Tag Archives: adventure

Topsy Turvy

I’m sitting here drinking my shake and shaking my head at what had transpired in the past four hours.

A lot can happen in four hours.

My morning was a quiet one. I had a dentist appointment, and my teeth are feeling very happy with a nice cleaning I had just gotten. I went home with a mission to tackle a laundry load of things to do– Including Laundry.

I live on the third floor of our apartment, and I have to do my laundry in a building on the ground level. So I hauled a bag of my daughter’s clothes onto my back and carried the soap and keys in my free hand. The bag was heavy, so I knew I was getting a workout just by walking down the stairs with all that I was carrying. I was able to get two loads in the amount of clothes my daughter had, and I went back upstairs to tackle the kitchen.

One of the chores of the kitchen is to take the recyclables out to the recycling bin. I hauled my big bin of plastics and glass bottles down the stairs with my keys and another bag of bottles in my hand. I dump all of it out of my bin into the large bin and threw the bag in as well.

When I started walking back, I got that nagging feeling that I was missing something. I looked down in my hands and realized that I was just carrying my recycling bin. I began to question myself if I had my keys with me or not. I walked back up to my third floor apartment and looked around to find that my keys were no where around. I walked back down to the bin, which I should mention is clear across the apartment parking lot, and tried to look in to find my keys. I couldn’t see them, but I had this strong feeling they were in there. I walked back thinking of how I could move things around at the bottom of the huge bin that was 4 feet deep, and I had no intention of climbing in. I remembered that my son had a couple of sticks he had saved to make some hiking staffs with.

I quickly climbed up and grabbed the sticks, and I quickly walked back across the parking lot to the recycling bin. I lifted the yellow lid, which was pretty heavy, and began moving bottles and bags away from the bottom, and when I did, I saw my lanyard with my keys laying there.

As I began trying to fish them out with the stick in my hand, I heard a telltale sound of a diesel engine rumbling right near me. I glanced up to see the garbage truck driving by and slowly situating itself to pick up the very bin I was fishing in! I wiggled my stick a little in hopes of making the lanyard move into an opportune loop for me to slide the stick into. It worked! I was able to pull my keys out quickly, and as I did, I let the bright yellow lid slam down onto the blue metal bin. I even threw the sticks into the wooded area. There was no way I was going to let my son use with some sticks I had used in the garbage bin! I see the driver of the truck give me a questionable facial expression and a tentative thumbs up.  I gave him a hearty thumbs up and a relieved nod. The bin was all his. He smiled and waved as I turned to walk away.

The first thought in my head was, “Oh man. If I had waited five more minutes in looking for my keys, I would really be in a mess!”

As I made my way up the stairs, with sweat beading my forehead, I tapped my Fitbit bracelet to see how many steps I had gotten through that whole ordeal. Nothing. I groaned. What a time for the battery to die on me!

I put the Fitbit onto it’s charger and ran down to check on my laundry, which was all done by this time, and I carried a very heavy bag of warm clothes up to my apartment to fold them there. “I have to be at my 10,000 steps by now,” I thought.

I put the clothes aside to take care of later and decide to vacuum. I was just about done with the dining area (which is a ridiculous place to have carpet, by the way) when my vacuum sputters to a stop. I figured it must need to be emptied, and so I did that in hopes of getting it to work again. I put it all back together and pushed the power button. Nothing. I had just gotten this vacuum last Fall!


Yeah… And now I’ve got to go get my kids.

Hopefully the rest of the day will be better… Happy Friday, y’all!


Tough Mudder in my Eyes (edited)

Edited: A friend asked me to write more about my team, and now I’ve added that to my story. I’ve excluded names to protect their identity, just in case they don’t want to be known. Thanks!

I woke up with apprehension, knowing this was the day I would face the unknown. I girded myself with courage, knowing I was embarking on a crazy adventure…

…That wasn’t even half the truth.

The team was made up of three tall and strong men and two small women, including myself. I was little, though the other woman was smaller than me!

Where and who did they come from, you may ask?

A just question. As a new resident in Denver, I was still developing friendships as I went. I knew it would take a while before friendships would grow into something stronger, since I was still considered a stranger to these parts. It was in the church I had come to love in the first year residing here, as it was the only church who eagerly met my needs when I asked. I am deaf and needed an interpreter, and to find a church with one was like looking for a needle in a haystack! It was fortunate that I had found one here. It was also here I saw a couple wearing Tough Mudder shirts, and I greeted them, congratulating them on completing it. As I talked to the woman, I told her how I have always wanted to do a Tough Mudder, but just didn’t know anyone who knew about it and would do it with me. Her eyes lit up and said, “You could join us next year! We are going to do it again, too!” She talked to me about wanting to form a team, and I told her I was really interested.

I almost didn’t make it to the Tough Mudder, as finances hadn’t been kind to us as a family trying to make ends meet with just my husband’s income. I was hushed and told my ticket was taken care of. As you could imagine my shock and appreciation, I was overwhelmed… And extremely thankful! I gave her what I could to help pay for whatever expenses she generously covered for me. Her husband, herself, and two other eager men from our church made up our rag band of a team with myself included.

That very morning we all were excited, as well as nervous. I was also prepping myself up for the big day. With some k-tape in hand, I asked the only other female on the team to help me tape up my shoulder. She aptly taped me up, making a beautiful hot pink across my left shoulder.

My newly appointed orthopedic doctor had told me I had Bursitis and had given me a cortisone shot… That whole visit is worth a blog, but that’s for another time. The doctor had suggested I not do this crazy stunt, unless my shoulder pain was much better.  The whole point of taping it was to remind me not to do anything to hurt it even more. I was going to do it.

It was a chilly morning on the mountain side, but the sun ensured us it would be a beautiful day. The five of us donned our gray team colors, marked our numbers to our foreheads, legs, and arms, and joined a throng of other crazed adventure seeking beasts wearing a variety of their own team colors. I could feel their excitement, the vibration of their yelling touched me to the core, sending my butterflies into another hyper dance.

My female counterpart tapped me on the shoulder and I read her lips saying, “You feeling okay?” I nodded. “I am so nervous, but I’m so ready for this!” She nodded excitedly, telling me she was feeling the same way, too.

We walked under an inflated arch marking the space for warm up.I could feel and her the low bass of the music booming out of the speakers near us, and I could see my teammates laugh as I started dancing to the music.

Ahead, a well known icon of the adventure we were embarking on stood on the platform in his short shorts, three bright colored headbands wrapped around his thigh, high knee socks, and a well fitted shirt over his tight muscled chest – It was none other than Coach T. Mud! That got us hooting and hollering! He led us through a warm up, and the excitement began to build even more. I was so ready to start!

They led us through the warm up to a place where a speaker stood, wearing a white jacket with a microphone in his hand. I read his lips as he encouraged us and asked us to kneel. A teammate looked to me, and I saw her ask, “Can you understand him?” I was able to say he was easy to lipread, despite there were times he turned his back on me.

Could I hear him, you may ask? Of course, I couldn’t. I am deaf. My one hearing aid was left behind with one of my teammate’s wife, who waited for us at the finish line.

Finally, we were off! We ran for a good distance, and it felt good to put in some of the training I had managed to do despite the shoulder pain I had over the past month.

The first obstacle came up, and I see volunteers dumping bags of ice into a basin, and I dreaded being cold, but I wasn’t going to let my team down. I climbed up to see a chainlink fence above a slide, leading to a pool of ice water. I knew this was going to take my breath away. The fence was going to force me to put my head under the iced water.

As I hit the water, my head went under, and my feet met the bottom of the pool. I pushed up, feeling my body scream from the cold, and gasped for air as I broke through the icy surface of the water. I could see my teammates coaxing me on, but the voice in my head shouted louder, “MOVE! KEEP MOVING!”  I climbed out of there, shivering, but proud of myself for not letting my fear of the cold overtake me.

The rest of the team made it out, and we ran to warm ourselves up and to make it on to the next hurdle.

We went under barbed wire, pulled up through pipes, fell backwards into cold mud, climbed through even more mud pits avoiding deeper holes, and so much more!

There were a couple of obstacles I passed, for the sake of my shoulder, but I stood on the sidelines cheering my teammates on. I signed, “Champ!” when I saw them make it through the obstacle, and they would smile.

There was one obstacle I wish I didn’t pass. It was called the “Cry Baby”. Just seeing it caused anxiety to rise into my stomach. There was a smell coming out of the boxed chamber set onto the ground, a very irritating gas for the eyes and throat, and on top of that, people would swim under a board in muddy water to get inside and through this very chamber. It scared me bad. The guys were nervous, but I saw one sign, “Brave!” He says, “I’m gonna man up on this! I’m doing it!” He dives under and a minute later, we see him make it across the other side. We cheered, and we all signed, “Champ!”

They had all learned signs as we became a team, knowing I would need to take my hearing aid out. Talk about an awesome team!

The three others decided to do it, leaving me standing in the muddy path trembling in fear. I couldn’t swallow that fear to just do it. They came out triumphant, wiping their irritated eyes and laughing. We began to run away from the obstacle, and I knew I should have just done it.

We climbed over a “Beached Whale”, which was more of a half inflated balloon with ropes around on it to help in climbing over it. It was a sight to see. There were bodies of men and women clambering to find some kind of control and grip, covered in mud, and there were several handprints on some butts, indicating how they managed to get on top of the “whale” in the first place. As I made an effort to jump up, I found myself being pushed up, and I took the opportunity to grab the rope ahead of me. It was quite a challenge to not slide awkwardly on the constantly rocking ballon. My female teammate was already on the ground, and I saw her gesture to me in how to hold the rope as I came down. I did so, and was able to get down without falling.

Another obstacle, which came to be one I loved the most, was a wall of wooden planks stacked up like a ladder nearly 10 feet up. A few of my teammates questioned me with looks, and I said, “I want to do this.” I climbed up, and as I reached the top, it reminded me so much of my love of rock climbing! I climbed down with a smile on my face, and I could see a few of my teammates smile back with the sign, “Champ!”

I can’t say the whole adventure was easy.

One of the hard parts was trying to make the ascension up the mountain to make it to the next point in part of the 11 mile journey. My legs were hurting as I went up, and as I tried to push myself, I felt my chest on fire, making it painful to breathe. About 3 to 4 times I had to stop to ease the pain in my legs. I felt horrible for slowing down my team, but they encouraged me. I fought through the pain and made it to the top, hoping for no more uphill climbs. No… There was quite a few on that journey.

Then came the end.

Electroshock Therapy… Talk about a painful experience. Sure, it scared the crap out of me, but I was going to do it, not knowing how painful it was going to be.

I began to run in the thick mud, anxious for it to be over, and as suddenly as I went down, I felt this painful shock in my shoulder. I yelled, “OW!” I tried to get up, only to get shocked again. I felt my whole body shake in pain. In the corner of my eye, I see my teammate, my hero, come diving in to help me out. He gets shocked, and as we both pull out to the side of the pit, we get shocked again. That. Really. Hurt. I did not want to do that again. I looked to my savior with a smile. “Thank you.” He smiled back and gave me a muddy hug and coaxed me to run to the finish line. I was glad to see that finish line.

We crossed that finish line with orange headbands, layers of mud on our legs and shoes, and every bit of our bodies aching for the beer they promised us at the end.

Would I do it again?

To be honest. Yeah.  I just don’t think I’ll do the shock thing again. As a legionnaire in the Tough Mudder, I think I have that right to pass it. Once is enough. And next time, my shoulder isn’t going to sideline me!