Making a deal with the Devil can be tempting, particularly when we are desperate, but such deals never seem to work out as intended. I learned this the hard way recently.
You see, the Devil (my dear friend Andy Salatnay) offered me, in exchange for my athletic soul, that when I reached a certain health and fitness goal, he would pick out an activity to reward me. A fun treat we could do together. In my mind I am thinking a nice meal or a concert. You know something relaxing AND fun.
Needless to say, the Devil is a tricky bastard and I soon learned that the “treat” was something called the Warrior Dash – a mud run in Hollister. After Googling it I was sure he was joking. The Warrior Dash is a freaking 5K run through mud with massive obstacles thrown in because just running in the mud for miles isn’t hard enough by itself.
“Surely he was joking,” I thought, and turned my mind back to the idea of a nice big bowl of pasta instead. Then, in August, Andy cashed in on his twisted deal and registered us for the Dash and the words “why, why, why” that had been long absent suddenly returned as he outlined my training plan.
“The plan,” Andy explained, was meant to build on what I had accomplished so far and add missing elements like grace, coordination, and the athletic ability I would need to overcome the obstacles we would face. Training consisted of weekly bleacher running at HSU, daily jaunts to the playground working on the poles and monkey bars, trail running, sprints and long slow distance running.
My legs took on a fabulous new shade of black, blue and purple. My medicine chest soon filled with things I haven’t needed since my son was young like peroxide, super size tubes of Neosporin, Bactine and band-aids. I’m thankful that my tetanus shot was up to date. I was going to get more coordinated or literally die from blood loss.
In case you missed it, rewind back a moment to the bit about the Monkey Bars. A grown woman sliding down poles, swinging across the monkey bars and running across bouncy tires isn’t something you see all the time.
Thankfully, it was getting dark earlier, so I had some cover, plus the little kids were at home. The occasional adult would notice from time to time as they walked by. I’m sure they thought we were either drunk or stoned but none of them ever called the cops.
Distance running is hard. I have been biking regularly so I thought I would be more up for it. My slow jog slowly became a walg (walking and jogging) and my attempt to run turned into a jun (jog and run).
After almost two months of training, the Devil felt I was ready though I wasn’t sure (he’s a tricky bastard after all). In a sad attempt to cheer me up he said that I’ve lost enough weight that if I had trouble climbing up the “wall” he’d simply THROW me over.
Crap... the wall. With all of the training I was no longer worried about making it through the race but the wall still scared the hell out of me. I was not worried so much about climbing it but rather falling off. Mostly I was concerned about the landing. 20 feet is a long way to drop and apart from my own safety I worried about the poor schmuck I might land on.
We worked on my mental training which consisted of trusting Andy and knowing that he would never let anything really bad happen to me. I’ve trusted him to this point and he hasn’t let me down but, then again, there has never been 20-foot wall to climb or fire to jump over!
I began obsessing about the Dash. I spent my evenings researching how people have been hurt or killed from falls off the wall. I knew what Humpty Dumpty would have felt like had he seen it coming. At the same time it was exciting.
Our gym friends, Kathryn and Anthony, decided that it’d be fun to do the Dash too. They are real runners and at first I thought they’d be in it to win but they said they just wanted to hang out with us and have some fun. Then Anthony showed me a video camera that attached to his head, and explained that IT would be pointing at me. The fun, it turns out, will be at my expense. Fine, at least we might make some money on YouTube, maybe even bring in some pledges for my AIDS ride.
Part II next week... Dashing with the Devil!
Debi Farber Bush is lean but not mean.