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Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Precipice

"All the concepts about stepping out of your comfort zone mean nothing, until you DECIDE that your purpose, vision and goals are more important than your self-imposed limitations."      *Robert White*

My husband and I participated in The Ultimate Mud Warrior Race this weekend. Personally I choose to scratch the word Race out and replace it with Finish because for me that's what it's all about. You might say I'm trying to get over myself... literally. My greatest obstacle in life has been my limited belief in myself and the fear of everything outside my bubble world. As I've watched my kids set out on their life adventures, I've seen them accomplish things that would (and have) scared me stiff. I've come to realize that believing in yourself is the toughest challenge you can face. That being said, the day was slated to be a beautiful fall day and apparently Murphy didn't get the memo about my race entry, therefore he failed to show up. The morning was beautiful as planned, but a tad nippy at 9 a.m., but not the cold, drizzly 47 degrees as the run/race we did last
month. I had watched the construction of the course online and was excited about the level of obstacles and the intriguing route the race would take. Of course it wouldn't be a mud race without water (and lots of it), and mud there was. Part of the race included sand, which is exactly like swimming in glue when you are really tired. All obstacles had an alternate path if you didn't feel up to the challenge, but hey, that's what this is all about. Not far into the course we came to the under/over cable lake crossing. This challenge consisted of a 
lake bordered by cliffs. Cables ran from one side of the lake to the other, one cable to walk on, one cable to hold, and a very muddy cold lake lay way beneath the cables (did I mention cold). Racers stood in line to cross, but those who wanted to opt out could simply do 10 push-ups and take the alternate path. My husband suffered a bad shoulder injury a couple of years ago and opted out, I made the decision to   stay. I stood in line with the other racers for probably 40 minutes. That's a long time to stand in the shade (did I mention cold) and watch people creep their way across the cables, many falling to their wet reward below. I wouldn't say I was nervous, I would say I was pensive. 35 minutes into the wait, there were only 2 others 
in front of me. I looked out across the lake. On the other side was a clearing where the ones who had crossed, as well as many spectators stood watching the daring ones. Teammates stood shouting instructions to friends and everyone cheered for 
those who had fallen to the icy waters below.  Each racer had their own method to the madness of crossing. Some walked the cable like a tight rope,  some scooted sideways, all struggled. As each racer reached midpoint in the crossing,  the next racer stepped onto the cable and usually there was a racer just finishing. The first step wasn't too bad for the one entering, but this is where the one in the middle began to struggle for 
control. I watched those in the middle fight the line. The cable would begin to sway sending part of their body one way, part of their body the other way. the trick was to get your body back in line so you could continue to inch your way across.  I gritted my teeth as I watched the racers bobble and bop, swing and sway. I started to ask myself.... "Is this really worth it? In the great scheme of things, what does it matter if I do this or not? Just drop and give em 10 and go around and be done with it." Then I thought of all the times I didn't push myself to do the difficult. I thought about all of the risks my daughter has taken while in the Navy, and the things my son has face on his mission trips and in starting a business.  I knew this wasn't important to anyone, but me. This wasn't a challenge of fear, failure, or danger, it was a 
challenge of inner courage, and inner belief in myself. I needed to do this. I stepped out on the line and focused (and focus is a big deal for me) all of my energy on doing this. I had decided the side step slip/slide/scoot route would probably work best. Carefully I slide my leg and arm to the side, balanced, then brought the other side together. When the cable began to swing, I spread my legs out to maintain balance and then brought them back in when the line steadied. 3/4 way across, the cable began to jump and swing as the other racer stepped onto the line. I did not come this far to fail! I fought the line with everything I had. I tried trapping the line behind my 
shoulders and holding with my neck, which actually worked really well, until it didn't anymore. After what seemed like forever, something that happened at the beginning of the cable jerked the cable from under my feet and my hand could no longer hold on. I plummeted to the murky water beneath, and came up gasping for air. When I made it to shore, my husband's feet appeared, and he reached down to help me up. I was so dizzy from the swaying, I couldn't get my balance and it took a few seconds for me to be able to stand.  I was so disappointed and exhausted! It wouldn't have taken much to send me in tears. The woman who was on the cable at the same time (and who fell at the same time), apologized as she walked past, but I 
was too exhausted to respond. As my husband and I walked through the woods, I honestly doubted I could finish the race. I had used so much mental and physical energy on the cable, I wasn't sure I had anything left for the rest of the course. My husband walked with me and showered me with accolades.  When we came out of the woods, we faced a mountain, or actually mountains of sand. I still didn't know if I could finish, but I was willing to try. Little by little, obstacle by obstacle, I marched on and the haze of disappointment faded, the 
chill disappeared and the end was clearly in sight.  Crossing the finish line was made sweeter by the decision I made at the precipice of the lake.  Much like every other thing in life, most of the battle was in my mind. I may have fallen from the cable, but I didn't fall out of the race. More importantly, I conquered a hurdle of self-imposed limitations, stepped out of my comfort zone and lived to blog about it. That is a very big deal to me! Warrior on Mudders. 

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