Bad Ass Mwabz
I started running 6 years ago in March 2013. At first, I was fully content meeting my Black Girls Run sole sisters once a week on Wednesdays and running 3 miles with them. I watched them discuss upcoming races after the run and thought they were in a lane I had no business being in. Running with them was fellowship and I looked forward to my Wednesdays because of them; I'd catch up on their lives and they would catch up on my life between Wednesdays. I was newly divorced raising 2 kids and one of the ladies always had an encouraging word or would tell me about resources that got them through their tough days and helped raised their kids. Eventually, their lane didn't seem so foreign anymore and I signed up for my first 5K that Fall, a 10K followed and the following Spring, I ran my first Half Marathon.
My family watched my journey and loved to tell people that I was a runner. They told them I was crazy for doing it too but their pride in me made up for that. My sister Donna would send me links to races and one day she sent me a link to some dirty race. It showed video of people happily running through mud and I thought they were nuts. That was a lane I never wanted to be in. I told Donna thanks for thinking of me but no thanks because as she knew her sister was a diva and mud was wet dirt and divas don't do wet dirt.
Six years have gone by and so much has changed. I've run 11 or 12 half marathons and a full marathon. I took a complete break from running after the marathon because life happened. Donna's battle with cancer went downhill just months after I crossed the finish line on that Sunday afternoon in March 2017. She died in the dawn hours of August 10. Grief shows up in different ways. The pavement had always been a good listener but after Donna died, I just wasn't that interested in lacing up and taking it to the pavements of Gwinnett County. Looking back, it reminded me too much of her cheerleading me on and no one needed to see cry ugly crying tears on the sidewalk so many miles from home.
A few months ago Kenetha tagged in a Terrain Race post on Facebook and encouraged me to sign up. Kenetha and I have been running together for years and most recently I have joined her at Burn Bootcamp. Burn Bootcamp has been a magical place for me these last few months. Kenetha and Collen, another BGR sole sister invited me to a free camp and one Saturday, I decided to stop watching Facebook posts about it and actually go. From the moment I walked in, I felt like I was home. Ada was so welcoming and encouraging and that was just from me signing a waiver. Then during the class, Karen, personal trainer extraordinaire checked in on me and made sure I wasn't dying. I made through the first camp sweating and smiling. I knew I had found my people. A quick word about me, I love drill sergeant kinda workouts and I may complain as the moves are being demonstrated but deep inside, I can't wait to crush it. Burn Bootcamp is where you crush it! It may not happen day one but with consistency, it comes.
Back to the tagged Terrain Race post, it wasn't the first time this has been sent to me over the years and I usually delete the tag or ignore the foolishness completely. But this time, something different happened. I only saw one face in my mind as I read about details for the race; Donna's. She knew I could do this 6 years ago way before I knew I could do this. The wet dirt wasn't even a thought. It washes off. I signed up and 41 of us from Burn Bootcamp Lawrenceville completed the race this past Saturday.
I didn't watch any videos of the race before I got to Lake Lanier and maybe I should have or maybe being oblivious was the way to go. The Terrain Race is a 3 mile run with about 20 obstacles along the way. Obstacles included wall climbs, balancing beams, running in mud water and a whole lot of other things that make very little sense. We started the race and I was crushing it and couldn't believe that this was me. It was the moment when I got to the obstacle where I carried a heavy log over my shoulder and walked through a muddy bank that I had two thoughts; the first was who made me do this and why did I think it was a good idea and the second was I am alive and I am doing this!
I miss my sister terribly. Some days I can't believe she is not here. Some days a memory will pop in my head from our childhood or our teens or even when she was in a hospital bed and I smile or laugh from my belly because that was one funny chick. Her death has been life changing for my entire close-knit family. My parents lost their first born child and came undone, my brother, sister and I lost our sister and our fearless leader, we followed everything she did. Her precious three children lost their mother and lifeline. We've had to find a new rhythm without her in it and it has been the hardest thing we have ever done but we are doing it.
Donna's death has taught me to be less fearful and to get out of my head more. Her death has taught me to go for it. It being anything that scares me. Trust me, running through mud and walking waist deep in ice-cold water at Lake Lanier were never on my bucket list. These days I don't know what's on my bucket list because it can be anything. I'm not living in a box anymore. If something is presented to me, I'm more likely to say WHY NOT than ask WHY. Life is worth living and not promised, this I know for sure. I've decided that when my end is near, I don't want to be the person wishing about things I had done and didn't get to do. I want to be the one smiling about all the memories I made.
I ran the rest of the Terrain Race with my Burn sister Tinder and amazed myself with each obstacle I crossed. I felt like every bit of a badass as I ran over that bridge to the finish line. It's gonna be a while before anyone can convince me that I'm not a badass.