This weekend, I completed my third (and FINAL although my friend Stephanie says different) run in three weeks. I headed to my hometown of Chicago to participate in the first Pretty Muddy Women’s Run of 2012. Let me say the weather was absolutely FANTASTIC, the atmosphere was full of comrade instead of competition, the energy was high, the music was loud and I had a really difficult time being in a bad mood despite the fact that I was sleep deprived, had no Starbucks and was jet lagged. As I looked around at all of the girls in their matching shirts and costumes and cheering each other on, there was a slight bit of sadness when I realized that even in all of my pleading and begging, none of my friends would come out and join me. It just gave me a different focus. I was there to encourage those who wanted to take that step. I could no longer feel guilty because people in my life didn’t want to “run the course”, so to speak. When I realized that I had my own race to run, I felt free. I was ready to get started. When that bell went off at 8:15 a.m., I took off (well, if you call the speed I run “taking off”), and thanked God that this race did not start off uphill and I had taken a Zyrtec.
The Pretty Muddy Run is not your traditional adventure race. Our first obstacle was to run through a bunch of bubbles. I thought this was silly at first but then I laughed my head off with the rest of the ladies. It wasn’t long before I realized this run symbolized how I run my personal training business and my classes. My goal is never to kill you on the first day, maybe not even the first week. This run was set up to make EVERY WOMAN feel accomplished. Who wouldn’t enjoy running through some bubbles? (And we got to run through some beach balls too!) Women in tutus and tiaras and girls in camo ran and walked all around me. We encouraged each other when we had to climb the rope (which is the most sturdy rope I have climbed in all of these runs), cheered when everybody made it over the wall, teams pulled each other through the mud and even tackled each other at the finish line.
I think the most powerful moment for me was when I passed a woman who was walking alone while I was running. I stopped and rubbed her on her shoulder and asked her how she was doing. She told me she was doing well. She had just recently lost twenty pounds and she was determined to finish because she was doing this race for herself. How powerful it is when we realize that OUR personal journey has NOTHING to do with competition. It has EVERYTHING to do with sticking it out and challenging OURSELVES. She encouraged me to push when I knew I could. I was proud to finish that finish line, alone (although disappointed to not get a medal. Bummer.) AT the end of the day, my journey is about me. I have to learn to push even when there is no one there cheering me on or pushing me to go that extra mile. I even felt so good that I went and did Zumba, draped in mud. Hey, if you know me, you know I couldn’t resist. 🙂
I was very happy that there was a coconut water stand at the event (my favorite hydration drink), free bag check,private dressing rooms and cardio classes going on during the race. I was disappointed that “showers” translated to mean several water hoses that turned out not to work. However, some girls were super nice to let me share the only water hose that did work since I told them I had a flight to catch. I got to meet Veronica, one of my fellow FitFluential ambassadors, cheer other ladies on and just be a part of something so amazing for women of all shapes, sizes, colors and fitness levels. I walked away encouraged.
It was also very cool to be driven around town by my dad and wake up to the sound of my mom’s voice. 🙂