or me.  It’s entirely with themselves.  No one should ever feel obligated to apologize for simply being happy, genuine, and loving life.

Go out there and love life to your heart’s content.  The world needs more passionate people.  Be like George Foreman and let all the negativity around you just roll off your back.  You know I’ll be in your corner. 😉

Ultra Beast on My Mind

“It takes a little courage, and a little self-control… and some grim determination,

If you want to reach the goal.

It takes a deal of striving, and a firm and stern-set chin.

No matter what the battle, If you really want to win.

There’s no easy path to glory, There’s no road to fame.

Life, however we may view it, Is no simple parlor game;

But it’s prizes call for fighting, For endurance and for grit;

For a rugged disposition and don’t know when to quit.”

With the Spartan Ultra Beast only a few weeks away at this point, it’s safe to say it’s on my mind almost 24/7.  I know myself well enough to realize that no matter how much I train, it will never feel like enough.  I mean how are you ever supposed to feel prepared for something you’ve never done before?  Isn’t the whole point of doing an event like this to GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE?  (Mission Accomplished!!! I am SO OUT of my comfort zone lol)

I’ve never done a Spartan Race, so I only have an idea of what to expect. I considered signing up for the Super Spartan next weekend, and even running it twice back to back as training- but it’s almost $150.  That is a lot of money, especially when you’re paying a mortgage and student loans.  Furthermore, realistically, I don’t think running next weekend (or even doing the course twice) is going to dramatically effect whether or not I finish Sept 22nd.  At this point, most of my training is already behind me; and there’s not going to be much I could pull of in the next week or two that is going to alter my chances… other than getting injured!  Plus, I think I would rather not know what I’m getting myself into…

I keep reminding myself that Spartan Headquarters selected me for a reason.  I earned my spot in that race.  Up until completing the Ascent, I wasn’t sure how well I believed I could finish; and it bothered me to read comments about how there were too many unqualified people getting in.

However, now I don’t care if other people think I’m un or under-qualified.  They clearly don’t know me, what I’ve been through, or what I’m capable of accomplishing when my mind is set.  The truth is I don’t need anyone else’s approval to succeed.  The fact that I have never done a Spartan Race has absolutely nothing to do with my worthiness to compete or my ability to finish.  I don’t need to rattle off my credentials or prove myself to anyone.  I am one tough chick, and if they don’t want to see or acknowledge it that’s their problem- not mine.

I didn’t sign up for this race to demonstrate to the world what a badass I am; I signed up to challenge myself.  I wanted to push myself to do something I didn’t think I could.  I figured I’d send in my application and see what happened.  If I got in, I’d take it as a sign from the universe that I could do it and was ready for the challenge.  Never in a million years did I imagine what a (pardon the expression) “pissing contest” it would become.  I guess I was accustomed to the Spartan Chicked group where everyone is encouraging and supportive of each other without the need for competition.

 Maybe it’s the addition of the testosterone, but the Ultra Beast group is constant stream of who is the most awesome, who is going to annihilate the race because “some of us eat courses like this for breakfast”, complaints that there are too many people getting in (I’m sorry, I missed the part about our applications being accepted early on making us superior to everyone else) , and how there are so many unqualified people getting accepted (not sure what credentials are required to be the judge of who is actually qualified, but apparently Spartan Headquarters doesn’t seem to have them). Seriously? Grow up people and worry about yourselves!

I’m not saying that is what every post is like, or even how most of the people in the group are.  In reality, it’s probably only a few people (with a constant need to run their mouths), but the comments are a fairly regular occurrence.  I just don’t understand the concept of needing to trash other people (people you don’t even know in this case!) to make yourself feel good.  Sure, maybe you’re naturally athletic- but did you ever stop and think that maybe that’s your disadvantage?  Do you even know what it’s like to really dig deep and work for something?  Have you ever pushed yourself to your mental or physical limit?  Have you trained through chronic injuries and pain?  Have you ever even attempted anything you didn’t already know you would succeed at?

I’d like to think that if you did, you would be supportive of other people trying to do the same instead of looking down your nose at them as if they’re beneath you in some way.  I know people who have been accepted in the Ultra Beast with fewer races and  less distance covered than me… several, in fact, who have never even covered the distance of a full marathon.   That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have the chance to compete; and it certainly doesn’t make them less deserving than me or anyone else to be there.  Running is supposed to be about competing with yourself and having fun in the process.  If you’ve lost sight of that then I sincerely feel sorry for you.