The fairgrounds were packed with hundreds of people, mostly women but some kids, dudes, and even dogs. (Note to self: bring the dogs!) One of the earlier waves were getting ready to start. The crowd counted down and the ladies were off! A flurry of bright colors, tutus, kilts, camo, and glitter took off for the initial run before the first obstacle.
A number of vendor tents were set up all along the main part of the fairgrounds. It was a bit tricky to find the bib pickup (there are no obvious signs) so I asked a girl in a highlighter yellow tank and tutu where it was. We headed over to the big tents on the opposite side of the course, spotting our team (team MadWomen) as we approached. Packet pickup, it turns out, is an easy place to meet. Everybody was busy putting on their numbers and the ladies were all buzzing with excitement. Apparently the shirts caused a stir and one woman begged to join our team next year. lol
We all got situated and introduced ourselves. This was a mixed group, some friends from work, some from Pug Rescue, some friends of friends. I gave a rousing 2 minute peptalk.
"The object of the game is to HAVE FUN. If you feel the need to run ahead like a gazelle, DO IT. If you are a slow runner like me, go SLOW. If you make it in first, please stick around to cheer us when we make it to the finish!"
With that, we circled together, put our hands in and on three, we yelled "MADWOMEN!" I seriously had chills!
Somehow we ended up the first row at the starting line for our wave. Depeche Mode was blaring on the speakers. When the countdown ended, we all took off in a group. I knew that the slower of us (two of my best gal pals along with me) would splinter off from the pack (aka the gazelles).
|Totally unafraid to show our enthusiasm.|
I've tried to remember what the obstacles were in order:
- Exercise balls/tires (step through tires with hanging exercise balls to trip you up)
- Ropes obstacle (criss-crossed ropes that you had to navigate through by crouching or crawling)
- Hay bales (climb over)
- Tires (climb over)
- Wooden walls (vertical climb)
- Cargo net (vertical climb)
- Parallel bars with canvas straps (step on the straps and hold yourself up as you go across the parallel bars)
- Steep hill (climb)
- Monkey bars
- Teeter Totter
|Whee! This is still easy and I'm not tired yet!|
|The gazelles jumping over the hay bales.|
Many of the obstacles were totally doable for me. The hardest obstacle for me was the Wooden Walls. There was an 'easier' and 'harder' version of the wall. The harder version was taller, but since I don't have terribly long limbs, I chose the easier version. It took me two tries to figure out just how to get myself up and over, but I was able to throw my arm over the wall and use the leverage to pull myself to a straddle, then completely over the thing.
The trickiest obstacle was the parallel bars with the straps. The trick was to learn forward and use your upper body and core to balance. At some points, the straps were wider apart and if you weren't careful you could get stuck or fall off. I was somehow able to do it (YAY CORE MUSCLES AND UPPER BODY STRENGTH!).
My favorite obstacle was the Cargo Net. When we arrived, a large, short woman who wasn't with her group was attempting to climb. You could tell it was super hard for her, she wasn't sure at all if she could do it, but her determination was fueled by all of us bombarding her with positive vibes. "You're doing it mama! Keep going! Almost there!" It was the most inspirational thing to experience so many women pouring their support into helping her over that net. I think every one of us thought, that woman could be me.
When it came to my turn, I climbed that sucker like a monkey on a tree. Who knew? I was also super impressed that my friend, who is really afraid of heights, just went for it. She didn't look the whole time but she did it like a champ.
I have to say that throughout this ordeal, I started to feel worse and worse. By mile marker 2, I felt really, really hot and really queasy. I had to sit out for a good chunk of time and I actually threw up. There was nothing in my system but caffeine that morning and some water. I do think chugging down water at the water station made me feel sick, and it wasn't until well after I tossed my cookies that I felt ok. My two pals stuck with me the whole time (I love these ladies, they have my back!). Not to mention that a bunch of strangers asked if I needed help as they were passing. Everybody was tremendously supportive.
After that episode, I still finished the rest of the course. The parallel bars, the steep hill climb, monkey bars and finally the teeter totter were all after the mile 2 marker. I had to walk slowly and was really aware of how dry my mouth was, but I could still do the obstacles.
We cheered our last teammate as she went over the teeter totter, then the three of us held hands, our teammates yelling and cheering, as we ran across the finish line.
Two IVs of fluids and 5 hours later, I was able to go home.
Maybe it was the sheer amount of pheromones and estrogen swirling about the air, maybe it was the fact that the very same morning I woke up to Aunt Flo, or maybe it was Maybelline... But I am still moved by what a special day it was for all of us. I've never had so much fun doing something physical like that in my life, let alone on a team. For someone like me, who has never really done a team sport apart from soccer one year when I was 10, it was transformative. Despite my trip to the ER, I had the best day. And I can't wait to do it again next year. Properly hydrated of course. :)
|Dude, if I can do this, anybody can do this. :)|
Special thanks to Kevin, Val's hubby and fantastic photographer. View the full set of our Diva Dash adventure photos here.