I haven’t written in a while and a lot has happened since Saturday. That means I’m most likely going to meander and that there will actually be a few posts; one for my post-race thoughts, and one for the rest of life.
Without further ado,
here’s the outcome of my Warrior Dash 2017.
Saturday was amazing. Of course, I only got a few hours of sleep because I couldn’t get my brain to settle down. Despite all of that, I was in fairly good spirits when I actually got up, albeit a little slowly.
Big Bad picked up breakfast from Chick-Fil-A. He ate my hashbrowns and drank my coffee because I didn’t want either of them, but I thoroughly enjoyed the chicken biscuit he brought me. Since we had time, we ate in my living room, which I guess isn’t really all that special in most situations but since he very rarely comes over to my apartment it made the occasion feel special and reinstilled the notion that I really should get a kitchen table.
After we ate we grabbed our bags and headed out. I drove which I was fine with. I played music and we chatted pretty much the whole way there. The times we lapsed into silence were comfortable and I enjoyed them just as much as our conversation.
The day was bright and sunny and it warmed nicely as we drove to the race. We were there an hour earlier than I had been last year, so parking was better. We took out our bags, walked up to the race site and proceeded to do all of the check-in stuff; signed the waiver saying if we died we wouldn’t sue, got our IDs checked so we could get beer afterward, picked up our racing bibs, and stashed our bags so we could race.
It was actually a pretty painless process even though it was a little different than how I did things last year. I was a St. Jude Warrior last year so I was allowed in a special area. I’m glad we figured everything out without incident despite the small changes. I switched my shoes from sandals to my Vibrams, forgot to put sunscreen on so I’m toasty burnt as I type this, and headed towards the start line.
Big Bad and I stood together. There was a family dressed up as the Incredibles. The announcer dude was playing pretty good music as we stood waiting for our wave to start. It was fun. I was a little nervous. This was going to be my first time running a race with someone else, it was going to be the first time I had run with another person in general in a while. I didn’t know what to expect but I didn’t let that eat away at me like I would have in my past. I acknowledged those feelings were there, respected them, and let them exist alongside my anticipation and excitement.
The countdown started, the flames when up, and then we were shuffling forward as we waited for space to form between people so we could actually run.
When we were able to start running it was nice. We had a slower pace than what I would normally do on my own, which was fantastic since I don’t pace myself well, which always leads me to burn out too soon. This year was also different in that it was sunny and dry. Last year it had rained the night before and started to rain again halfway through my race.
Because it was dry, the dirt was more like sand. It felt similar to running on the beach and my legs could tell the difference. The rain last year had packed the dirt down, making the run, overall, smoother.
It was interesting to note the difference. Even though I was running better, breathing better, and had way better endurance, the run itself was harder and pushed my limits. I wasn’t able to run the whole thing, but I did well and I know I did better than I did last year, and feeling that difference made it worth it.
I made it over every obstacle, even the new ones I hadn’t done before. Big Bad lost his glasses on Goliath, but took it in stride and didn’t let the mishap taint the experience.
When we crossed the finish line we were both given participation medals. We stood in line and got official Warrior Dash pictures taken together. We were hugging during it, which made me feel good. This was our first “real” outing, other than getting dinner together the few times we have, so the public displays of affection meant a lot to me.
After the pictures, we retrieved our bags and got in line to shower off. That, too, meant a lot to me. We held hands, we leaned against each other. When it was our turn he helped me rinse off and I returned the favor. Technically that was our first shower together. Covered in mud, using a garden hose surrounded by countless strangers, and yet it is one of the memories I think I’ll always cherish.
I suppose now is as good a time as any to admit that Big Bad is older than I am. Significantly. Part of me worries about people coming up and saying things like, “Isn’t he old enough to be your dad?” It’s that type of age difference. It’s why the public affection means a lot. Him reaching for my hand or wrapping his arm around me, his initiating the contact let me know that we’re ok. It doesn’t matter what other people think.
The shower was another instance of “it doesn’t matter what people think”. It was also non-sexual. It was a safe, controlled environment, sort of like a baby step for me, instead of diving headfirst into the deep end of all my insecurities and emotional baggage. The memory of hosing off makes me smile. A lot of my memories about the race make me smile.
Once we had washed as much of the mud off as we could we got our free beer and I went on the epic quest to find my food voucher for the meal I had prepaid for. That ended up being super annoying but being able to eat after the race was nice. We had a few beers together, got to watch a dance off competition to Micheal Jackson’s Thriller song, saw some tug of war matches, and were entertained for a while by some questionably drunk girls dancing.
It was fun but after a little bit, we were both ready to head home and shower for real. While we were driving out of the parking field Big Bad said he had “oodles of fun”. It warmed me to hear him go on about what a great time he had and how he wants to do it again. I had been worried he wouldn’t like the experience, but he had a blast and I’m so incredibly glad he did.
He’s actually already started looking into other tough mudder races. We have plans to run the Spartan in December but want to find something mid-year to run so we have a short term goal to keep us motivated.
I like thinking that he exposed me to jujitsu and I exposed him to tough mudders. It’s amazing having someone to share this interest with; someone who legitimately wants to have these experiences with me rather than feeling guilted into them, or doing them out of a sense of obligation. It feels bonding and I like being able to share this part of myself with someone.
The drive back was quieter. We were both tired, but still looking forward to the evening. We had made plans to see The Lego Batman movie if we survived our race. Well, we survived so movie time was happening.
I parked the car, we hugged and parted ways for a bit. After showering I put on my Warrior Dash 2017 shirt and headed over to Big Bad’s place. We cuddled for a short time since we didn’t want to be too early to the movie. Eventually, we dragged our tired bodies out of bed and headed to the theater.
We went to the cinema grill that’s nearby. Originally I had picked it because tickets are cheaper there. We ended up ordering burgers and drinks though, so they got their money out of us. I drove, Big Bad wanted to pay. I’m getting more comfortable with him spending money on me.
I still fully intend to pay for our next outing, but the thought of him covering our movie night doesn’t make my stomach tight is dread and anxiety. I don’t have this overwhelming feeling of a debt that needs to be paid or else it will be used against me. I mean… those feelings are still sort of there, lingering in the background, grumbling a little bit, but mostly I feel cared for and appreciated. It’s like when I take a friend out to lunch and I pay. I do it because I care about them and I want to do something nice.
I feel like that’s what it is for Big Bad. He’s not doing it to obligate me to things later. He’s doing it because he wants to. Because it makes him feel good to do something nice for me. At least I think that’s what it is. That’s what I want to believe it is rather than the icky feelings and fears of my past.
It’s weird being on the opposite side of the situation. I feel like this is growth on my part. It’s something I mentioned in therapy yesterday. I said it feels like I’m relearning how to have a healthy relationship. Emotionally I’m starting to feel more and more secure. I talk to him about the emotional events going on in my life, which, if you stay tuned for the next post will have all of the details illustrating that statement.
This, too, the security, is a weird feeling. But, I like it.
The movie was amazing because he’s Batman. Seriously, if you take nothing else away from this long, drawn out writing, at least remember that you have to go see that movie because it’s totally worth it and amazing.
We ate our burgers, which were actually pretty good. We headed back to his place afterward. There was sexy time which is always amazing, and then we curled up together and slept.
I slept well. It’s been getting easier to fall asleep next to him. A lot of the time it’s hard for me to. I enjoy being there. I enjoy hearing his heartbeat and feeling his breathing, but sleep itself can be elusive. I worry about tossing and turning and waking him up. I worry about getting congested because I’m somewhere other than my own bed and then snoring and being “unsexy”.
I know those are silly things to stay up all night fretting about, but it’s what I do. Lately, I’ve had an easier time falling asleep and staying asleep. Saturday night was a night where I actually slept deeply. I woke up at one point and Big Bad wasn’t in bed. It didn’t bother me though because I knew I was safe. Either he needed to use the restroom or he couldn’t sleep. I snuggled deeper into the covers and the next thing I knew it was morning. I don’t remember him coming back to bed at all even though we woke up next to each other, which to me is big because that means I didn’t wake up when he came back into the room. My brain didn’t think it was threatening so it let me stay asleep.
The morning was slow and lazy and fantastic as we both took stock of where we were sore and how the next thing on the to-do list for the day was running another 5k. Of course, that was a joke as the thought of doing anything physical was so not even in the top 100 of the things that were going to happen that day. When I mentioned waking up and him not being in bed he said even though he had been exhausted he hadn’t been able to fall asleep right away.
Eventually, we parted ways. We hugged and kissed goodbye. I felt extremely connected and peaceful when I left.
Saturday was an amazing day. As I said in my pre-race post, this, this event, this day, is the start of MY year. It was a pretty fantastic start. And with the other events that have transpired since then, it seems like it’s going to be a pretty awesome year.
Oh… and pics… because it happened.