Friday, October 26, 2012

Aida's Art Part 3: Snakes!!!

All week Aida has been drawing snakes! So much creativity! I love how each day she woke up in the morning and headed to her art table and drew a snake. And, then she would come home from school with more drawings of snakes. She inspires me in so many ways! Enjoy!

"Fairy Snake"

"Chinese Snake"

"Hiking Snakes with hiking poles in their hands"

"Running snake with an Ipod"

"Hiking Snakes with Backpacks" 

"Sleeping Snake with slippers"

"Volleyball Ball Snake"

"Football Snake"

"African Snake with a pretty dress"

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Death Race 2013: Content With Just Being Inspired or Perhaps Inspire Others?

Since the Spartan Beast race a couple weeks ago, I have been obsessing about the Death Race. As I was racing along that day, I witnessed Team Death Racers carrying 70 pound sandbags as they completed the 14+ mile/35 obstacle course and I thought, "I want to be doing that." I volunteered for the Summer Death Race this year for two days so I know what challenges can be given to the racers. It was so intense to watch that I cried in my car at the end of the day.

Why am I thinking I want to do this type of event? I will be abused physically and mentally by the challenges that race directors Andy Weinberg, Joe Desena and Jack Cary will concoct for us. Lift a 50 pound rock up and down for 7 hours? Hundreds of burpees? Chop woods for hours? Carry a kayak for 20+ miles through one of the hardest trails in Vermont? Carry a bike frame throughout the entire course and never use it? Roll on your side for 3/4 of a mile and stir cow intestine guts as you pass by the bucket (puke much?)?

My expectations for this race: I have no idea. I am very much a realist and since 10% of people finish this race and 95-99% of the participants are in top shape and probably the fittest people in the damn world, I am going to put it out there and say that I will most likley be in that 90% who don't finish. But, that is ok!!! I am not being a pessimist! I want to see how far I will go. How many times will Andy, Joe and Jack make me go up Joe's Mountain with cement bags? Or actually carry someone? Or make me swim in the fucking cold river on a rainy, raw June day? Or, it could possibly be 90 degrees. There is so much unknown to this event that I don't even want to try to predict what may be thrown at me. I am entering this race with an open heart and open mind. If I quit, I quit. Maybe it will be 18 hours, maybe 24 hours, maybe 40+. Or, maybe I will finish this damn thing! I JUST DON'T KNOW and that is the way it will be. I have no pressure from anyone to do this race. It is the race against me. I want to see how far I will push myself. I am fascinated by the human mind and how it can convince the body to keep going. Do I have that will inside of me, too?

All I know is that I pulled strength from within when I my daughter died 7 years ago. This is how it went down. Life was good. I was one day away from my due date. I woke up in the middle of the night any my water broke. Yay, right! We had been waiting 9 months for this! Wrong...the water was full of meconium. We went to the birthing center and we sat there and listened to my daughter's heart rate decrease as she was inside my belly. I could do nothing. We eventually lost the heart beat. I was wheeled to the OR, put under general anesthesia, and woke up to the pediatrician crying over me telling me she that had died from an umbilical cord accident. I was tripping on morphine, trying to figure out what the fuck was happening to us over the next 4 days, arranging for her cremation, healing from an emergency Cesarean section, and having to eventually walk out of that birthing center without a child. I still can't believe that happened and I was able to navigate my way through it all. The actual physical pain of my hands aching was surreal and creepy. My body was literally aching to hold that child and was screaming out.

I guess telling that story proves that we have it in us to keep on moving no matter how shitty something is. I guess it all comes down to how you want to face it.

I want to test myself at this race, see what I am capable of on my own terms this time. If life has kicked you in the head before, why not try it on your terms and see what happens. When there is a choice to quit, do you take it or keep moving?

Things that I am going to do in preparation these next 7 months:

1. Learn how to use and ax!!! Luckily, my husband, Seth works for the US Forest Service as a trail guy (best job in the world). There has to be a petite size ax for small french women out there, right? We will have all our wood delivered to us next spring unsplit and proceed to split it all myself. I also am fortunate enough to live next door to someone who processes firewood for a living so I can talk to him and see if he will let me chop wood for him while I sit by and watch him use a wood splitter :)

2. Hire Margaret Schlachter to get my ass in shape. I need to lose some weight, get stronger and get faster. I  am ready to step it up a notch and Margaret knows how to do that. We participated in 3 races together this year; Peaks Ultra 32 miler, Moosalamoo 15 miler, Spartan Beast/Ultra Beast. She has seen me finish all three, knows how fast I am, my build, etc. She knows Vermont mountains and terrain so it seems like a perfect fit for her to show me the ropes.

3. Spend lots of time hiking Joe's Mountain with heavy weight.

4. Spend lots of time hiking Mt. Hunger in my back yard with heavy weight.

5. Sleep deprivation training. Hmmmm.....I wonder if this will count....I spent the first 3 weeks of Aida's newborn life tripping balls from lack of sleep. I will never forget that. And, I was healing from my second cesarean section and grieving the loss of my first child like a son of a bitch at the same time. That was hell. I was exhausted.

6. Hiking in the dark. I will have to get out during the night and work on this. I have never really hiked in the dark in all the millions of miles I have backpacked.

7. Mental game. This is where you can't prepare yourself. I get that. It is going to hit like a ton of bricks and fuck with me. Everyone will be in the same boat. I wonder if people help each other? I guess at some point it is just you and the game.

So, here it is. I am signed up and ready to take it all on.

And, at the race, every time Andy asks me if I want to quit, I will hug him. Kill him with kindness, yes? Watch out, Andy! It will get annoying!

Time to make a sandbag and get training.....
Sorry for all the swears in this post. It is the fucking Death Race, people!! It makes me want to swear!