Talk about a rag tag bunch of women! We ranged in age from early 20’s to mid-50’s. Nurses. Teachers. Office workers. Stay-at-home-moms. Retirees. Some were related to each other. Others were life-long friends. Still others were total strangers. Most of us hadn’t seen the inside of a gym in longer than we cared to admit. All of us (except 1) mothers.
Who were we? We were the TOUGH MOTHERS!! And why did we come together? Because we were doing the 5K Foam Fest – a 5 Km “run” with obstacles that has one purpose: HAVE FUN!!
This past Saturday this group of women gathered at the base of a mountain to embark on a journey. We were decked out in our team tank tops, fun hot pink accessories and filled with a TON of enthusiasm! What we lacked in terms of physical fitness we made up for with tons of heart and excitement! We were determined to enjoy ourselves or die trying!
It took our group of 13 women 2 hours to complete the 5 Km course. The course took us up some big hills – LONG, STEEP, UNENDING hills! – and down again. Through mud so deep we sank nearly to our hips (I will never forget the sucking sound we heard at one point as 1 pulled herself out!). We encountered rope spider webs, walls, slippy slides, foam pits, rope climbs, death drops, water pits, mud….Did I mention the mud???!!
We started out as strangers but it wasn’t long until we were each other’s greatest support. Some of us were not so sure about getting dirty. Others were afraid of heights. One was diabetic (still is…:P). Some were feeling depleted in the self-esteem department. Others just needed a helping hand and an encouraging word. I think it’s safe to say that those 2 hours changed all of us.
For myself, this race was a way for me to say “Don’t count me out!” “I can do anything I put my mind to.” “Life, and the ability to have fun, doesn’t end just because you have kids or turn 40.” “I AM STILL HERE even if I don’t look or feel like me these days.” It was a way
to face some of my own fears and remind myself that, even though I have lost a little of who I am in the last couple of years, I’m still there. I am still Bad Ass. 😉
Looking back, I can’t help but see the correlation between the experiences on that race and life. Life comes with mountains and valleys. It comes with obstacles we need to overcome, face down, get through. It comes with moments of wonder – like when we all stood on that path, looking down the mountain at 3 young fox playing in the grass with their mom – and moments of despair (like when I realized that there was yet ONE MORE HILL to climb when I was so done with climbing). It comes with moments of power and moments of paralzying fear. We have times in our lives when we are strong and fit, able to meet the obstacles before us with confidence, not hesitating for a moment and cheering on those around us. There are other times when we need help, when the hills are becoming more than we can do on our own, when the obstacles are too high, too scary, when we need the help and encouragement from others around us.
It was a really beautiful experience to do this race with these women and experience the help, the encouragement, the support, the carrying of each other’s burdens. We were in this together. “NO MOTHER LEFT BEHIND” was our motto. When we had to go around an obstacle for whatever reason there was never any judgement. We helped each other over, under and through each obstacle. And we had great fun in the process.
I’m taking lessons from this into my every day. I need to take more risks (I did the Death Drop slide and lived to tell the tale!!). I need to get into the gym! I need to stop worrying about what others think. I need to remember that I have a great tribe of women around me willing and able to support and encourage me if I will allow them to (means letting them know when I need it). I need to remember that my tribe also needs me to support and encourage THEM when I can see they need it, without having to be asked. I need to remember that often the worst that can happen is that I don’t try. But most of all I need to remember that without others involved and included in this journey I call “my life”, I cannot and will not succeed. If not for the encouragement of the team, I would have quit on that course – those hills were almost more than I could manage. But because of them, I kept going – I couldn’t let them down and they were cheering me on. Life is just like that.
Tough Mothers. Foam Fest. One of those moments in life that I will NEVER forget.
Thanks, Ladies, for a weekend to remember.