Og Mandino

Lots of Going Ons

“I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand.

Henceforth will I apply ALL my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy.
Og Mandino

There has been so much going on in life recently!  I had an awesome board meeting with CT-Alive Friday night.  Being around those women is always a great and energizing experience.  We have so many terrific ideas about how to change the world and make it a better place!

According to their tally, the Running for the Color Purple Campaign has raised SEVERAL hundreds dollars so far- and I could not be more excited!  It is even more rewarding  than running all the miles. The members of the board were so encouraging and supportive.  I truly love them, and being a part of the organization.  It adds more meaning to my life- and, strangely, makes me feel like maybe the abuse and pain were for a reason.  The rainbow in this case was well worth the years of storming. 🙂

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Coming Out and New Arrivals

“I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand. Henceforth will I apply ALL my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy. “
Og Mandino

After a lot of careful consideration and back and forth, I have officially come out.  Not in the Lady Gaga themed gay pride sense (although I did think the youtube video was pretty awesome- I could only wish to be that fabulous).  Rather, I have opened up about my blog to my coworkers and Facebook friends. Initially, when I started this blog, I had intended on keeping it to myself.  I wanted to provide a voice for those victims who were unable to speak up for themselves and let them know they are not alone.  I also wanted to help raise awareness about domestic violence.  While I was open with many of my coworkers about what I had been through, I found the topic of domestic abuse tends to make people uncomfortable.  Several of them knew that I had started a blog, but I had never offered to let any of them read it.  The only people in my life who had read The Running Thriver up til now were a few close family members and friends.

However, as I have gotten more involved in the fight against domestic abuse- especially with the launching of the Running for the Color Purple Campaign- I have felt that sharing my blog is the right thing to do.  If I can’t be completely open about this big part of my life and educate the people I interact with on a daily basis than 1) how can I expect to educate anyone else, and 2) how can I encourage other victims to speak up and not be ashamed?  While I am not at all embarrassed about what I have been through, I have been a little reluctant to “spring” this information on people- in particular Adam’s family and friends.

At the end of the day, though, I care more about speaking up and raising awareness than I do about not bringing attention to myself.  Plus, I would have found it difficult to ask so many people to donate to this cause without explaining why it is so important to me.

In other news, I bought my first pair of non-vibram running shoes in a LONG TIME.  With the Diva Half and Hartford Marathon being on pavement, and my continued difficulty getting accustomed to running on pavement in my Vibrams, I figured it might be wise to hold off on a barefoot marathon for a while longer.  Adam helped me pick out a pair with more cushioning in the toe box so they would be more comfortable for my new running style.  I also got my first pair of real running socks and some pink gloves (on clearance!) for when the weather gets cooler. One week until the Diva Half and less than 3 until the Hartford Marathon!!!

My new shoes- There are even paisley on the inside!!!

Earning my orange…

To do anything truly worth doing, I must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in with gusto and scramble through as well as I can.
-Og Mandino

That’s right! I made it!  Through mud, freezing water, electric shock (I didn’t actually get shocked, but I did run the risk of it!), rough terrain, under barbed wire, literally up and down a mountain for over 11 miles (probably over 12).  There were times when I was terrified, hyperventilating, and completely frozen- in the shivering, teeth chattering sense-, but I made it through!    Adam was right there with me the whole way.  He helped me over the tall Berlin walls and up the ropes.  He also made sure I didn’t drown after I jumped 15 ft into freezing water, and it literally knocked the air out of me.  He even offered to pull me to the other side of the water, but I told him I could manage. I think I may have worried him a little.  lol  Casualties included my “Say Yes to Endorphins” shirt 😦 and black hair band, which got caught in the barbed wire on an early obstacle.

The views were spectacular!  I wish I could have taken pictures from the top!  It was completely breathtaking- both in the sense of being awe inspiring and the altitude literally making it difficult to breathe.  If nothing else, the trip and race were worth the scenery alone.  🙂 We saw lots of crazy costumes, some awesome stunts, and great signs posted by the Tough Mudder Staff.  My favorites included the Warrior Dash finish marker with the reminder that you still had a hell of a way to go, and smaller signs reading things like “Remember you signed a death waiver” and “Chuck Norris never ran a Tough Mudder”.

There was also a lot of camaraderie.  Well, that is at least until we hit the last couple miles and things came to a grinding halt.  The course narrowed dramatically and it caused a lot of standing around and waiting- not exactly a fun time when you are tired, starving, soaked, and freezing.  The sun was already fading, and the wind on the mountain made the temperature seem incredibly cold.  I imagine waiting in long lines with the finish line in sight was not exactly what people expected.  There was a lot of vocal complaining and heckling going on.  People were getting down right nasty, but I guess not everyone handles general discomfort the same.  By the time it was all over with, we were all  a happy Mudder tribe again…it may have had to do with the free beer and snacks.   Overall, I think the course was fun, but might have been improved if the paths were wide enough to get around the people who insisted on walking (incredibly slowly, the entire way- I still give them props by the way).

All that being said, I didn’t let any of the temporary grumpiness or physical discomfort drag me down!  Normally, I tell people my three criteria for happiness are to be warm, dry, and well fed; by the end of the race I was none, but I was still upbeat and enjoying Adam’s company- even if I was too cold to feel my legs.  I was proud of myself for still having energy at the end of the race to sail down the hill, while many other people were dropping out and complaining about fatigue and pain.  I set out to do something I knew would be challenging and followed through- despite my better, self-preserving judgement.  I also raised over $70 for the Wounded Warrior Project just in bottle and can donations (Thank you to my awesome co-workers and family for all your help!!!).  While I may not be in a hurry to rush out an sign up for my next one, I would definitely do another obstacle race in the future.  In the meantime, I have realized that what I truly enjoy most is just running on the trails- no crowds, no obstacles, no pavement- just me and nature, and the wide open path.  🙂  The whole time I was running (mostly hiking- the attitude made it difficult on the way up, and crowding did the same on the way down) the race I kept thinking of how much more fun it would be if I could just run the course without all the interruptions -including the obstacles- which were fun, but not quite as much fun for me as just running.

I would strongly encourage anyone to try an obstacle race, especially if you find just running boring.  They start as short as 5 K, which is completely doable- even if you walk the whole way.  It’s a great opportunity to get dirty, exercise, and meet some new people.

Tonight at Boot Camp I will proudly be sporting my orange Tough Mudder sweatband and T-shirt!  Go Mudders!

I am very happy to have completed my first big challege this fall.  The Diva Half Marahton is in just 2 wks and the Hartfod Marathon in 4 wks!  I can’t believe how quickly this is all happening!  Thank you everyone for your support and well wishes!

Another day, another 15 miles

“The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting goals and achieving them. Even the most tedious chore will become endurable as you parade through each day convinced that every task, no matter how menial or boring, brings you closer to fulfilling your dreams.”

Og Mandino

So the photo above pretty much sums up my view of Boot Camp 🙂  Except puking is not an acceptable excuse to stop.

I survived my first session of Boot Camp- it was worse than running 18 miles!!!!!  I would consider myself in reasonably good shape, but that class kicked my butt.  I’m sure running there and back (and all the labor day pigging out) didn’t help.  We weren’t even halfway through before I felt like I would throw up.  By the time I reached the end of the first circuit, I nearly passed out.  I eased up until the room came back into focus and kept going.  It made me feel like such a wimp, until I noticed that everyone else was struggling too- including the people who had been doing it for months.  “Something to look forward to. Apparently it doesn’t get any easier” I thought to myself.

I wanted to quit.  It was torture. I reminded myself that if you don’t feel like quitting, throwing up, or passing out then you probably aren’t working hard enough anyway.  Then I surprised myself and not only made it through the whole class, but even the run home.

On the schedule today- a 15 mile run this morning followed by Boot Camp #2 this evening.  I am hoping that there is less nausea this time around. 😉

One more week until California and 10 more days until my first Tough Mudder!!!!