In Closing…

So as I was laying in bed last night contemplating my life choices, I realized I never closed out this blog.  But then when I signed on this morning (thank you computer for remembering my password), I realized that I kind of had posted an update.  And then after that posted an angsty article about being pregnant.  And then just kind of left it hanging.  So in the spirit of not having any hanging chad, here’s an officially official closing post.

To summarize the story, in January of 2017, I had just had these…

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And felt like this…

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I tried out a few things, and then around summertime, I decided I wanted to do this…

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And so I started training, and then I turned into this…

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And I did it!  I got chosen for the show!

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But just a week prior, this happened…

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And let’s be honest, I was not excited.  At first.  It was pretty crappy for a while.  And I was super disappointed I wouldn’t get to be on the show.

But then this happened…

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And now I couldn’t care less about the show.  He is so worth it.

But now I feel like this again…

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…even more than before.  I tried to do burpees with the kids yesterday and I couldn’t even do a push-up.

The deadline for ANW 11 submissions was last week, and needless to say, I did not participate.

It’s honestly depressing how I’ve lost E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G I gained from training.  Lots of people ask me if I’m going to train to do the show again, and the answer is no.  1., I honestly don’t think it’s realistic to think I could get into show-shape again, under the current circumstances.  And 2., I’ve moved on.  I really needed a big goal, to really transform myself physically at that point in my life.

And while this…

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…is not working for me, I don’t have a desire to be on the show anymore.  It was a super crazy ride, and will be a great story, but that season is over.

I do want to do more of this…

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And this…

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And this…

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So those will be my goals this year.  To become more healthy again so I can do some OCR’s, and take some aerial classes.  I’d love to run off and join the circus.  After all, we’ve got a new ringmaster around here.

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But American Ninja Warrior is over for me.  I’m going to count it as a success.  I did sort of technically go from a mom to a ninja warrior, and now back to a mom again.  So the cycle is complete.

And so is this blog…

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Yes, I’m pregnant with my 5th child. Let’s get all your awkward questions and assumptions out of the way.

My husband and I have been married 12 years.  We’ve been infertility patients for about 10 of those years.  God has blessed us over the last 7 years with 3 pregnancies and 4 beautiful children.

When I was pregnant with the first two singleton pregnancies, I never hesitated to share my infertility experience with people who were interested or asked.  I never for a second felt ashamed, and people who knew were always supportive.  I never felt like it was something to hide.  But then I moved to a new place and people didn’t know about our past experiences.  They just knew that I already had 2 young kids and was now pregnant with twins.

When people first found out it was twins, and that I already had 2 littles at home, the almost universal first response was sympathy.  (Which secretly in my head was what I was feeling too, but I didn’t need every stranger to confirm my fears that it was going to be awful).  So the first response was always something to the effect of, ‘Oh gosh, I’m so sorry’, or ‘Oh!…(with a look of horror on their face)’, or ‘wow, you’re going to be busy!’.  Then, inevitably, the very next response was wondering how in the world this happened to me.

One of the first conversations I had about it being twins was actually at work.  Another nurse heard me say it was twins, expressed her condolences, and then asked something about it being fertility treatment, which I confirmed.  It never crossed my mind that I shouldn’t.  And she literally said, ‘well it’s your own fault then.’  She immediately went from sympathy to blame.  That was the first time I felt somehow ashamed of it, like I had ‘done it to myself’.  I had a few similar, although slightly less harsh experiences, and I never admitted to having fertility treatment again.  Those who were close to me knew about it, and I didn’t figure it was anyone else’s business.

The most common question was ‘Do twins run in your family?’  That was easy.  I would say no, then they would say something about how surprised I must have been.  Yes, I was very surprised, I’d say.  Which was all true.  I would say the second most common question was ‘Are they natural?’  This question always irritated me.  What’s the opposite of natural?  No, there was nothing unnatural about my babies, thank you very much.  I assumed they were trying to ask about infertility treatments, and I know they didn’t mean any offense, but since there’s a whole range of ART (artificial reproduction technology), and I wasn’t going to go into all the personal details with people who weren’t already privy to that information, the answer was always ‘yes, my babies are natural.’  Also not a lie.

Now, for those of you who may know me, and may be interested in what exactly I had to do to get my babies, (because people seem to wonder about that stuff), let me tell you.  My body doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to.  I have terrible endometriosis.  I have PCOS.  I don’t ovulate on my own.  I don’t have regular cycles.  My hormones are all jacked up, and until I had surgery to repair it, my uterus was not shaped correctly.  I have to have surgeries and medications to fix those things in order to get pregnant.  Aside from the medications, everything else is ‘natural’.  My husband and I conceive a baby ‘the good old fashioned way’.  There are no test tubes or turkey basters for us.  HOWEVER, being an infertility nurse for 3 years, I have helped many many women have their precious babies using those means (although we would never use those terms, I use them in jest here), and I will tell you every pregnancy is beautiful and ‘natural’ no matter what means were used to bring it here.  And I can almost guarantee you that none of those women want to talk to you about how ‘natural’ or not their pregnancy is.  So don’t ask.

Okay, back to the twins.  I never would have chosen twins for myself.  If I had been given the choice between having twins or zero more babies, I would have chosen zero more babies.  I was scared.  Terrified, more like it.  About everything from diapers to college tuition.  But now that they’re here, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  It’s been an amazing experience and I can’t imagine not having both of them in my life.  They are 2 blessings, and I’m so thankful that God saw fit to see His plan through over mine.  I’m so thankful I didn’t get my way on this one.

Now let’s get to this pregnancy, since it’s actually what the title of this article is all about.  After the twins, I was very done with having babies.  I didn’t want any part of any more babies.  I was ready to get out of the baby phase of sleepless nights and diapers, and move on to the phase of little league and school plays.  One of the drawbacks to having 4 small children is that it makes it very difficult to go to the oldest one’s activities.  She just finished kindergarten, and it was near impossible to go to her school programs or family lunches without it ending in total chaos, tears (usually mine), and a whole array of nasty looks from other parents.  And the comments.  Oh, the comments.

So I didn’t want to have any more babies.  In fact, just the thought of more babies would leave me rocking on the floor in the fetal position.  The inevitable question of ‘prevention’ came up once I started having periods again, as irregular as they were.  I have had my share of hormones in my life.  I’ve been on hormones of one type or another for most of my life since I was 16.  I don’t like the way they make me feel.  And besides, it seemed unnecessary for the ‘broken’ woman to take the birth control.  So I asked my husband to get a vasectomy.  His first response was that it was maybe a little overkill and unnecessary.  A fertility patient always knows there’s a chance of getting pregnant on their own, but it’s often so slim, and after so many months of unsuccessful ‘trying’ in our lives, it seemed a little crazy to do something so invasive.  Plus, let’s be honest.  We have 4 small children.  We don’t have a lot of sex right now.  The chances were reeeeeeal slim.  But then he realized how worried I was about whatever the odds were.  I told him how absolutely devastated I would be if I found out I was pregnant.  So he agreed, if only for my piece of mind.

And then I found out I was pregnant.

And I was devastated.  And I thought all kinds of horrible things that a mom shouldn’t think.  And I cried.  A lot.  And felt a tremendous amount of guilt that I wasn’t immediately rejoicing for this obviously miraculous pregnancy.  I mean, we’re pretty close to Immaculate Conception here, folks.

At the time I sat down to write this, I still wasn’t okay with the idea.  I hadn’t accepted it yet.  But we all know that that doesn’t matter.  The baby is coming whether I’ve accepted it or not.  At this point, while I’m still not excited, I have come to a point of acceptance.  I’m just praying that someday I will think of it as a huge blessing that I wouldn’t have chosen for myself, just like the twins.

So I knew at some point, I was going to have to tell people.  And I could already picture people’s faces, hear the questions and responses.  And I was so worried about what people would think when they find out.  Why?  Because I’m an insecure people pleaser.  Because I experienced the whole gammet of awkward questions and responses with the twins.  And because I’ve heard all the ‘behind-their-backs’ conversations about other women who have been pregnant with a 4th, 5th, or more child.  I know what people say.  I know all the nasty, catty, disrespectful things people say in this situation.  So let’s get all that out of the way now.

  1.  No, we weren’t planning it (see the ad nauseam description of that above).  No, I didn’t want it, but I’m not going to say that out loud to you.  You can know that I’m trying very hard to be okay with this myself, so anything you say that’s negative is going to set me back towards reaching that goal.
  2. Yes, I do know how this happens.  No, I’m not some ‘radical’ that is against birth control.  No, I’m not trying to populate the Earth.  And you don’t need to tell anyone around me or behind my back that I just need to keep my legs closed.  This also includes telling me my husband needs to get a vasectomy.  I told him the same thing.  That’s my job, not yours.
  3. No, I have no idea what I’m going to do about __(fill in the blank)___.  I’m fully aware that we can’t fit another child in our house or in our car.  There are a million and one details that are going to have to be worked out over the next few months.  I’m overwhelmed with it.
  4. No, we are not rich.  In fact, we’re close to broke.  I don’t know how I’m going to pay for more braces, another wedding, or another college tuition.  I want to provide all of my children with all the same things that you think I should provide them with.  I feel terrible we’ll probably never make it to Disney World.  I already feel incredibly irresponsible for this happening, however miraculous.
  5. I promise you don’t need to remind me of any of the things that will be harder now.  There is no way you can think of any situation or scenario that I have not already thought of.  I have thought, in detail, about every stage in our life moving forward, and how a 5th child will impact that.  There’s nothing you can add.
  6. Yes, I know we’re too old to be having babies, outside of Hollywood.  When the baby is born, my husband will be 40 and I will be 37.  I know the risks that come with that.  You don’t need to tell me.  But if Joanna Gaines can do it, Joanna Maltsberger can too, right?  If I only I had her bank account and house…
  7. Yes, thank you, I realize I can’t even control the other 4 that I have.  I know you think, and I agree in the moment, that I have no business adding another one to our brood.  We draw a big crowd anywhere we go when we’re all out together.  People stop and watch us go down the aisles at Target or HEB.  It’s kind of like a train wreck.  Or a circus.  We make all sorts of people feel better about themselves.  I know what people say about the pregnant woman who is dragging a bunch of screaming, unruly kids through the store.  If I hear you say those things, or if I see you roll your eyes, I’m liable to let you have it.  Possibly a throat punch.  Because I’m already stressed out.  And embarrassed of my children’s behavior.  And now I’m also hormonal.  Tread lightly, dear stranger.

Here’s what I do want to hear from people: Honest, heart-felt, encouragement.  You know what would be awesome?  Success stories.  Do you come from a big family and it was amazing?  Tell me.  Know someone who had a bunch of kids and survived with their sanity?  Bring it on.  Tell me how full of love my heart must be, not how busy my life will be.  If you can’t say anything nice, please don’t say anything at all.  If you can’t keep a straight face, look the other way.  Want to be extra, super helpful?  Buy me a box of diapers.

I’m struggling with this more than you could know, and have unspeakable guilt about that.  I’m trying so hard to get to the place where I’m excited, and have terrible guilt that it’s not immediate.  I’m working hard towards smiling and saying ‘thank you’ to the good wishes.  It’s a process.  Right now I’m filled with fears.  Fears of being ‘enough’ for another baby.  Fears about being able to keep another child safe, protected, and provided for.  Fears that they’ll someday be resentful of all the things I wasn’t able to give them because we had so many.  Fears that now there’s another one for me to potentially screw up.  Or that will get screwed up by this increasingly screwed up world.

Clearly, these are my opinions only.  I don’t presume to think that everyone in my situation would feel the same way.  I’m sure that most other mom’s are much better mom’s than me and immediately feel all the warmth and excitement toward every pregnancy that a good mom should.

And please don’t be offended by everything I’ve written.  A good portion is only half-kidding.

But not really.

And if you’re a friend or acquaintance, please don’t worry that you said something in the past that offended me.  The majority of my bad experiences were with strangers.  Or situations I don’t attribute to one specific person.  No worries.

I’ve always been an open book.  If you are genuinely interested about any of this experience, I’d be happy to have a conversation with you about any of it.  I just know the hundreds of awkward comments and assumptions I experienced with the twins, and already the comments that I’ve gotten about this one.  I’m not sure why, but I feel like I need to justify myself, or defend myself this time around.  Somehow explain that I didn’t do it on purpose.  And while I know that’s crazy, and that I don’t owe that to anyone, I still feel the need.

Maybe it’s for me, or maybe you’re reading this and don’t know a thing about me, but have someone else in your life who is pregnant.  Maybe it’s their first, maybe it’s their tenth, maybe it’s one, twins, or even more.  Maybe some of what I’ve ranted about here will help you avoid an awkward conversation with them.  Or maybe not.

That’s all I’ve got, folks, go forth and multiply.

So I did it! And then I didn’t.

So…the last time I wrote was waaaaay back in January.  I had submitted my application video for ANW and was just waiting…

Then, on my husband’s birthday, February 12th, I found out I was very unexpectedly pregnant.  I was totally shocked and not at all excited.

Then the next week, on February 20th, Rod, one of the producer’s for ANW called me and told me I was selected to compete in Dallas.  That I had actually made the show.  I was totally shocked and super excited.

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So then I had a dilemma.  I didn’t tell him right away that I was pregnant.  I spoke to him on the phone a couple times first.  I assumed that they wouldn’t let me compete if they knew I was pregnant, but I didn’t know for sure.  I did some math and tried to figure out how I would be feeling and if I would be showing by then.  But then as he started telling me about all the different people that would be calling me to set up all the different parts of the process, I knew I had to come clean.  I didn’t want anybody to put in a bunch of time and effort on me all for nothing.  So I told him I had just found out about being pregnant.  He congratulated me and told me that unfortunately that meant I couldn’t compete.  And just like that, the journey was over.

That was a hard one to swallow.  I know in the long run, in the whole scheme of life, it’s not that big of a deal.  I know that this new baby will be a blessed addition to our family, one that will always be with us, and being on the show would be a cool story that would soon get old.  But the timing just seemed so hard.  I trained so hard.  I worked so hard on my video.  If I had to get pregnant, it couldn’t have been just a couple months later??

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Oh well, it is what it is.  Rod set up my family with VIP tickets for the filming so we could see what I was missing, lol.  We drove to Dallas for the night and got to watch a few hours before the kids (and us) pooped out.  Being in the audience was a cool experience, and very different than seeing the show on TV.  We saw Drew Dreshel, Joe Moravsky, Maggie Thorne, Brent Stefenson, Karsten Williams, Natalie Duran, and Daniel Gill.  Not all competing, some just wandering around.

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I’ve had a really hard time watching the show so far this season.  I did watch all of the Dallas qualifiers because I wanted to see how what they aired compared to what we saw in person.

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It was very different.

Then I watched part of LA qualifiers because I’m a huge Chris Pratt and Jurassic fan.  I’ll probably watch Minneapolis because Sarah will be on.  But apart from that, I just don’t think I’ll watch the rest.  It’s just too much ‘what if’, ‘that could have been me’ feelings for me to enjoy it.

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But it was a crazy ride, and now my claim to fame will be what almost was.

Bloopers

The cities and dates for season 10’s filming of American Ninja Warrior were announced this morning, and the Ninjaverse (see what I did there?) is all a-twitter.

The cities this year are LA, Dallas, Miami, Indianapolis, Philly, and Minneapolis.  Dates range between 3/6 and 5/26.

If I were to be selected, the closest place to me is Dallas, and it’s filming the end of March.  That’s just 2 months away!  Just the thought of it makes me nauseous.  But in a good way.  If there is such a thing as good nausea.  I read once that they look at submissions in order of when that person’s region would be filming, so those closest to LA would get looked at first, and Minneapolis submissions would be last, and so on.  I’m not sure how true that is, but since Dallas is filming second, I’m guessing they’d be looking at my submission soon-ish.  The producers for American Ninja Warrior are going to be looking at a video of me, that I made, soon-ish.  That’s just crazy.

I intend to write a whole post on the surreal-ness of making an application video for ANW.  It’s a crazy process, and it was crazy hard for me.  But just for fun, I put together a blooper reel of some of the outtakes I got.  Enjoy.

10 Reasons Why I Want To Be An American Ninja Warrior: Season 10

I started this blog post many months ago, close to the beginning of my journey.  I’ve added to it here and there, and it’s interesting to look back and see how my motivation has evolved throughout the process.  The main driving points haven’t changed, but there are a few things that don’t matter so much anymore, and some new motivations have emerged that weren’t there at the beginning.  In no particular order, here’s the top 10 reasons why I want to be on American Ninja Warrior Season 10.

  1. I want to inspire other moms with young kiddos, especially multiples, to get out there and get started on their journeys.  Whatever journey that may be.  Often times when you have a baby, or multiple small kids, you kind of get in this overwhelming funk of the day to day.  Postpartum depression is real.  And mommy-hood can be brutal.  Moms are so mean, so competitive, and so condescending to each other.  Social media often seems to be the death of decency and kindness.  But having a challenge, a cool goal to work towards, can help clear away the fog and make everything better.  Whether someone wants to be on ANW, or learn photography, or go back to school, I want to inspire other mommy’s that it’s possible.  Even with a bunch of kids in tow.
  2. I’m a competitive person, and I love a challenge.  The ANW course looks like so much fun, super challenging, and I want a shot at it.
  3. What a cool thing to be able to say you did.  Someday when I’m old and senile, I can show my great-grandkids what I did once, and hopefully it’ll make them think I’m kind of cool.  Or at least that I was kind of cool once.
  4. I love my kids.  I do.  I love being a mom.  But I’m at the point in my life where I want to do something for me.  I want to be something more than just the person that changes diapers, makes meals, and referres fighting siblings.  Perhaps I’m having a mid-life crisis.
  5. I want to make a goal, work hard for it, and accomplish it.  To be able to say, ‘yeah, I did that’.
  6. I need an outside interest.  Something to be proud of.  And I want my family to be proud of me.
  7. I want to show my kids that they can do anything they set their mind to.  Make a goal, work really hard, and accomplish it.  Don’t let anyone tell you you’re too old, too young, too short, too tall, not quick enough, not smart enough, not _________ enough.  Believe in yourself and work hard.  You can move mountains.
  8. I want to overcome fears.  The fear of new things and new people.  The fear of failure.  The fear of putting myself out there.  I’ve already made huge strides toward this goal just in the process of training for ninja warrior.
  9. I want to see what my body is capable of.  I’ve already seen the miracles it can do just giving life to, and carrying, twins.  I want to see what it’s capable on the other side of the spectrum.
  10. I want to meet some really cool people.  And let’s be real.  All those ninjas on TV?  They seem pretty dadgum cool.

How has 2018 sucked? Let me count the ways…

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So far I’m not a big fan of 2018.  Actually, anything after Christmas 2017 has pretty much sucked.

My daughter started back to school yesterday, and was literally sick the entirety of her Christmas break.  We had so many plans of things we were going to work on.  We did absolutely none of them.  She finished up her antibiotic the day before she went back and was finally feeling better.  We got her all patched up in time to go back to her classroom full of other kindergarten petri dishes.  CORRECTION:  We got all 4 of my kids patched up in time for her to go hang out with the other kids with plague and bring it back home again.

All 4 of my kids have been sick the entirety of Christmas break.  2 of them are solidly better.  1 is still iffy.  And I thought the other was better except he woke up this morning complaining of his ear hurting and wouldn’t get out of bed.  If the boy had a broken leg with the bone sticking out, he wouldn’t refuse to get out of bed, so this is significant.

I have been sick since December 9, but the pleasure of adding strep throat, courtesy of one of the kids, didn’t get thrown in until last weekend.  And then because I can’t do anything half-assed, I also went and got a (suspected) tonsillar abscess.  Cuz that’s how I roll.  So now I’m on my second antibiotic and second steroid hoping to ‘avoid having to go in and drain the tonsil’.  Yes please, let’s avoid that.

My husband and I had lots of goals this year, some of them financial.  That’s pretty much shot now, by the 5th day of the year, cuz having 6 sick people visit the doctor and minor med, prescriptions (I think we’re at 12 so far this year?), and just as many over the counter meds ARE NOT CHEAP!  The problem is that when I’m so super sick and feeling like death, I’ll pay whatever I need to feel better.  But that’s not when you pay.  The bills don’t come in until a couple months later once you’re feeling better, and then you’re like, ‘man, was I really that much money sick?’ and you start to question what feeling good is worth.  Or maybe that’s just me.

Let’s see, what else.  My mom is in the hospital back home and I’m really worried about her.  As of late last night it seems they may have figured out what’s wrong with her, but she has been really worrisome for a while.  And being so sick here, I couldn’t travel back to be with her.  So that sucked.  Hopefully now that they know what they think is wrong, they can start to fix her.  But then she still has to battle the ‘aggresive’ form of skin cancer that they continue to cut out of her (rapidly shrinking) body.

There was one day over break that I felt decent, so I plastered on a lot of makeup trying to not look like death, and made my ANW submission video.  This is bad news because about 6 hours after I submitted it, I thought of THE.BEST.IDEA. that I should have had in my video.  But of course it was too late.  And I have now convinced myself that I totally ruined it, but had I done this other thing in my video, I totally would have gotten picked, and I blew my shot in life, and I’m an idiot, and yada yada yada.  The delirium from being sick may have contributed to that, but I seriously obsessed over blowing it for days.  Dreamed about it, cried about it, the whole 9 obsessive yards.

My husband is going away to baseball fantasy camp this month.  If you’re a baseball fan you probably know what that is.  If you’re not a baseball fan, you probably don’t care.  My daughter and I were going to travel out there for part of the week to see him in his uniform playing, and attend a couple of the events.  But through a variety of sucky circumstances, we aren’t going to be able to do that.  My father in law also backed out of going, so now no one is going to be out there to see him suited up and cheer him on.  He’s pretty bummed about that, and I’m pretty disappointed too.  I firmly believe that these things happen for a reason, so I take some comfort in that.  Plus, all the money that was going to go to that trip will probably now have to go towards medical bills.  But it’s still another disappointment that 2018 has brought us.

Oh, and apparently Apple is deliberately slowing down my iPhone 6s.  Thanks for that, Apple!

My husband is waiting to hear about a new job he interviewed for.  2018 is telling me I shouldn’t get my hopes up.

I know these are all first world problems, and I shouldn’t be complaining, but still not a great way to start a new year.  I am thankful that we all have our ‘health’.  Right now it seems to be all viruses and bacteria that will eventually work it’s way out and be gone.  Nothing lifelong or debilitating.  I’m thankful that my husband and I both have jobs that will eventually be able to pay for all the medical bills, and so far, there’s nothing major to be paid for, like surgery or hospitals.  I’m thankful that my mom has a diagnosis finally, I hope it’s correct and all-inclusive, and her cancer takes a hike n’er to return.  I’m thankful my husband gets to go to camp at all.  So things aren’t all bad.  Take that, 2018!

My son literally just called me from the couch…

B: ‘mom, I have some good news and some bad news.’
Me: ‘what’s the bad news?’
B:  ‘I’ll tell you the good news first’
Me: ‘okay, what’s the good news?’
B: ‘i feel better’
Me: ‘that’s great! What’s the bad news?’
B: ‘i don’t know the bad news’

Cue about 3 seconds of thinking ‘maybe this year is looking up’… and then one of the baby’s starts screaming… ‘nevermind’

Obstacle Academy

So during a week in early November, I was in Minnesota, mostly freezing my ka-zizzie off, and training for American Ninja Warrior at Obstacle Academy, owned by the Ninja of the North, Sarah Schoback.  And I just have to say I was also able to witness, in person, the other-worldly talents of Kyle Soderman and Hunter Guerard.  That was worth the trip, right there.

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On the first day we just kind of played around, to see what I was able to do.  It was my first time trying devil steps (and actually most everything I did), and I was excited to see I could actually do it!

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I don’t have too many pictures from the first day, but it was very exciting and encouraging.  I was super nervous to meet Sarah in person, I didn’t want to disappoint her since she had spent so much time mentoring me long distance.  But she was a great cheerleader and encourager, and I soon felt comfortable(ish).

The next day I took a class with Leif Sundberg, and he was just an awesome teacher.  So kind, so encouraging, it was really great.  And my hands got tore.up.

But I had to push on, so I just wrapped it up and kept going.  It was significantly harder and more painful after this, I must say.

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As the days went on my hands got more and more tore up until I just couldn’t do anymore.  The last session I had on the last night I pretty much just had to sit out.  It was very disappointing.  I was very disappointed in myself, disappointed I couldn’t finish strong, disappointed I couldn’t do more.  But overall, the trip was a great success, and I’ll have great memories of it.  And I’m proud of myself for taking the leap and going.  And I thank Sarah for her hospitality.

I did have some down time between training, and got to check out the Mall of America.  I had to pick up souvenirs for the family, so I walked the whole thing twice I think.  That thing is big.

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Also, since I was staying in a hotel with a mini fridge and microwave, and not familiar with the area, I stopped at walmart and got a few things for some meals.  Since I was working so hard, I wasn’t worried about my intake, so I splurged on Stouffer’s mac and cheese, which is pretty much the best frozen dinner ever made, some fruit and a tiny pumpkin pie.

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I know most people can’t fully appreciate this picture, but it’s pretty much my bliss.  At home, I never get to sit down to a quiet meal by myself.  I usually scrounge leftovers after making a meal for 4 kids.  Or if I do make myself an actual meal, I have 2 babies climbing around my legs, usually spitting up on my lap while I’m eating, and 2 other kids begging for whatever it is on my plate.  It’s always loud.  Everything is always a disaster mess.  So to be able to sit in a quiet hotel room, with a heating pad in my lap to keep warm, eat my favorite TV dinner in peace, while reading a book.  It was just about the closest thing to zen I can think of.  It was definitely jarring to be in this peaceful setting for a few days, and then come back to the chaos.  It took a little getting used to.

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The coldness also took a little getting used to.  Much different than my little South Texas town.  But I actually really enjoyed the weather, too.  It makes it easier to get into the holiday spirit when it’s cold.  And I did go to high school in Chicago, so it was familiar.  IMG_2253

Minnesota

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.

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By the way, those Delta cookies are LEGIT!

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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??

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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.

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

 

Rugged Maniac

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So I was out of town a week in early November, then I got back in time to start working on Thanksgiving.  After that, all 4 of my kids have birthdays between Nov 27 and Dec 10.  Then I turn around and it’s Christmas.  It’s a crazy busy season, but now I have a week to breathe before all the busy schedules start up again.  I figured I’d try to get all caught up on my blog before then.

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The first weekend in November was the Rugged Maniac.  It was the first race I got to run with my husband!  And it was his first OCR of any kind, or mud run.  He’s a runner, but he prefers longer distances, and without the mud.  Or fire.  (Bor.ring)

It was neat to see Mylo Obstacle Fitness had a booth there.  They taught me how to scale a tall wall, I think it was 8 feet?  Maybe 7?  I had never tried before and it was fun.  It took A LOT of convincing to get Kevin to do it too, but he finally tried it, and totally rocked it, for the record.

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The race was really fun.  I just can’t get enough of these.  I will say I don’t love the running parts.  This particular race had a lot of obstacles grouped together close, and then long stretches of running.  I was proud of how well I did the obstacles, I really breezed through them.  And then really sucked at the running.  I feel like if I got better at running, I could actually be competitive.  That’s one of my goals for the next year, to do a competitive wave.

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I liked that there was a little different variety of obstacles than at Warrior Dash.  The rings were fun, although challenging when your hands are covered in mud.  I had to get a few handfuls of dirt on them beforehand to help with the slipperiness.  They had a couple inflatable obstacles that were different, and they had a warped wall.

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I didn’t like that they seemed to have several of the same obstacles.  I think I crawled through 3 different mud pits underneath barbed wire, just with different names.  And I didn’t love the slide at the end.  That was the only obstacle that I had some fear factor with.  And I was disappointed with the scarcity of photogs.  We couldn’t find any in the staging/party area.  We wondered around for a long time after we finished the race to try to find one to take our muddy ‘after’ photo.  I finally had to ask Mylo to take our picture and text it to me.  At the Warrior Dash, they had photograph backdrops and lots of photogs wandering around to take pictures, not to mention everyone on the course itself.

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But all in all it was a lot of fun, and I’d do it again.  And I plan to.