1. Don’t ignore the obvious.
Seriously, this sounds like it should be, well, obvious, but it so wasn’t for me. Mount Washington Alpine Resort. Mount – meaning mountain (should’ve been my first inclination that there might, just might, be an incline). Alpine – just in case I missed the “Mount” in the location name. Seemingly redundant but apparently I missed both… 1200ft of elevation gain in the first 3km and sucking wind from the oxygen difference between my sea level training and the race course and this was hammered home. Lesson learned. Next…
2. My negative committee that resides in my head CAN be silenced, and fairly easily actually. A mountain and mud and fatigue are all that are required. Who would’ve thought.
3. Self doubt isn’t as strong as self confidence.
When I dropped a laptop on my foot less than 12 hours before aforementioned race, breaking a toe, bruising my foot and leaving it bleeding, it wasn’t my self doubt that was the first voice in my head. It was the voice that said loud and clear “no big deal, you got this. we’ll just do it with a broken toe, no big deal. now get some ice. and tape.” This was a surprise to me, a welcome surprise.
4. “Team” isn’t a four lettered word.
Okay, well, actually, it is. But that’s not what I mean. I signed up as a solo race competitor for a race that is well known as a TEAM event. Why? Because I am superwoman. Not really, but I act like it sometimes. Thinking I can do everything alone and that I don’t need help. Ever. Simple lesson, I am wrong. I cannot, really cannot, boost my own ass over a 10 ft vertical wall that has no hand holds. I needed someone to help. Which brings me to…
5. Accepting help is not admitting weakness.
Ooh, tough one for me and I’m still cringing when I type this to be honest. At a point near the end of the race, on an obstacle of climbing over bales of hay, a Team member (me and another solo racer were “adopted”) offered me a hand. The first words out of my mouth were “no, I’m okay” followed quickly by “yes, thanks” when I realized I didn’t have to do it alone. Sniffle, tears…
6. Mind over matter really works.
I was shocked when, thinking back, I realized that not once – at all – did I ever say to myself “I can’t”. The internal mantra wasn’t self defeating, it was empowering. The whole time. It was physically one of the most demanding things I’ve ever done. But mentally and emotionally – I was going to do this, no matter what. And that was what carried me through, not my limping run on injuries and dead tired arms. It was will and spirit.
7. Stop to smell the roses.
Halfway up the initial climb; panting and silent, heads down and just going and one of my adopted Team mates says loudly “Just look at that view”. We all stop and steady ourselves… breath coming in and out hard… swaying slightly as we balance on the steep incline on loose rocks and dirt… and we look. And it’s beautiful. An expanse of clouds and mountain and a little lake (which we later pulled ourselves across on ropes, we didn’t know that then though). A moment of peace and quiet and admiration for where we were and just how amazing this experience was (and how flipping high up we were!). Another racer went blazing past us with a quip that it was a race and what were we doing… his loss. He may have finished ahead of us but we got that moment.
8. Laughter makes everything easier – or at least more tolerable.
During said ascent and one of the adorably perky Team mates suddenly breaks into the Lego song “Everything is Awesome!”. A moment of giggles and silly exactly when it was most needed. I’ll always be thankful that I can find laughter.
9.Mud is fluid and can get in places it should never be.
This is self explanatory and ‘nuff said, eeeeew.
10. I can do anything.
I just needed a reminder, and this was it.
On to the next challenge now. With giggles and knowledge that nothing is out of reach. And that a race course with the word “Mount” in it’s location WILL have hills. 🙂