Yesterday, I did something I would never have done 7 months ago – I competed in a Fitness Competition Challenege for Healthy Huntsville 2012.
When I say I never would have done this, I mean never. This involved running in front of others, being timed, carrying things, going under a net, swimming for speed… these are things I did not do… scratch that, avoided, 7 months ago. And now.. it was a goal? Woah.
Sabrina, the friend of mine who did the Special K Challenge with me, joined for the competition. We knew little before starting, including where to go during the course and what would happen. We were in two different heats, one right after the other, but if I was bad enough, I would have her show up behind me!
So, we woke up early, arrived at the Botanical Gardens and the GreenU Festival and saw the other athletes. My brain kicked into competition mode and sized myself up against others. More on this negative mentality later…
My heat was made up of runners who were faster than me, as we kicked off, most sprinted away and I hung with a group of 5 or so for a few, but soon I was in the back. This pushed me to keep to a pace I was unfamiliar with - fast.
I ran for about 1/3 of a mile when I arrived at some logs. I had to pick up a log and carry it about 100m to a drop off location at the woods.
Luckily, there were volunteers leading the way, and my group in front of me was fading. The woods had trails to follow where I jumped over logs and at least 15 benches I had to put one leg at a time over. At one point, I had to crawl on my stomach under a net.
All I know is even though I was running through the woods, I lost the group, but emerged to find them doing burpee broad jumps and lunges.
I felt relief to find my group, but soon realized why… The volunteers were being strict about on rules. More than likely rules by the sponsor, CrossFit. Burpees had to have my chest touch the ground and lunges required my knee to touch the ground. Are you kidding me?! I was exhausted! No wonder my group was still here.
I somehow managed to fight my way through this part (I know some grunts came out of me during this) and even catch up to one of my group members. After the lunges, there was a 30m or so stint where I walked to the next station, this is the only time I walked in the entire race.
As I approached the next part, (which was also a water station), my group member stopped for water and I was told to either get water or grab a log. There were only two logs… They were both huge, but one was slightly less. So, I bypassed water and my group member, to take the lighter log and took off running down a small cement walkway around the front of a lake I would soon be swimming in.
This is where I also passed another team member and told her encouraging words because she was talking negatively to herself and I knew those negative thoughts too, as they were in my mind.
After I passed her, I wanted to start walking, but two volunteers started yelling, “Go Dana! You’re almost there!” I looked up and saw two of my students from UAH! Their motivation at just that moment was the only thing keeping me running. This didn’t stop me from asking them if I could drop my enormous log yet, to which they laughed and said almost.
Almost turned out to be a lot farther than I thought. I had to run, what felt like, forever, to drop off the log, then take off my shoes and jump into the lake. I could touch the bottom for a long time at first, but eventually my short-ness overcame and I had to swim.
I learned a lot about myself during the race, and one thing I learned is I am bad at swimming. This was hard! I got tired really fast and it slowed my time down. I am not sure how far it was, but it seemed really far, even when I wasn’t swimming.
Eventually, I finished and had a short 20m dash to the finish line.
I finished in 21:16 and Sabrina in 22:04. It felt so good to have accomplished the competition. To have actually raced and finished, no matter the time.
But my “competition” mindset was going. Not that this is bad entirely, but the race itself was built around it, giving out awards for the fastest times. Sabrina and I started talking about who we had passed in our heat and who passed us, etc.
Competition is good to an extent, as it can fuel me to push myself to get in the front of a gym class, try harder with my form, or run that extra lap. But, as I talked to someone I met at the race, she said, “I was competing with myself”, which reminded me to switch my mind set. I needed to let myself know the true competition here was me.
So Dana, where did you pass yourself? Well, I ran the whole time, except right after the lunges. I didn’t quit, stop, or give up. I even carried a huge log. I kept going even when my group surpassed me. I supported my other group members. And, I am not really sore the today.
So, Dana, where could you push yourself next time? I need to work on running on different inclines, not just the track. I walked after the lunges, I could have run there. I need to improve my swimming.
Overall, I was really proud of us and had a great time. During the Awards Ceremony (video) after the show, the Healthy Huntsville team decided to “spotlight” me on stage for a moment before the winners, which was really nice of them! I was really touched. They gave me gift and a “Certificate of Appreciation for Inspiring the Citizens of Huntsville to Live Healthier, Happier Lives” for recognizing my story, of which they wrote about, and my blog.
It was definitely an honor to be recognized with some of the truly fittest and healthiest people in Huntsville at the ceremony and I was very grateful. Thank you Healthy Huntsville!