Four weeks ago on August 18, I ran my first ever 5K obstacle course in the Wisconsin Dirty Girl Mud Run. I was fortunate enough to run with my dear cousin. We traveled down to the race together which helped minimize our anxiety. When I arrived at her house, my cousin had prepared a banana and strawberry smoothie for both of us for some extra protein. I was feeling exhilarated and a bit groggy. I was at her house by 6:45 a.m. to ensure that we had enough time to physically warm up and mentally prepare. The location of the race was forty-five minutes south of where we live.
The size of this race overwhelmed me. The race started at 8:00 a.m. with waves every fifteen minutes until 4:15 p.m. Women of all shapes, sizes and race filled this county fairground. It was a sea of bright colors and chattering voices. Music was pumped in throughout the race, and the DJ got everyone dancing and rocking in preparation for the start of our wave. I teared up a little when they asked any breast cancer survivors to raise their hands. That little gesture reminded me of what cause I supported to enter this race.
This race challenged me physically and emotionally. We had obstacles that involved climbing over ropes, running over tires, climbing walls and of course several mud pits. One obstacle stands out in my mind: the cargo net. I climbed up to the top, but then I froze. I started to panic because I needed to swing my leg over to climb down the other side. I remembered to just keep breathing. I took it one step at a time. This was the same technique that I used to manage my panic attacks. I realized in that moment that I could handle any of the physical and mental challenges of this race. I have survived the roller coaster ride of postpartum anxiety and postpartum rage. To quote a fellow Warrior mom and friend, Ivy Shih Leung, “I am a strong woman. If I survived PPD, I can survive most anything!”
I loved this race. I would recommend it to anyone at any fitness level. You do not need to do all of the obstacles. You can opt out of some of the more physically challenging obstacles. I laughed so much that I cannot wait to do it again next year. I am already signed up, and I plan to beat this year’s finishing time.