Yet another #YearOfNoFear goal ticked off the list this weekend: tackling an obstacle course race.
The race? Ruckus Boston.
Let me just start out by saying you would think with all the running, swimming, lifting, and prepping for a triathlon AND a marathon that I would not have been worried at all about this 2-mile windy loop of mud, barricades, walls, cargo nets, and more.
But I was worried. Not that that I couldn't make it: But that I would actually, legitimately hurt myself (in case you're wondering, I didn't get hurt other than a few bruises a short girl would normally get hurling herself over giant shipping containers).
Plus, I had an awesome team of people with me who were seasoned pros when it came to the Ruckus (is Ruckusing a word?).
I guess now I get the appeal of these wacky events. Not only do you feel slightly hardcore every time you not only make it over an obstacle, but even more so when you pass someone while doing so. And, when your entire group is cheering you on and you're helping each other you realize that's what it is all about.
So, the Ruckus was awesome. The obstacles were hard (but not completely ridiculous). But the best part, by far, was my killer group of mates. First you should know that I knew only two of the people I was meeting up and doing the Ruckus with on Sunday: Beth (a machine of a personal trainer and awesome friend) and Mike: a friend of mine via another friend. Everyone else didn't know me and I didn't know them, but I learned right away that not only were they all really strong people physically, but that they were also just good, decent people who weren't going to leave the newbie behind.
Here's what I took away from each person in my group:
Stacey: (far right in the bottom photo) Stacey was the first person I was introduced to in the group. I knew I'd like her right away when I spied her headband that simply said "I love running. I hate running. I love running. I hate running." Yup. Pretty much sums up how any runner feels at one time or another. I found out I'll see her at the corporate challenge (no offense girl, but I hope my Globe team beats your team!) and that she's one tough chick.
Mike: (the one in the sunglasses in the photo). I know Mike through another friend of mine. He's one of the best storytellers I know and just has this knack to immediately put anyone at ease. Mike is like that clutch player who just knows the right thing to say at the right time: Plus, his comments about various wacky outfits other participants were wearing kept me laughing and distracted to the point that I didn't think about my nerves. Also, I'm pretty sure he was the one in our group most looking forward to the mud pits.
Courtney: (the redhead of the group). Courtney is one of the sweetest people I think I've met and quickly became my girl at the top of one of the first obstacles when she and I wound up preparing to jump off of the top of a giant shipping container. Perched on the edge we both kind of looked at each other and I said something like "oh, that's a bit higher than the last one." Courtney simply said "Yeah. On 3 let's go." And with that we both took a giant leap down. Talk about no fear. That first leap was the hardest, and I couldn't have made it without Courtney.
Cristiana: (in the orange tank) This girl is made of steel. I'm convinced of it. She's fit, is funny as heck, and every time I saw her go over an obstacle she made it look easy. Jump some ridiculous height to get to the top of a cargo box? This girl nailed it. Hoist herself up and over cargo netting? She looked like freaking Spiderman. She and her fiance, Jeff, were two of the toughest people. But they, too, were kind and high-fiving me like we'd known each other forever.
Jeff (in the navy blue) Thank god for Jeff (and also, poor Jeff!!) Jeff split off from us and did the longer course -- but not before helping us through the first 4 obstacles. He graciously lent us his knees for a boost to climb over things (because, you know, some of us are only five feet tall and I don't care how high I can jump I couldn't reach some of those obstacles without an assist.) Not just that, he also lent OTHER people a hand. After getting our entire group to the top of one obstacle, he let two other people use him for a boost before climbing up himself. Strong? Check. Tough? Check. Chivalrous? You bet. (He's a keeper, Cristiana)
And finally, Beth: Our fearless leader and the blonde in pink above. This woman is a machine. For real. One of the last obstacles included running up a completely flat, slippery, and very steep incline. After seeing several people try to go over this obstacle and bail Beth looked over at me and just said "I'm going to run it." Next thing you know this petite woman is off like a shot and scrambling up and over like it's no big deal. Several very large and very built dudes behind me simply said "did you see that?" Yup. That's Beth. As a trainer, Beth can motivate anyone to do anything because 99 percent of the time she's doing whatever exercise she wants you to do a billion times WITH you. She knew we'd all finish and what we were all capable of. And you know what, she was right.
The bonus? My boy Adam 12 (of RadioBDC and Project Adam fame) was on the top of the very last obstacle emceeing. As my group came to the finish, I scrambled just a little bit faster up the last net to get to 12. The icing on the cake? Giving a very clean 12 a very VERY muddy hug before flying down a giant slide to the finish.
Did I have fun? You bet. But once again, for me, it was less about the obstacles and more about the people. My new friends are totally hardcore. My final time thanks to my new friends: 32:46.