Obstacle Warriors

So Tuesday of vacation week I went to Gauntlet Fitness, then Wednesday I went to Phamily Fun and Fitness.  Originally I had planned to go to Conquer Fitness in Tulsa on Thursday, but after I saw how spent I was, I decided not to embarrass myself further.

Having sick, crying babies on vacation for a week, we decided to head home a day early.  It turned 2 short driving days into 1 loooong driving day.  To break up the time a little bit and use up some energy, we made a pit stop at Obstacle Warrior Kids in Dallas on Sunday afternoon.

Now this place was completely different than the other gyms we went to.  It’s a chain place, and very crowded.  All the obstacles are for kids, and they have an employee stationed at almost every obstacle to wrangle help kids where needed.  They did have a small section that was supposed to be for the really small kids, but it was pretty much a free for all for kids aged 2-12ish.  There was a lot of chaos, and a lot of kids running, jumping, hanging and swinging from all directions.  But having said that, there was also a lot of padding and foam, and I felt my kids were very safe.

I had thought that this would have been my daughters favorite.  Afterall, it was all obstacles that were her size!  I’m not sure if it was the mass of other children, or if she was just off her game, but she started out very clingy.  She didn’t attack the course like I thought she would.  Her very bold and capable cousin met us there, so Jena did help Avery warm up a bit, but she still never got the full potential out of our visit.


Getting a helping hand

Her brother, on the other hand, who has never felt fear in his life, attacked every part of the course.

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Now next door to Obstacle Warrior Kids, is the Obstacle Warriors for adults.  So since we were already there, I had to try it.  There were a whole lot of things I couldn’t even begin to do.  It was not a place to go to get one-on-one help, it seemed to be a place where you would go work on skills you already had the basics of, but just needed a little more practice.  As it was, I didn’t get too much use out of what they had, but I got a few things in.

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And then I had this magnificent fall on a spinning PVC bridge thingy.


That left this magnificent bruise.


Oh well, all in a day’s work when you’re trying to be a Ninja.


Phamily Fun & Fitness

So the day after Gauntlet Fitness I went to Phamily Fun & Fitness in Edmond, OK, run by the awesome Dominic Pham.  I was riding high after my first experience, but came crashing down to Earth pretty quickly.


Don’t get me wrong, Dominic is great, and his facility is top-notch.  But wow, I had no strength left.  I didn’t really feel that sore, but as soon as I tried to jump on the monkey bars, I quickly realized I left all my muscles in Ardmore.  And my hands really hurt.  It was embarrassing how little I could do.


Which is really disappointing, because there are a TON of obstacles built into this place.  Depending on which track you take, you could try SO many things.  It’s a genius of planning and engineering.

So I focused the majority of my time on balance, with some spider climbs and a little warped wall.  This time it was just my daughter and I, and Dom was so great with her.  He showed us how to do everything, and then he set up a whole obstacle course run for her to do.  She really blossomed there, and had no signs of the timidity or cautiousness that she usually does.  And she did that warped wall no less than 30 times.  He was such a great cheerleader for her, and I was so proud to see her determination.


This gym had a different vibe than Gauntlet.  Where Gauntlet had more of a gritty warehouse type vibe, PF&F had a softer vibe.  And air conditioning.  Both places are equally awesome for different reasons.  We went to PF&F during an ‘open gym’ time, so there were a few other people there working on their skills.  We all cheered each other on, and it was fun to watch everyone trying stuff out for the first time, just like us.

Since I was pretty much relegated to balance, I gave it my all.  I practiced walking on a big wooden spool, then a smaller metal keg.  (Now I gotta get a spool and keg for the house).  Then I worked on transitioning between the 2.  After I got the hang of that, I practiced walking sideways down a PVC while trying to keep the pipe still.  And then finally transitioning between all 3.  By the end, I had actually gotten pretty good at it.  So while I was super bummed I couldn’t hang or swing, I was glad to see some improvement in myself.

At the end of the spool lane, there was a vertical spider wall.  I got to practice walking the spool to the end, then jumping off of it onto the spider wall, then moving up that to climb over the top of the wall.  It was tricky, but so much fun.

One new experience I had here was fear, and I’m not sure why.  I think maybe I was doing things a little bit more vertical than the day before?  But I really got a bit scared on a few of the things I was doing, and I could picture myself crashing down and shattering all my bones.  I’m sure I was actually pretty safe (beyond the innate danger of doing all these things in general, you do have to sign a waiver after all), and I don’t want to imply at all that Dominic has an unsafe facility.  I just mention this because for the first time I realized the mental aspect of the obstacles.  It’s kind of like when I did a box jump at CrossFit for the first time.  I had the ability to jump that high, but there was the mental aspect of it.  You just have to fully commit and do it.  You can’t doubt yourself, and you can’t bail out at the last-minute.  That’s how you lose shins.

And I realized how important it was to learn how to safely fail.  What’s the best way to get down the warped wall if you can’t get up and over?  What’s the best way to come down off a spool if you can’t walk it to the end?  What’s the safest way to land from a high jump?  All things I’m going to have to learn.  And Dominic even said that once I start getting better at obstacles, I need to start making mistakes on purpose so that I can learn to be safe, and learn what to do in a controlled environment in case I ever get into trouble on an obstacle.  So that was definitely a valuable lesson to learn.  Fully commit to an obstacle, but also know how to fail safely.  There’s probably a really good life lesson in there somewhere, too.


Thanks Dominic for a great experience!!



I’m interrupting my story line here to bring you a real time update.  I DID MY FIRST PULL-UP!  I think I probably ruined the dramatic surprise with the title of the post, but I’M SO EXCITED!

I keep a pull-up bar in the doorway between my bedroom and bathroom, so I pass under it many times a day.  I don’t use it every time I walk past, but several.  It’s so nice to have it so accessible.  It gets so much more use than if I had to go out in the garage or somewhere else I had make a concerted effort to get to.  I am lazy at heart, after all.

I also have my gymnastics rings hanging from the pull-up bar.  I have to physically touch them every time I go through the doorway.  It makes it very easy to just take a minute to do some inverted rows several times a day.

So last night as I was about to get ready for bed, I attempted a pull-up, as I do fairly often.  Up until then, I hadn’t been able to get past 90 degrees.  But last night I just kept going all the way up!  I came down to the ground and turned in shock to look at my husband, who had followed me in the room….AND HE WASN’T LOOKING!  He missed the whole thing.  He says he saw me out of the corner of his eye, but I’m not buying it.  So then I tried to do another one so he could video it (as any normal person would do), and I couldn’t get alllll the way up.  Almost.  But then I didn’t like the way the video looked so I tried to do another one for a new video, and got up even less.  Sigh.  Then I tried this morning when I got out of bed and got close, but not all the way.  So if a tree falls in the forest I did a pull-up, but nobody saw, and I couldn’t do it again, did it really happen?  I say yes!

Oh well.  It was a brief glimmer of hope.  A sign I’m getting stronger.  And while there’s no film or video proof, and I haven’t as of yet been able to replicate it, my first one is in the books.  My goal was Sept 1 and I hit it Aug 13!  Now to be able to do it again.  And then do 2 in a row.  Then 3.  You get the picture.

Although now that I’m thinking about it, is it supposed to be a dead hang pull-up to count?  Is that how the real world counts pull-ups?  Hmmm….

Gauntlet Fitness

Gauntlet Fitness in Ardmore, OK was the first ninja gym I had ever been to, and the first one we hit on the trip.  Shawn and Ashley Mason own it, and I had a private training session with Shawn.  I basically told him that I wanted to be a ninja warrior (and he didn’t laugh at me!), and that I had zero experience, but that I wanted an ‘intro to obstacles’ type session.  It.was.awesome.


Coming in to this trip I had zero expectations about what I could actually do, but my goal for visiting these gyms was to just get exposure to as many obstacles as possible.  And since they weren’t local, if I totally made a fool of myself, I wouldn’t ever have to see them again.  Win/win.

One of the first things he asked me was how many pull-ups I could do.  I had been dreading this question and kind of cringed when I said ‘zero’.  But he didn’t even bat an eye!  After a warm-up, he had me do a few things so he could see where my starting point was.  He had a row of hanging rings and told me to see how far I could get.  I don’t know how many rings it was.  In reality, probably a dozen, but it felt like about 100.  It was really hard, but I was NOT going to fall off those rings.  I was going to get all the way across if it killed me.  I did not want to start off this session with him thinking we were both wasting our time.  And I did it!  I willed myself across!  I was so proud of myself, and he seemed impressed.  Whether or not he was just being nice, I don’t know, but it was effective.  It gave me a big boost for the rest of the session.

Then we went to the trapeze, and he taught me how to swing.  I couldn’t make my legs get as high as they’re supposed to, but I learned what to aim for.


I was also able to try jumping into a spider wall, climbing a rope, and swinging from cannonballs, among other things.



Yes, I am holding on for dear life. as a matter of fact.  If you look in the back of this picture, you can see the row of rings I mentioned.  They were different heights and everything!  Although it doesn’t look like a dozen from this angle…

And my very first warped wall!


His gym has a really cool vibe.  Gritty.  And I always felt very safe.  He had lots of mats to put underneath me, and was always right there coaching me about correct technique and a safe way to ‘fail’ when I need to.

About half way through he said, ‘Let me see your hands, is it time for balance?’


It was time for balance.  But I felt like a legit ninja with gnarly hands!  I realize now that this endeavor of mine will not be consistent with a future in hand modeling.  Sigh.

So we practiced a bunch of balance obstacles.  I’m gonna load up on spare 2×4’s and PVC pipes.  The pipe was pretty hard, but so much fun!


Shawn was so encouraging.  Such a great coach and a great cheerleader.  He trains a lot of the top obstacle athletes, and has such a great facility.  If you’re ever anywhere close to Ardmore, you absolutely have to check it out.

After I was done, he let the kids try some stuff out.  My daughter, who is also a ninja wannabe, (and way stronger than me) but pretty timid and cautious, did great.

My 3 year old, who doesn’t have a cautious bone in his body, also did great.  The look on his face in this picture cracks me up.  My brother was there next to him, but he looks a little concerned.


But I promise he had fun.


I left Gauntlet Fitness feeling like a million bucks.  No, I couldn’t do all the obstacles.  But I could do way more than I thought I could.  I was even more hooked then before.  And he gave me a training regimen to do several times a day to gain upper body strength and get my pull-ups.  We made a deal that when I could do 10 pull-ups, I would drive back to OK for some more training.  He realistically estimated 1.5-2 months until I get my first one, if I put in all the work.  I don’t like to be mediocre, so I’m shooting for 1 month.  I just typed it out loud, so there you go!  Sept 1 for my first pull-up!!


Vacation Cheating or Week 4 of the ‘Challenge’

So I’d been on my paleo diet for 3 weeks now.  And I’d been good about not ‘cheating’ because 1, I want the best results I can get.  I want to give it my full effort, so that if things don’t turn out as well as I’m hoping, I won’t wonder if I could have had better results had I done better on the diet.  And 2, I knew I was going on vacation during week 4, and I knew I would cheat on it, so I figured if I had done really good on my diet so far, I’d have less guilt about it.

Day 1 of our vacation, and man did I have a good lunch. We stopped in Waco, TX at Magnolia Market.


I’m not sure there are any humans left on the planet that haven’t heard of Chip and Joanna Gaines, but if for some reason they have eluded you so far, they’re a super lovable (almost annoyingly so) couple who has a show on HGTV, and a real estate company, and a line of furniture, and a B&B (among other things) and they’re taking over the world.  And they have created this really adorable ‘campus’, that has a home decor store, a bakery, and a food truck garden (hence my amazing lunch).  They also have a huge Astroturf yard for the kids (and kids at heart) to run around and play ball, and play giant jenga, and such.
They also have umbrellas to borrow, which was nice since it was about 300 degrees outside.  Thankfully the line to get into the bakery was very long, and our time was short, so I wasn’t tempted to eat those calories.  But I did splurge on a ‘gourmet grilled cheese’. And a mango sweet tea. But I got a watermelon mint salad on the side, so that’s better than fries, right? Right???!

I did pack a lot of our food for this trip. I froze a bunch of spinach and kale smoothies and made paleo pumpkin muffins for breakfasts. Got some good beef jerky and put together some paleo trail mix for snacks, and baked and froze a bunch of different flavored chicken breasts for lunches and dinners.  All the hotels we stayed at had a fridge and microwave, so we planned to go grocery shopping for salad fixings. So see? I’m trying to be good!


I did end up eating worse than I planned on.  But I ate better than I normally would on a vacay.  The babies were sick and fussy the entire trip, and I was considering throwing in the towel and coming home just about every moment of the trip.  So there were a few meals where I just didn’t have the energy to make a good decision.


And then there was Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile where I just didn’t want to make a good decision.  We did go grocery shopping for greens, and I had quite a few chicken salads.  So the week wasn’t a total loss, but not as healthy as I had played it out in my head.


As far as the workouts go, I had plans to stop in to 3 or 4 ninja gyms along the way.  They all deserve their own post, so stay tuned for those.


Week 3 of the ‘Challenge’


Week 3 was a really hard week.

It actually had a bright spot at the beginning.  Monday morning I did my first box jump (which I think is totally more mental than physical, btw), and I was able to do 6 pull-ups with resistance band help.

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But then it all went downhill from there.

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I was volunteering at vacation bible school in the mornings, I had my crossfit workouts, my extra ‘ninja’ workouts, my mom was here, and I was trying to plan for our vacation the following week.  There was a lot going on, and I was exhausted.

When I get exhausted I get emotional.  Plus, it turns out I was brewing germs, and hormones.  So by mid-week I was about due for a come apart.  And man, did I come apart.  I was having a hard time keeping up with my ninja workout, and I was feeling like a failure.  I was stressed about our trip.  My body was hungry, and sore, and shutting down.  And my willpower was being tested. hard.

When I started paleo, I had to unfollow all food pages from Facebook.  Tasty?  Gone.  Pioneer Woman?  Unfollow.  I hated to see them go, but it was just too hard to see all that delicious food I couldn’t eat.  I’m not that strong.  I even had to put blinders on when I was driving around town to try and not see all the yummy fast food that.is.everywhere.  Junky stuff I don’t even normally like was starting to make my mouth water.

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While my mom was here, I stuck to my paleo meal plan, so she ate paleo right along with us. While a bit skeptical, she’s a great supporter and sucked it up.  (And lost 3 lbs!) However, she’s also got a sweet tooth and a soft spot for her grandkids. So she went out to the store and got some very NOT paleo stuff for them. Frozen pizza, animal crackers, cheese cubes.  Stuff I normally wouldn’t bat an eye at.

I don’t think my mom fully understood how hard it was for me to stick to the diet and fight the cravings.  We had completely removed 99% of junk.  We only kept a couple things for the kids: pbj, cheerios, etc.  I knew if it was here I would eat it.  So on top of all the other things going on, I had this new junk food in the house that looked really good.  Much better than it would have 3 weeks prior.  And while she did a really good job trying to keep it out of sight, I could feel it in the house.  It whispered to me.

So by about Wednesday, I had a meltdown.


Sobbing to my hubby about being a failure, have to do my workout, being so tired, want to eat junk, rambling on and on.  He hugged me, assured me I was being too hard on myself, and put me to bed.  It was still light outside it was so early.  He took away my list of workouts, and told me I had to take a day or two off.  (He doesn’t know this, but I actually slipped out of bed to finish that one.last.set. of dips.  Sorry babe).  But then I went to sleep and slept all night.  It was glorious.  Friday morning I woke up sick, had to miss the last day of vbs, had to miss work, had to miss Crossfit.  It’s interesting how your body will shut you down when it feels like you’re getting overextended.  I had a very busy Friday scheduled and I ended up being able to do none of it.

Not a great week.

PS, can you tell I learned how to insert a gif?  Too much??

Week 2 of the ‘Challenge’

Don’t have much to report for Week 2.  It started out really well.  The first couple days I felt great, and then I tanked around the middle.  Thursday was really hard and I didn’t feel good.  But my mom came into town Saturday morning, and I felt like a million bucks when I got up and drove to the airport.  I’m sure there’s some sort of scientific explanation about what my body was going through.  Who knows?  But man, I had no idea what was coming…


I’ve gotta just take a quick break from my story.  Today is my birthday, and I’m turning 36.  Getting older is a weird thing.  When I was in my teens, or even 20’s, I thought 36 was soooo old.  But now that I am 36, I don’t feel soooo old.  Usually.

I bought my first house a little later in life than most people, I think.  Had kids a little later.  Although I got married at a pretty typical age, we struggled with infertility, so that’s just how it worked out for us.  For a long time I still felt like a kid because I didn’t have all those ‘usual responsibilities’.  But now that I’m an ‘older mom’, I feel like it puts me in a weird group.  I don’t so much fit in to the other moms that have kids my age because they’re typically about 10 years younger than me, and are in to much different things.  But moms my age usually have kids in middle school (or older), and aren’t worried about bedtimes and babysitters.  And to throw another wrench in it, I’ve always looked much younger than I am, so people have always treated me as much younger than I am.

You could say I’m very chronologically confused.

But then I start an endeavor like this, a physical one.  A very competitive one.  And I suddenly start to feel much older than usual.  I see people on the show, and they talk about how they’re the oldest contestant to do this, and the oldest to do that.  I think Travis Rosen is currently the oldest ninja at 42, is that right?  Man, that’s just not that much older than me.  I don’t know what the average ninja age is, but I’m guessing 20 something.  And I’m a loooong way from 20-something.  How did this happen?  How did I suddenly become the old one?

It brings a lot of conflicting emotions.  It brings a lot of doubt.  Will my body be able to physically handle this?  I mean, I’m certainly not elderly, but I’m ‘middle aged’.  Yikes.  I haven’t kept my body in good shape all my life.  Will it be able to change and adapt like I need it to?  Will I get injured?  Will I flat out fail?  Do I have any chance of competing with these young whippersnappers that have been training their whole lives?  And oh my gosh, I’m saying ‘young whippersnappers’!!

I also wish I would have taken this up a long time ago.  Where could I be now if I had started in my late 20’s?  I know that this wasn’t on my radar back then.  I was fighting my body to start a family.  I had totally different interests and priorities.  So I know that really is the silliest of regrets.  God has blessed me with 4 beautiful children, all in His perfect timing, and I wouldn’t change any of that journey for the world.  But the what-if’s still plague me.

As I am getting older, more and more I realize how short life is.  I actually catch my breath to think about how fast the time is flying.  My first baby, the one that made me a mom…she’s starting kindergarten this fall.  Where did the time go??  It needs to slow down!  They need to stop growing!  I know that it will literally seem like just a short season before she’s moving out on her own.  I know they can’t stay little forever, and I probably wouldn’t really want them to, but man, I just panic thinking about this time being gone.

And getting older makes me think about how many missed opportunities I’ve had.  What would my life be like if I had made different choices, better decisions?  What have I passed up or missed out on because I was too scared, too lazy, too flippant?  If I could pass one thing on to my kids, it would be to do it all, try it all, experience it all.  Life is too short to sit on the sidelines.  I like the saying, ‘Youth is wasted on the young’.  If I could go back to my senior year of high school, when I had my whole life ahead of me, unlimited potential and unlimited energy, and I knew then what I knew now.  Appreciate then the things that I appreciate now.  Would I change anything?  My first response would be yes, I would be more bold, more disciplined.  But I’ve got to tell you, I have a wonderful husband, 4 amazing children, a family that loves and supports me.  And if changing anything back then would change any of that now, I would have to say no.

So as an old fuddy-duddy talking to my kids, I would say please don’t ever let fear hold you back.  Don’t be afraid to fail.  Don’t let the pursuit of acceptance of others dictate what you do and don’t do in your life.  Your family will love you no matter what, so spread your wings and try it all.  Be bold, be focused, and grab life by the horns.

And I’m trying to take my own advice, and be an example to my kids.  Yes, I might have been much farther along in this journey had I started 5 years ago.  But I didn’t.  I’m starting now.  So I will no longer let fear control me.  I won’t be afraid to fail.  And let’s see how far I can get in the next 5 years.  Hopefully when I blow out 40 candles, I will look back and see a turning point at 36, and will be able to prove to myself and my kids that it’s never too late to start something.  Even if it’s a new interest, or might be harder because you’re older, just start.  Just believe in yourself.  Daily.


Week 1 of ‘The Challenge’

So the Saturday before the official start of the challenge, I went up to the box (I feel really silly calling it ‘the box’, but that’s what it’s called, right?) to get on the little machine that was going to tell me how fat I was, and how out of shape I am.  I’m still really confused on how a machine can tell all that through the soles of the my feet, but for what it’s worth, these were my ‘pre’ results.


I’ve always been an overachiever, but the only thing I was above average on on here was my fat content.  Not exactly what I was going for.  My measurements were: neck 12.25″, waist 32.75″, hips 37.75″ (hey, I’ve had 4 babies!), upper arm 11.25″, thigh 20.5″, and calf 13.5″.  Not quite Sir Mix-a-lot worthy, but hey, I’m taller than 5’3″.

And of course, what’s a challenge without some before and after pictures.  In an attempt to spare the internet from too much skin exposure, I’ll just share my upper body pictures, since really my upper body and core strength is what I was most focused on.  And nobody, other than my sweet husband, wants to see my core.

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Watch out, you might get cut!  Tickets to the gun show right here!  No?  Sigh, I know.  But there’s no where to go but stronger, right?  And I forget to get the back (can’t forget the back!), so the next morning we got this little piece of work.

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This side isn’t much better.  But if you squint, you may be able to make out a shadow of a muscle on that left side.  That’s the side I carry my kiddos on.

So after that, we jumped in.  I learned what a burpee and wod was on that first day.  I learned how very weak and out of shape I was, and I learned that perhaps I was in over my head.  Our first wod was something probably very laughable to seasoned Crossfitters.  I don’t remember now what it was, but it was an amrap with burpees, box step-ups and something else.  We’ll repeat it again on the last day to compare.

I also jumped all in to the paleo meal plan.  This was really hard for me because I’m a very picky eater I have a very specific palate.  I can list the veggies I like on one hand.  And I sort of live on bread and cheese.  But I was committed, and they had the meals and grocery list all laid out for us.  It still took us 3 HOURS WITH 4 KIDS at the grocery store to get the whole list.  There was a lot of crap healthy food on there that I had never heard of before, let alone bought.  At one point we had to just get what we had in the basket, and I had to go back later with just one kid to finish the list.  And it blew our grocery budget out of the water.  Why does healthy food have to be so expensive??!!  We spent about 3 weeks worth of grocery money on that first week.  Granted, there were several things we bought that would last a few weeks, and the rest of the weeks haven’t been that expensive, but man, it was a rude awakening.

IMG_6880I’ve never bought so much veg and meat all at one time.

I expected to really have a hard time with it.  Before this point, I was drinking A LOT of caffeine, and intaking A LOT of sugar.  I’ve cut out caffeine before and had horrible withdrawals, but it really wasn’t that bad this time.  By Wednesday of the first week I had lost all will to live, but by Thursday I felt pretty good.  And by Friday I had a crazy amount of energy and felt fantastic.  The workouts were insane hard, but I loved that endorphin feeling afterwards, and I really felt like I was working hard and making strides towards my goals.  I was ready for week 2!

And Then There Was That Time I Decided To Be An American Ninja Warrior

It had been a couple months since I had discovered obstacle course races, and I was eating up all I could find out about them.  And then June came, and ‘summer TV’ came on.

LOVE ‘summer TV’.  American Ninja Warrior, America’s Got Talent, So You Think You Can Dance…those are the usual suspects.  Then this year Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge, Team Ninja Warrior, and Superhuman sucked me in, too.  Then I occasionally watch Celebrity Game Night and Celebrity Family Feud… I definitely watch WAY more TV in the summer than I do during the year.  I’m a sucker for all the game show/competition type stuff.  I love The Amazing Race, too, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it.  But I digress…

So I starting watching Ninja Warrior like I always do, but this year my 5 year old daughter started watching with me, and she got HOOKED!  She starting trying to climb everything she could.  She would take off the long couch cushion and prop it against the wall and call it her ‘warped wall’, and started begging me to build her some obstacles.
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They have such amazing athletes on American Ninja Warrior, larger than life superhero types.  And some really amazing women.  But it still wasn’t something I really thought I could do.  And then the Kansas City qualifiers came on.  And Sarah Schoback ran.  I completely connected with her story.  Stay at home mom, hadn’t been a rock climber or gymnast her whole life, decided to be a ninja, started training, opened her own ninja gym, and boom! she’s on the show.  Now I’m sure it wasn’t a ”boom! I’m on the show!” experience for Sarah.  I know there was a lot of hard work, and time, and she wasn’t selected her first year.  But for me sitting on my couch, it was “she decided to do it, and boom! she did it!”.  And I could relate to her a lot.  And right then and there I decided I was going to be an American Ninja Warrior, too.

So I looked her up on Facebook, as you do, sent her a message, and basically told her congratulations on her run (she was top female finisher in Kansas City), and thanked her for her story, and that it was so inspiring to me.  She was so gracious to reply, and was very kind.  We started chatting a bit, mostly me blubbering about having a mid-life crisis and finding obstacle course races, and wanting to be a ninja warrior, but I knew that was crazy because I couldn’t even do one pull-up, and I have all these dreams, and I’m so excited, and yadi yadi yadi.  I think somewhere in there I convinced her I wasn’t a psycho, just excitable.  She’s been so encouraging, and inspirational, and has given me a workout routine to do everyday to get stronger.  And I would say I call her a friend.  As much as 2 people can be friends that live across the country from each other, have never met, have messaged a bit, and share the fact that one person is a ninja, and one person wants to be a ninja, lol.

And very soon after my Crossfit challenge started…