So back in the summer I was trying to decide what route my fitness journey was going to look like, what path it was going to take.  I had tried running and found it incredibly boring.  I did a triathlon, and while I had a fun experience with it that day because I did it with friends and I love competition, it’s not something that I enjoyed enough to want to continually train for.  And then I did the Warrior Dash and fell in love with the mud/OCR concept.  I know a lot of hard core OCR people will say the Warrior Dash is not true OCR, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Then Season 9 of American Ninja Warrior came on and I started watching it like I do most other summers.  I never considered that it was something I could actually do, but I saw it through new eyes, since I had been recently introduced to the world of OCR.  I thought if you wanted to be a contestant on the show, you had to be in your early 20’s, preferably male.  If you were female you definitely couldn’t have kids.  (Unless your name is Maggi Thorne, and then you’re just not really human anyway, so it doesn’t count).  You needed to be a former or current gymnast or rock climber.  Being a professional stunt person helped, too.

Then on July 3, I believe, the Kansas City qualifiers aired, and I saw Sarah Schoback compete.  She had been a stay at home mom before getting into OCR.  She started training, opened her own ninja gym, and made it on the show!  She wasn’t a gymnast or a rock climber.  She wasn’t in her 20’s.  She had 2 kids.  Her story totally resonated with me, and I decided right then and there that I would start training to be on the show, too.  If she could do it, I could do it.  Why I thought that, I’m not sure, but I did.

For those of you that have followed my blog, this story is not new.

On July 8th, I contacted her on social media and told her how inspired I was by her and how I wanted to start training too.  She was so gracious to message me back, and that started a long distance mentoring, training, friendship, etc.  She gave me a list of exercises to do.  I bought a pull-up bar for the house.  I started getting my nutrition in check.  And I got after it.

Progress was painfully slow.  I realized how weak and out of shape I was, and I realized how slowly progress was coming.  Sarah was also a great cheerleader.  So after training for a few months, I did one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, and I flew to Minnesota all by myself, to train with her in person for a few days.  It was scary because I didn’t want to disappoint her.  It was scary to really test how far I’d come.  And it was scary because I hate to fly and get terrible anxiety and panic attacks on a plane.

The trip was humbling and encouraging and painful and disappointing and exhilarating all at once.

This was the temperature when I left Texas, and when I arrived in Minnesota…


Funny story about this next picture.  I was so cold on the plane, I couldn’t hardly stand it.  I don’t drink coffee, but they had hot tea so I got that.  I ate all my snacks, and then got the brilliant idea to put my used up tea bag into my snack bag to make a ‘hot hands’ type thing to keep me warm.  And it worked fantastic.  But I didn’t really think about that fact that as I was squeezing this hot bag between my fingers, all the hot water was seeping out of the tea bag into the snack bag, and then when I turned my hand over, all the hot tea water spilled all over my lap.  Which burned for a second then turned very cold.  So I arrived to MN with the front of my pants all tea-stained.  Not a great start.


By the way, those Delta cookies are LEGIT!


I don’t travel a lot, especially by myself, so while I was figuring out how to get out of the airport, and find the shuttle service to the hotel, I kind of pictured myself on the Amazing Race.  I mean, if I could navigate the MN airport, I could totally get myself all around the world, right??


And I’ve never taken a bathroom selfie in an airport, so why not.  This is the best I could do for 20 degree weather.


I’ll tell you more about my training next time…



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