We all have challenges in our lives and we all face obstacles that jump in our way.
For me personally, I was born with congenital Coloboma which resulted in low vision and an abnormal appearance to my right eye. I persevered through countless barriers and feelings of inadequacy. I learned that the feeling of overcoming a challenge can give you a euphoric high. I’ve discovered that we should pick our battles and focus on winning. We don’t have to fight them all at once; one at a time will get you closer to winning the war. On this particular day, my battle was The Barbarian Challenge, a grueling physical test of body and mind against obstacles at every turn.
As I opened my eyes on the morning of the “battle” I felt a tinge of intimidation or second thoughts.
I am, after all a fifty-one year old grandmother who is not in top physical shape. I consider myself average for my age and I have only been training for this obstacle course for two months. This will be my first experience with any type of athletic competition. My goal was to finish with pride, not to beat any timeframe.
I ate a bagel and a banana about an hour before we started (I googled it beforehand to see what we should eat.) As my daughter and I watched some of the other participants come across the finish line from an earlier heat, they were covered in mud and looking pretty exhausted. I wondered if I could do this, I had succeeded in losing forty pounds during the past year and this was a pact my daughter and I had made to keep us on track for her upcoming wedding. As our ten o clock start time approached we were branded with our wristbands, time chips around our ankles and numbers written on our arms. It was an atmosphere filled with camaraderie and anticipation. We signed the waiver forms releasing the sponsors of any liability if we got hurt.
Two hundred runners were corralled into a gated area as the minutes counted down to race time. As we mingled and talked to others in our horde I met a few other first timers, I was beginning to get some of my confidence back. We took the barbarian oath and listened to some final instructions before heading out into the 4.3 mile course through the hills of Gadsden, Alabama.