100% Success for All the Bad Days

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Do you realize that no matter how bad your day has been, or things that have happened that you have a 100% track record for making it through.  A perfect score, if you will.   No matter how bad the day may seem, or how terrible you may think everything is, you made it through to fight another day.   You made it through to take on the next challenge.

I know this may seem impossible some days.   Hell I have been there.   I have been in some dark places when I was sick.   Some places I never want to go back to when I thought my world was ending that God hated me and just wanted to punish me.   I questioned why I had Lupus, why I was so sick all the time.  What I did to deserve, the pain and suffering I went through for 5 years.   Why all my hair fell out and I felt like the ugliest girl around.   Why I gained weight and was not who I used to be before being diagnosed.

All these questions ran through my head on a regular basis, trust me I had a lot more bad days than good days in the past.   The good days were few and far between, but I took advantage of them when I could.   However the bad days weighed heavily on me, just like they would on anyone else.    Bad days I have realized are what makes us who we are.   It makes us the fighters that we are today.    I see it this way, God only gives you the battles that he knows that you are going to defeat.   He wants to see you succeed and is building you up by throwing the challenges at you.

I now live my life in the mindset that I can defeat anything that is thrown at me.   Take the bull by the horns and fight.    Yes, I have my weak moments when all I can do is cry, and just let it all out, however I have some amazing people in my life that are willing to pick me up and tell me to get my head back in the game.   So no, I am far from perfect, but having these people in my life is what makes my 100% track record possible.

So be thankful for those people you have in your life, that are willing to drop everything in order to help you out.   Realize that yes, the times that you are going through may be the hardest thing you have ever done, but you can do it.   You will triumph over whatever challenge you may be faced with currently.    Everything happens for a reason, you may not understand why, but there is a reason for it.  So live on, fight, and triumph.

Someone who meant the world to me who passed away a few years ago used to tell me this “Live your life, don’t have regrets, and fight like hell.”

And remember you have a 100% track record to date, no need to worry, you got this and will come out victorious.

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I Met You For A Reason

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People will always come and go out of your life.   Not always easy to determine the why that is surrounded by it, but there is a reason.    However this also a reason that person was brought into your life.   You met them for a reason whether it be good or bad, there is a underlying reason why that person needed to be brought into your life.

I have met many people in my journey from being basically on my death bed to turning it around and now being able to help others, and be healthy again.  Now on that note not every person that I have met have had a positive result in our meeting.   There have been bad.   The bad have taught me to be stronger.   The bad have taught me that not every person truly means well with their actions.   The bad has taught me that the one that pours the heart and soul into a friendship or relationship, will be the one that feels the hurt more, but will recover quicker in the long run.

In college I was alone and sick, so very sick.   If it weren’t for Nikki and Kristy, I probably wouldn’t be around today.   They saved me and got me to the hospital so many times.   They are both amazing individuals and am thankful to have them in my life today.   They saw me at my worst and are still around and my best friends.

I have met so many amazing people in my life and journey to healthiness.    The first on my journey has to be Nikki and Sean Davis.    I was convinced to run a tough mudder by a co worker, JC, who said it would be a good idea. (keep in mind I couldn’t run a mile without stopping to walk and that was beyond embarrassing to me).   Sean and Nikki Davis encouraged me when all I wanted to do was quit.   Encouraged me when every other individual in the gym was lapping me in a work out and I was struggling through the pain to get through one round.   Nikki also taught me to love burpees.

The next two I need to call out are David and Laura.  Both of these two are amazing and have helped me realize that I shouldn’t be embarrassed by the fact that I have an autoimmune disease that basically wants to kill me every single day.   They taught me to be more of a fighter and pushed my limits and beyond on more than one occasion.

I have COR, my race family as well.  All of you are amazing and not sure what I would do without every single one of you.   You may not realize but so many of you have touched my life in one way or another and for that I am beyond thankful.

So I ask you this.   Think back about all the people that have come and gone in your life.  They were all here for a reason, whether that be a blessing or a lesson.  You just have to realize which one it is, and keep moving forward to greater and bigger things.   It’s not always easy to let the bad ones go, especially if you care, but sometimes you have to burn that bridge in order to build new ones that get you to new beginnings.

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I know I didn’t name every person that has touched my life and my journey but the point of this was to get everyone who follows my blog , to get thinking.

 

 


Being A Human Barometer

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To quote a dear friend of mine, who also has lupus: “Mother nature be like:
“the cold weather is coming. Here Lupies wrap yourself in this barbed wire blanket while I make acid course through your bones and veins and don’t even try to blink or move your eyeballs or your hair. That’s right… your hair hurts! Try to imagine one thing that doesn’t hurt. Even your lungs hurt as you try to fill them with air.”
We should be able to hover. Then it wouldn’t hurt to walk! Haha…ugh! ”

I couldn’t have put what the weather changing feels like into any better words than what she did, and it makes perfect sense.   As this latest snow storm moves in, my body is screaming in pain.  Everything hurts.   Spent a good portion of my afternoon in tears, because yes I am in remission, yes I know I was given this disease for a reason.   But I just don’t want to hurt.   I just want to be normal somedays, because being strong all the time fighting this isn’t exactly easy.   I want to be normal, and not broken.

As the barometric pressure changes, the disease reminds me it’s still here.   Acid rolling through my veins, and my skin feeling like its on fire.  When moving or doing anything hurts.  You just want to sleep but you can’t.    Breathing hurts, and it doesn’t help that I got a cold last week.   So basically hacking up my lungs.

This is part of the disease I truly don’t like.   You would think after 9 years of being with the lupus, I would get used to it but I haven’t gotten used to this.   Yes these spells of hell are small and fewer than they used to be, but when they are here, it makes life a living hell for the time being.   Medicine doesn’t help, nothing helps.   So I write.

I write so I can maybe explain to others what it’s like.   I am sure it’s not easy to understand when I say even my hair hurts.   You may ask how can hair hurt??   Words can’t explain that part.

The most frustrating part of all this is I want to be deep into training for my next year’s events.  I should be running everyday and lifting.   When all I currently have had the strength to do today is survive.

I need to continue my training, but today is not that day.   Today I have to cave to the pain that is surrounding me.     The constant reminder that I have a disease that has no cure.

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I Am Thankful I Ended up With Lupus

Odd, that you may hear me say that I am thankful that I ended up with Lupus.   A chronic disease that has no cure.   A disease that is debilitating and painful in so many ways.  But you see that disease has made me who I am today.   It has made me stronger and a fighter.   It has shaped me into the woman I am today.

Fighting a chronic illness that doctors can’t control makes life difficult.   I was in constant pain, imagine getting used to EVERYTHING hurting all the time.   That’s the first 4 years of being diagnosed.  I just got used to hurting all the time, dealt with it.  Was angry and had a lot of hatred in my heart.   I was mad and didn’t understand why I got this disease.   I questioned the person I was asking why did I deserve this.   It took a lot of time and a lot of growing to realize that God had a plan for me.   He wanted me to get lupus to help others, and more importantly become a stronger woman.

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When I hit the realization that I needed to fight, my life did a 360.    I no longer spent my weekends curled up on the couch, crying, and in pain.   Instead I pushed and cried my way through painful workouts.   I raced, and I may have been one of the last people out there, but I was fighting a battle.    This battle was not easy in beginning.   I would put on a smile after the race, but I was in so much pain that I didn’t want anyone to know.   My body was fighting back, but I had a stronger will power to beat its ass to the ground 😉

I often reflect on who I was when I was first diagnosed.   I was the girl that the hospital staff knew on a first name basis.   I knew about their families and what their kids were up to.   I spent so much of my college and a couple years after in the hospital it was depressing.   During that time, not once did I think I would be able to run, exercise, and enjoy what God has to offer in this world.

Now looking back I have realized that the very difficult times I went through for so many years made me one hell of a fighter.  Now you present me with a challenge and I will gladly take it.  I spend my weekends being active, I spend my free time working out.   I have become stronger and healthier.    I am amazed what racing and the racing community has done for me.   I am thankful for all the people I have met through racing.    Those who have pushed me to limits and well beyond them.   Those who have touched my life in ways that words can’t even explain.

I have met and helped many with lupus and chronic illnesses and for me that is one of  the biggest wins of it all.   Because I know at one point in time in my life, I was in their shoes, thinking life was over and I had to deal with the hand given to me.

I have more goals for this up coming year.   Some may seem completely outlandish, but why the hell not.  I only have one life to live.  I might as well enjoy it as much as I possibly can.  So yes I am going to push myself, continue pushing myself.  8bca16633b3ef6508081bd14d94777b2


How do you get your confidence?

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Confidence is defined by Webster dictionary as belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance.

So comes the question, do you believe in yourself?  Do you know that you can do these things you are attempting or are you venturing into a dark area in which you don’t know.

Confidence is something that I am sure EVERYONE has struggled with at one point in their lives.   I am sure at some point you doubted what you were capable of doing and if you were going to be able to do what you put your mind to and succeed.

Confidence can be burnt by words, by failure, by ourselves.    It can easily be destroyed by a single individual saying “oh you can’t do that”.  Or could that phrase light a fire under your ass and get you going.

Confidence, for me, hasn’t always been there.    When at my sickest, looking my sickest, I had no confidence in who I was or as a beautiful person.   I felt ugly, tired, and sick.   I didn’t show any confidence what so ever, because of the pictures I took, and how I looked.   I didn’t feel that I could physically do anything, because I was always tired.   My doctors continued to tell me to get used to living your life that way.   Kind of brutal but I believed them at that point in time.

I honestly can’t say I know the point in my life, besides the end of Tough Mudder, when i said I couldn’t do what I was doing anymore.  I couldn’t drink until I couldn’t feel the pain.  I was wasting my life away.

Upon making this decision, it’s amazing how confidence will begin to shine through, even though dim as can be and barely flickering.   I finally at that point realized I needed to live and believe in myself.    And that is when my confidence started to grow.

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I didn’t have all the answers.  I didn’t fully understand what I was going through in my life, but knew I didn’t want to be miserable anymore.

The biggest contributor to my confidence was and still is surrounding myself with great people, who will support you through your triumphs and failures as well.   These people are who will pick you up when you are down, and congratulate you when you succeed.

Using the confidence that I have gained throughout the years, I have now been able to do things I never thought I would be able to.   Hell I used to barely be able to run a mile, I couldn’t do it without stopping and walking.    Now I just recently signed up to run 50 miles, 50 times the distance I once struggled to do.

Confidence has been a big contributor to this.  You can see it in my face in my pictures from the past to the present.   You can see it in how I am now able to help and encourage others.

So remember this, no matter what you are going through, or troubles that you may have,  be confident and rely on those friends that you have in your life.  Remember that you don’t have to go through this alone.   There are people who are always out there willing to help get you through the hardest times.

I know I couldn’t have gained a single bit of my confidence if I didn’t rely on the people that mean the most to me in my life.   I know that my success have helped but so have my failures.

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End to a Great Race Season

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As 2015 race season ends, I felt it necessary to look back at this year.   With that helping me plan for the next year to come.  Because we all know I am not going to stop anytime soon, maybe when I am dead.

A little history, last year I struggled, almost died, and completed a trifecta.  It seriously took everything I was at that time to finish and not die, or feel like death.  I hated that I was one of the slowest people on the course.  I hated that physically I couldn’t do some things.   It’s the races I compete in that make me realize I need to work harder.

This past year has been amazing.   I started Crossfit at the end of last year, and that and my dedication to training has changed me as a “runner” or “athlete”.  Why the quotes?  I don’t consider myself either of those.  I consider myself Cassidy, who does this to survive and kick lupus’s ass every single day.   I fight my daily battle, even while I am in remission.

I originally at the beginning of the year didn’t plan on racing much was just going to work out, a lot.   Thanks to Laura and David, I was convinced I needed a season pass after they convinced me an hour before they left for Temecula to go to Temecula and race.   I still am apparently the one every turns to when they randomly need an extra person to go and race, because I struggle with that “No” word.

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Season pass, that means I race a lot.  Why not might as well get the most out of it.  Race a lot I did.   Had a lot of firsts, and failures, my first DNF.   The DNF was needed, it hurt, I cried, I was very angry.   I had trained so hard for that race and to have my damn toe nail break and poke through the side of my toe took me out, a damn toe nail.   Any ways, that DNF made me stronger, and a better person.   I realized that I am bound to fail, but not give up.  I will continue to go out and keep attempting.    My second DNF would be the grind pt test a few weeks ago.   I was feeling great going into it, and then my hip and IT band decided nope.   I couldn’t feel my leg and everything hurt after the first run.   When David and Laura pulled me for saftey reasons, I was mad and angry.  I had failed yet again, but failure makes you grow.

Since then I am now able to maintain a solid 9 1/2 minute pace while running without weight.  I also am able to maintain about an 11 minute pace with my ruck.  Grind PT test I am going to get you in a few weeks.   It’s quite amazing what failing will do to you.  I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be able to maintain that pace.  NEVER.

By the end of the race season here in a few weeks, I will have completed 4 trifectas.  Kind of crazy to think that I went from barely being able to do one, to achieving 4.    I did a lot of Ragnars, my other passion.    Two as ultra teams.

Who would have thought the girl, who when I started couldn’t even run a mile.   I had to walk a lot.    Amanda walked up to me at the Hot Chocolate this past week and said something very profound to me.  She said “Cassidy I remember when you first started working out and I was the one encouraging you to run a mile, while we trained for Tough Mudder.  Now look at how far you have come, it’s amazing!!”   That made my day, and made me realize that even though I have a chronic illness I am not giving up.

2016 is coming up.  I have goals and things I want to achieve.    I hate failure so everything I do will be to prevent failure.

1) Not die
2) 50k
3) 50 miler
4) Coin for Elites, which requires me to not be a sissy lala and actually run elites
5) MYSTERY goal
6) law school survival
7) GoRuck Challenge
8) Battan Death March Heavy
9) Crossfit Competition
10) climb that damn rope………..
11) and not die

I am not ready to share my mystery goal.  I know what it is and very close and dear friends know what it is, but not ready to share it as not going to lie, this goal scares the shit out of me.   I get in my head and yep scares me.

As silly as it may seem I really just want to achieve this list.   Even if its only one or two, I don’t care I just want to see what I am capable of next year.

Thanks for reading my rambling 🙂 and do this.   Go home or where ever you may be and write down what you want to achieve for 2016.

Training has started already, we shall see what 2016 brings.  download

 

 


Do We Really Need A Month to Start Raising Awareness??

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The whole reason I started my blog and sharing my story was to help others and raise awareness for Lupus and other autoimmune diseases.  Having a chronic illness will do several things to you.

I have lost my hair, my motivation, my vision, my ability to walk, my ability to be normal, and friends.   I think the hardest thing about having a chronic illness is that not many understand or want to understand what you are going through, it scares them.  Hell it scared me when I was diagnosed.   I was petrified because I knew what lupus was, my mom has it.  Losing friends and those you care about due to this was probably one of the hardest things to deal with.   During your sick time you need those friends, family, and support in order to be able to make it through.

I had previously lost my motivation.   I didn’t want to do anything and did the bare minimum to get by.   The minimal requirement to be functioning.  The bare minimum to be social.   The least amount of effort possible because I had no effort in me.

I lost my vision temporarily when my retina detached, but am pretty blind now.   I kid about it but seriously hate the fact that I am blind as a bat without my contacts or glasses.

My ability to be normal.  It’s hard for me to describe this from my perspective when I was super sick.  I lived in pain EVERYDAY.  It hasn’t been till recently that I knew was it was like to not hurt every day.   How it feels to have everything including your hair hurt.  On a side note I have ridiculously high pain tolerance now.

Because the drugs they give you for lupus are basically chemotherapy, I lost all my hair.   Not easy to lose all your hair when you feel and look ugly to begin with.   I was looking back at pictures and its hard for me to look at that, because I looked so sickly.

Then there is the other hand, what lupus has gained me.   I have gained lifelong friendships, strength, stubbornness, determination, a don’t quit attitude, heart, and love.    This journey started out pretty rough, very bumpy, and definitely not pretty.   But as the journey progressed, I have discovered many things about myself.  I was given this for a reason.   I need to help others.   I have gained strength, its amazing what you are willing to try when someone tells you that “you can’t do that you have lupus”.   I have gained my stubbornness which part of the strength but don’t mess with me trying to achieve a goal.  I am determined to beat this disease.  I am determined to show it that I am the boss, and have been successful so far, but the battle never ends and I will continue the fight.

October is Breast Cancer awareness month yes, but it is also lupus awareness month (depending on who you talk to), but do we really need a month to raise awareness?   I am beyond thankful that I am now in remission and have worked very hard to get to where I am at now.   I changed my diet and lifestyle.   I changed a lot in my life so that I could enjoy my life once again.

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I want awareness to be raised about the less common diseases such as Lupus.   I want research to be done so we could work towards a cure or medicine that isn’t so toxic to the patient.  I want solutions.  I want to help those that are suffering.   I want those that are in pain everyday to not be in pain ever again.   I want people to understand instead of running away from the diagnosis (don’t worry you can’t catch lupus from me 😉 ).

So many things I would love to have for those diagnosed.   One step at a time and sharing my story is only the beginning.

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STOP! What are you thankful for today?

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Most times all of us, myself included, are way too busy to stop and think what we are thankful for.     Life wraps us up so much sometimes, that we don’t take that few moments to be thankful for something, anything.

Everyone, no matter how rough your life may be, has something or someone to be thankful for.  We all have that something.  So what is your something?   What do you want to thank God for giving to you?   What has been brought into your life that you are truly thankful was brought in?  What have you accomplished that you are thankful for?

I am asking you to take a moment, pause the hectic life that you may have, and think for just a moment what you are thankful for.   Tomorrow has not been promised to us, we each need to live each and every day to the greatest that we can.   Thank those that have helped you, be thankful for everything, anything, and nothing.

That being said I am thankful for my health today.   I had a terrible dream last night about being back in the hospital.   As many know I lived in the hospital a lot when I was sick.   It’s not exactly the best or most comfortable place to be.  It’s miserable, its a sign that you are really sick, and struggling to be okay, to be alive.    I hated being in the hospital every single time.  I hated the fact that I was so sick, that there was nothing I could.   Hell, at times there was nothing the doctors could truly do.  I never want to go back there.   I never want to be weak and sick.   I never want to rely on a doctor to make me better, when I know what I am doing is working.

Secondly I am thankful for everyday I wake up, no matter how rough of a day it may be, we were given another day to experience life to its greatest.   To accomplish the dreams that we had.   To accomplish the goals that we want to accomplish.   Be thankful for this day given to you and go out and live and accomplish everything.   Set your mind to a goal and go out and achieve it.

So stop for a few minutes, and think of what you are thankful for.   Thank those you need to, let them know they mean a lot to you.

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Four Years in the Making

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This coming weekend, I will once again run Tough Mudder.   Tough Mudder holds a special place in my heart since that is the first ever OCR race I ran, and it seriously about killed me.   I am pretty sure I came close to dying that day four years ago.   But it also made me realize that I didn’t want to live my life that way.

I will always run Tough Mudder, I will always show up for this race, because if it weren’t for it I wouldn’t be where I am today.

I look back at the pictures from that day and think wow, I really was not happy.   I wasn’t healthy.   Lupus was killing me slowly.

I am not who I was 4 years ago, I have grown to be healthier, stronger, and happier.   This has been a fight, a struggle, and some days felt pointless.  But every day no matter what I got up and fought the best that I was able to do.

Doing Tough Mudder every year is proving that I have beat the battle that I am fighting, and will continue fighting.    I am not going to stop the fight until they find a cure.   There are many others out there that don’t know if they have anything left in them to fight, but I want to help others get up and do whatever it may be to start the fight.  No matter how small.   We all had to start somewhere.

I started on the first hill at Tough Mudder four years ago when my little brother Alex, basically had to pull me up the hill crying because my body was already fighting me.   My little brother didn’t let me quit and I have to thank him for pushing me to finish.   He is an amazing individual and if it weren’t for him and Shannon I wouldn’t be where I am today, I probably would have given up.   They stuck with me and listening to me cry and complain for a really long 8 hours on the course, but for that I am thankful.

Fast forward to today, I will have 5 trifectas this year and two laps at tough mudder, on top of 2 ultra marathons, and numerous other races.  That’s right ultra marathons!   Go figure I would go from barely even being able to walk a mile, let alone run an ultra marathon.   Hard work, dedication, and heart do truly pay off.  No I am not the fastest one out there, no I will never win a race, but I have the biggest heart and determination to achieve what I put my mind to.


What’s Your Burden?

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This past Saturday I took part in Burden Operation Company’s Limit Pusher Event.   This event is intended to be a 12 hour endurance event where you carry weight (men and women different weights) and ruck around the trails doing PT and other activities while being part of a team (yep good run on sentence there).

A bit about the Burden Operation Company from the Leaders and Owners themselves :

Burden Operation Company
The reason we named it that is all of us have a burden be it from family to work, from kids to your past, from a death or guilt.. but not all burdens are bad and not all bad burdens need to weigh you down… instead of letting the weight of the burden we decided to use it as fuel and instead “Honor Burdens by crushing limits “

     My Burden is also my guilt and my fuel alot of people have heard me talk about my buddy ryan. I did not know ryan for very long we meet via spartan street team. He knew me and my ex wife very well. When my divorce struck I was devastated. He kept me training and gives me the “guys / spartan way of thinking ” a few times I thought about taking my life and a few times I tried… dude would show up and pound my door till i opened it..  I looked up to him a lot and his love for life and people around him. The year 2013 my first spartan world championship I had lots of doubt in my heart he called me up to check on my the day before the check on me knowing I was doubting myself. I didn’t feel worthy to be alive never mind even at the championship… He said some spartan aroo aroo aroo told me this is what I work for as I just blamed my failed marriage and life and etc he said loudly and sternly
“Dave shut the fuck up! Look your a good guy your a spartan at heart” then he said the most profound thing to me “You define yourself nothing more nothing less” a few more encouragements then off to the mountians with his girlfriend.
Well after the weekend and being home I get a call from a buddy “Dave. …… ryan is dead… ” you read that right he died.. how? He committed suicide the one thing he kept me from so many times .. how can I not see it in his eyes? Was I that self centered? How, what,  and why was my thoughts… at his funeral services you saw 1st hand the sheer numbers of people he effected.
Do I feel survivors guilt? Why yes I do? Why him and not me? Do I feel guilt I wasn’t able to save him? Again yes I do..
This is my burden this is my weight on my shoulders .. I have chose to keep living in the memory of ryan the things he taught me in the short time I knew him.

Who was Ryan? Ryan was probably 1st person I met that loved spartan race as much as I did he was also the one that taught and showed me what a limit pusher was, introduced me to goruck and got me to sign up with him and I learned I loved rucking!! He loved to have fun and live life, truly loved it and lived it to his fullest, always smiling and always laughing. A true spartan by heart and code not company or brand

At the beginning of the operation, we were given a brick that said “Ruckin for Ryan”.   Ryan was a dear friend of David, who David worked out with and looked up to in many ways.   We got asked to write the burden that we live with everyday.    A burden that sits heavy on our shoulders with every day we live.   Mine was “Living with a disease that doesn’t have a cure and tries to kill me everyday”.  Lupus lives with me everyday, I currently have it in control but it still is there I don’t know when its going to rear is ugly head.   I don’t know when I am going to have to deal with it.   It does sit heavy on my shoulders.  However, people in the group also dealt with many other things that were much worse than what I deal with daily.   They had real life problems that burdened them EVERY day of their lives.

A little background is needed on this operation.   I did this operation last year, I am sure I can go back and find the post, but it was terrible.  I lost the weight out of my ruck within a mile of starting. ONE MILE , I physically was unable to walk up the very first hill, my body was screaming at me for even attempting something like this.   I live in pain on  most days and I try to play it off and ignore it.   Why? Because I don’t need the sympathy.  I don’t need to hear it from people, but good friends know when its true.   David saw that and pulled my weight.   That weighed heavy on me that everyone else was able to keep their weight and I had to give mine up.   Needless to say and here this post is not about last year but to just highlight what happened last year.  Also the mental state I was in going into this year’s event considering what happened last year. Link to last year’s post (http://lupuscombat.com/?p=186)

This year I wanted it to be different, I didn’t want to fail.   I didn’t want a repeat of last year.  I didn’t want to not be able to complete the task at hand.  As we started all of this weighed on me.   I am always thinking about how I am going to do, if I am not going to be able to complete the tasks that we are challenged with everyday.  I am my worst critic.  I am my own worst enemy when it comes to tasks like this.

As we met up with everyone in the parking lot, some of us knew each other some of us however didn’t.   They were race buddies, but we may not have actually known each other that well.  This event proved to change that.   It would pull us closer than any of us every probably thought at the beginning.    There were 9 of us total: Josh, Wade, Paul, Ralph, Bryan, Jack, Jessica, and Alicia.  These people over the next 12 hours would become some of the closest friends I can count on.    These events are unlike other races, you must work together to achieve a goal.  You must work together and come together as a team.  And come together as a team we did. 🙂

We started with PT in the parking lot.   Exercises that was each of our favorites.   We were supposed to have 15 people come to the event.    So the number of the moves was 15.  We did sit ups, flutter kicks, squats, jumping jacks, push ups, etc.   This was while we were waiting for one more team member to show up since he was late.  Upon his arrival we had to do a burpee for every ten minutes that he was late.   So we did burpees as a team.  The reason not only one person was punished was because we are a team, not individuals.   There is no I in team……..

A few laps in the parking lot and then we were off on the trail.  I was nervous to say the least.   I didn’t know what my body would do.   I didn’t know what the day would hold.  We started off on the trail, trudging along, me taking puffs of my inhaler because breathing seemed to be slightly difficult at the beginning.   Once I get going I am ok, so I was a little slower at the beginning then the rest but I would find my grove.   Along the trail we had to stay within arms reach of each other, if not we would have to carry that person.     I was pulled back by Laura, and Josh kept asking back if I was ok, and she would make a noise as if it was me.  They figured out it wasn’t me and the whole team had to come back and pick me up.   So someone on the team had to carry my ruck and had to carry me.   This is harder than it appeared because you are using your arms to hold on for dear life, since I have the worlds shortest legs, I could lock my ankles while being piggy back carried.

Finally we were able to put people down, and we continued on.   We reached the bridge that I intimately remember, because the hill that about killed me was around the corner.  The hill that I cried on last year because my legs hurt so much, the hill on which David took my weight from me.  This year however I had my ruck which was close to 40 lbs and then had strapped two gallons of water on each side.  And I made it up the hill without a problem, without pain.  I wanted to jump and down with joy.   That hill was a huge accomplishment.   Many may not understand the impact of making it up a hill, but for me it was huge.    We continued on, and at points had to carry another individual, so I carried another ruck.   I was able to do this several times, hell I even volunteered.   I would have never been able to physically do that last year.  I could barely carry an empty back pack let alone two weighted rucks.

We started working together as a team after the first few failed time hacks.  Everyone had their place on the team and we all worked together as a team to make our goals.

Water oh how I love the water, cold or not I love water.  We encountered our first water experience.  We were required to do burpees in the water (another favorite) while some did squats.   It was awesome.

The first real group challenge we had was a group push-up.   the person in front put their shoulders on the person behind them’s shoulders and so on and so forth.  As a group we had to do a push up.  This was a hell of a lot harder than it first seemed.   And after multiple attempts and rearranging we were unable to get a push up in.

We had to continue on the trail and had fifteen minutes to make it to the picnic area.  My other favorite water spot.   This is where I first fell in love with water burpees last year.   The first task at hand was making it up the river to a stick and turning back around and making it back to where we started.

After this we were required to go into the water again to do some river Yoga.  The best kind of Yoga! Nothing like stretching out in the river and getting our muscles and icy chill.  After the nice little splash in the water we need to do full submersion water burpees (WOOT WOOT).   The burpees didn’t count if the head didn’t go under.  So we did have a few no reps but we all got the hang of it and were able to knock out the burpees, despite making a few people uncomfortable.   But that is the point of the operation, you have to push into that uncomfortable zone to see what you are really capable of.  As weird as it may seem I requested to do 5 burpees in a row on my own (full submersion).   And I loved every minute of it.

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At that point we were able to get out of the water and required to memorize a poem.  At that point each of us were required to memorize this poem and recite it.    All of us were able to successfully complete this task.

Back in the water!!!! Flutter kicks my favorite.   I feel sorry for anyone that sits next to me, because my intention when I flutter kick is to splash as much as humanly possible, including myself.   This was an awesome one, there are some great pictures, and apparently had both operators David and Laura, laughing till they cried.  Hey I do what I can 🙂

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all you see is my pink sock and blue shoe 🙂11920385_10206352635085964_2089254218_n

splashing myself 😉11949516_10206352635445973_951011951_n

After that back to warming up.

Ralph was the man that carried everyone, if we had an “injury”, he was the first to step up, it was one of these occasions that I had the honor of wearing his ruck.  Let me tell you it wasn’t light.  I had to guide Jessica through some rocky trail, because she lost the privilege of her vision for this specific section.   So while carrying Ralph’s ruck and guiding Jessica we made our way back to the bridge we had crossed and had a toll in order to  cross.  We had to do a group crab walk.  This is harder than it seems.   But for the girls who could barely get there arms on the ground, the boys basically just picked us up and lifted us out.   On the last push when I was on the back of the train i kind of went flying because Wade who was behind me had stood up and I wasn’t quite ready for it.   🙂 It’s all good all part of the operation.

Back to the location where we first entered the water.  We had to play a game “Mother may I” using three movements, of our choosing and Laura’s approval to get to a specific movement on the trail.  The first one there would get to pick the movement they do.  We were all going through movements and getting close.  I intentionally was holding off on burpee broad jumps until we got closer I knew within a distance I could get three and make a fair amount of distance.   Sure enough the last time that I got to go I used my burpee broad jumps and made it across.  I however didn’t chose the weight that David would have to carry, as a team we did.  Josh’s ruck would be carried by David and we got his, which was significantly lighter.  Next, three of the men had to go out and find a log that David and Laura found suitable for us to carry.    The first log was found in appropriate.   So while they were out on the search the rest of us did PT.    One of the PT movements was dead lifting that original log with all the rucks attached to it, totaling close to 250 lbs.    As a group we lifted the weight.  Then it was the girls turn to deadlift it, us three girls were able to lift it without a single problem.  The boys did the same.   Then david wanted us to bench press it.   The boys went first, the girls were allowed to help and guide on the first rep, then they were on their own for I believe two reps.   Then the girls turn.   Bench pressing that much weight is not easy by any means.   The three of us did it though, even without the men helping.

BENCH PRESS!!11950768_10206352633165916_728623608_n 11911624_10206352632765906_2112047414_n

The boys finally came back with an appropriate log.   However the PT group was just getting ready to do the crossfit work “Diane” with our rucks.   30 thrusters for time.   This happens to be one of my favorite movements in crossfit.   I was able to complete mine and then help out fellow team mates make it through the rest of theirs.   This was probably physically demanding simply because of the movement.  That movement is not easy by any means, and I have to call out Alicia who thrusted the men’s weight and did in under 4 minutes.    She is a little ball of dynamite and never gives up!! Great job !!

Back on the trail with the heavy log.   I volunteered to carry two rucks as we made it back to the location where we had just left.    Which was the picnic area.   We were required to keep our log and take it with us.   I helped out as much as could with the log but one of the things that I need to work on is grip strength.  I have been struggling with the muscles in my forearms and hands spasming uncontrollably.  I don’t know why they are doing this, and probably need to have that looked at.   So as soon as I helped and held on for awhile I couldn’t anymore.  We finally got to a steeper section of the trail.  You could tell in everyone’s looks on their faces that we were worn down, that physically we were all exhausted.  We had done a lot throughout the day.   David and Laura gave us the option to do a workout or to keep carrying the log.   We chose to do the workout instead of caring that beast of a log.   The ladder workout with lunges, pushups, and situps is what we started with.  However as we hit the second rung of the ladder, David gave us the option to do 30 8-count body builders.    As individuals we did the body builders, and then were able to help out our teammates complete theirs.  This was one of the best times that we worked as a group to finish a task.

We were on the final stretch and almost to the start point.  After a few minutes as we were nearing the finish, we were asked to pull the brick with our burden on it.  We were reminded that we had been carrying that burden all day.   I couldn’t help but start sobbing.  I had done something that one year ago I was not able to do.   I was not able to carry weight at all last year.  To think about the accomplishments I have made are astounding to me.   I was happy to see what Crossfit has done for me and that I am able to do these things now without hurting.

We walked in silence for a good section of trail.  Laura asked that each of us carry the team weight one last time.  This had to be done for me, I had to carry that, I had to prove to myself, not another living soul that I was able to do this.  During that carry, tears flowed again, because 4 years ago as well I couldn’t walk most days.   I couldn’t get out of bed.   I was in a really really bad place.  Fast forward to this weekend and I was able to carry heavy things.  We all carried the weight one final time.

As we reached the parking lot, we were all proud of the fact we had finally made it.  We were done, but we had one last task.   We needed to do burpees for each of our teammates.  At this point we could share our burden and what we had been carrying around with us all day long.   This was something I struggle with sharing at times still, I am criticized by some, none of our group that day, but others that believe I am just craving intention.  No my disease is real, I live with it every day.   We went around and shared our burdens with the group.  This was an emotional time for all of us.  There are many in the group that carry a lot of weight on their shoulders and are smiling every day, putting on a show that everything is ok.  I am not going to call out any of the group those are their burdens, I just happen to share mine every day.   But to each of my fellow burden teammates, I am so damned proud of each and every single one of you.  You accomplished a lot on Saturday. You over came fears, you conquered goals, we all laughed, we cried, and we succeeded in completing this goal.   You have the right to be proud and raise your head high because of what was accomplished.  I am thankful for each and every one of you that day.

Comparing this to last year, this year did have its harder aspects, I am not sure if it had anything to do with the mental state I was in last year, or if it was everything in general.  We carried a log that was a lot easier to carry than last year.   The PT seemed harder this year but I was able to do it, we didn’t have as much PT last year, or I completely blocked that from my mind.

I have done several of Burden Operation Company’s endurance outings.  This is truly the hardest one they have.  This one was not only physically demanding but mentally as well.  This one holds a special place in my heart and always will, I will be back for more trust me.

Well the story doesn’t end here, sorry this is a long one.   The next things up was we had to go to Boulder High School in order to do the Grind PT test.   I was pushing myself beyond anything I have ever done before.   The next thing harder than this was running a trifecta in a weekend, the previous weekend from this.   So apparently I am trying to run myself to the ground.

Several of us showed up to attempt the Grind PT Test, this would allow you to do the grind and be able to continue for the evening.  The ones that showed up for the testing were Alicia, Ralph, Jack, Paul, and myself.  We were all crazy enough to keep going.   This would be the first time that I have done this and to say I am nervous is putting it lightly.

The test for the Grind is as follows:

2:00 minute push-up test  m-40 F- 30

2:00 minute sit up test f-40 m-50

5 min burpee test – 60

15 min 1.5 mile unweighted run

40 min rucking 5k males
45 min rucking 5k females

Bear-ly Breathing 35 min time cap
3 rounds
10x front rack squat w/ruck
50m Bear crawl
15x curls w/ruck
50m Bear crawl
20x Burpees
50m Bear crawl

50m = 164 feet or 82 feet down and back

On a football field it’s 20 yards

I could tell that my body was feeling the effects of the day’s activities.  I didn’t want to tell anyone that my right leg hurt a lot or that I couldn’t get my right arm to stop shaking.  I was holding my arm close to me so no one would see it.   I didn’t want anyone to know what my body was doing.

So we started the PT Test.  Burpees up first.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love burpees however, doing burpees after a 12 hour day isn’t as easy.  But I was able to finish the burpees with a few seconds to spare. PHew one down a few more to go.

Pushups were next and my arm shaking was a problem.   The pain in my lower arm was bad, it hurt.   I knew I was going slower than the rest of the group and was petrified of failing.  I hate being a failure and not completing what I put my eyes on.   I finished the pushups barely I knocked out the last 5 as fast as I could.

Next up situps.  I can do situps, thank you crossfit.  We do a lot of them butterfly style so I am able to knock them out without a problem.

Running was up and I knew the leg was hurting.   I knew this was going to be a struggle.   I knew this was going to hurt.  6 laps around the track is what we had to do, this is where I struggled to stay out of my own head.   After two laps I was going to quit.  My leg was fighting me, I was struggling to tell if it was from the lupus or an injury.   I am usually decent at figuring out the difference.   I pushed on after lap two and kept going.  I found my rhythm and didn’t stop to walk after that.    I pushed, I got lapped by everyone, which was for me discouraging.  Its hard for me to explain how much it hurts for me to be lapped, I know I am not an elite athelete by any means, but I give it my all.  I am slow I know this but discouraging that I wasn’t keeping up.   I finished that 1.5 miles in 14:55, sprinting the last section faster than I ever have before.

Next up the ruck.   My leg was hurting and both David and Laura know that it was.   I kept pushing though I was moving slow and the leg was hurting more and more.   I made it four laps before them pulled me off the track and said I needed to stop so I didn’t get hurt.   I cried, I failed.  I didn’t finish something that I wanted to finish. This was hard for me, I immediately broke down, I couldn’t handle this.  I couldn’t believe I wasn’t going to finish.  I felt like a failure, I know everyone is going to tell me I wasn’t but in my eyes I was.   It was hard and almost shameful to not be able to continue on.   I was willing to take the two brick penalty and continue on.  But after doing a few laps with the ruck I wasn’t even able to bear crawl, without excruciating pain in my leg.   I had to be smart I had to stop.  I didn’t complete the first Grind Ops that I have ever tried.  This was hard for me.  I needed to do this, but couldn’t.  I wished the guys good luck, both Paul and Ralph had finished the ruck and knew they were on track to making it to the grind.

On the way home I got to think a lot.   A lot about the day and what I had done.   As hard as it is for me, I was able to achieve things I didn’t achieve last year.  I was able to help others achieve things as well.  I went from being the weakest operation member to being one of the team again and no one having to carry my weight.  So as hard as it was despite not completing the PT test I am ok with it now.

Congratulations to the Grind Operations Completers.   You guys killed it last night and probably did a lot of things you never thought you would.   Ralph, Josh, Jack, and Paul congratulations on finishing and completing one hell of a task.  Watch out I am going to make sure I finish the PT test next event.  I will come back and will eventually get this.

So to end, what is your burden?  Does it hold you back?  Does it push you to keep going?  Does it weigh so heavily you cave to its weight?  Whatever your burden is, remember you aren’t not alone in this battle, you have a team behind you.  You may not have known this person to begin with but in the end you will have people who have your back and are willing to help you through the struggle.   This is why I love Burden Operation’s Events, you make friends that you never once thought that would be your friend.