For most of my life there has been a huge competitor in my shadows. When new opportunities arose, she was there to tell me why I couldn’t participate. When life presented me with challenges, she was there to tell me not to try because I would fail . Whenever things went wrong, she was there to tell me it was my fault. Without even realizing she was present, I let her control my life and win every time!
Last October my husband ran his first obstacle race (Mudstash at Perfect North Slopes). My competitor told me that I was too fat and too out of shape to even attempt such a feat. She filled me with an enormous amount of fear. Fear of failure. Fear of injury. Fear of ridicule. I wanted to support my husband so I went, took pictures and cheered him on. But something began to happen to me the morning of that race…
As I drove my hubby to the race (very early in the morning), jealousy began to bubble inside of me. I wanted to get out there and run that race beside my husband! My competitor fed on that jealousy! I began beating myself up for letting myself get into such a bad condition. I was angry with myself for letting my health decline. All this was bubbling inside me but I said nothing, this was my husband’s day.
As I watched my husband begin the race, I cheered proudly! Once out of view, I began focusing on the other racers as they approached the obstacles in my line of vision. One of those obstacles was the slip and slide. You must understand that when I was a little girl, the slip and slide was a BIG thing but it was also something I was never able to do because of my weight. Thus my fascination with this obstacle! It looked like so much fun!
I also began to notice the other racers. There were men and women of all ages! Most runners were pretty fit but there were heavy runners too. There were even people walking the course! I guess I imagined every racer would be a fit soldier type person but I was largely mistaken. Then I saw him. My husband was approaching the finish line but he was not alone. There were two women that periodically ran with him and the three of them helped each other through the obstacles. I made a decision right then and there! I later found out that these ladies were managers at the local Anytime Fitness and we have since become friends. 😀
My husband finished covered in mud from head to toe. It looked like he had so much fun acting like a kid! I went to get his shower bag. As I returned I found him resting on a grassy slope near the showers. I looked him straight in the eyes, waving my finger and told him my decision. “You will never do that alone again! I was afraid but I won’t let that fear beat me again!” He jumped up and said they are running races all day! I will run it a second time if you will do it today.
Immediately I started with the excuses (he had an immediate answer). “I don’t have a change of clothes.” (We will go buy you some.) “I have my good shoes on.” (We will get a second pair.) “We don’t have enough time.” (We have about 4 hours, plenty of time to pull it together). I am sure I came up with even more excuses but with each one he had a solution. So, we registered and I did my first ever obstacle course race! I had a MUDDY BLAST! I was unable to do all the obstacles but I surprised myself by trying all of them except the monkey bars and completing most of them with success. I have since completed a Warrior Dash, 3 Spartan sprints, 2 additional Mudstashes and several 5ks. I am hooked!
Who is my biggest competitor? Simply stated, she is myself. She is the negative voice that hides deep within me. The good news is on the morning of that first OCR, the positive Kathy began to emerge. As this year has passed, positive Kathy has emerged stronger and louder and much more often. Positive Kathy does not win every time yet but she is much louder and much stronger than she has ever been. Soon and very soon, that competitor inside will be completely silenced! This day has led to my new life motto:
Never Let Fear Stop You!
“Mike’s Muddy Spartan Princess”