Worthy Goals

Goal: Achieved.Yesterday was one of those awesome days.

You know the kind I’m talking about – the ones that you wish you could just hit the “repeat” button on and do all over again.  If you don’t know the kind I’m talking about then get out and live a little – life’s too short not to have those kind of days.

This weekend was chock full of goodness on the calendar.  Thursday night was the Chiefs draft party; Friday night was scheduled to be the First Annual South Kansas City Beer Mile; Saturday combined the Warrior Dash (morning) with the “We Dig Sherwood” sand volleyball tournament at Volleyball Beach (afternoon); Sunday caps the weekend with at least six hours of volleyball (a challenge match followed by five hours of league play…and with the weather cooperating maybe a late night of batting the ball around).

So let’s start with Thursday.  I’d been looking forward to the draft party for a while, although it seemed like the pick had been decided since 2011 so it was a little anticlimactic in that sense.  But that being said I wasn’t there to watch Roger Goodell say “With the first pick of the 2013 draft the Kansas City Chiefs select Leon Sandcastle” (although that would have been so incredibly awesome I can’t describe it) – I could have done that perched in front of a TV at home or at Stuey’s.  The draft party was all about hanging out with friends and enjoying the experience.  Mission: accomplished.  It was a great time, and I even got to throw some darts afterwards (although despite years of throwing apparently I still don’t know how to actually play…).

Friday the weather didn’t cooperate for the Beer Mile so it was postponed.  That was probably for the better all things considered; running a mile while drinking beers in the rain has “ER visits…plural” written all over it.  Instead we all hung out at a friends house to watch some of the NBA playoffs and play Jeopardy on the Wii where I learned four things I will carry with me for the rest of my life: 5 x 12 = 62, Martin Luther King actually gave the “I Have A Dream” speech (not Jr.), everybody in the world knows who Paddington Bear is except me and perhaps the most important tidbit of information I can actually profit from: I have absolutely no business ever ever ever ever ever being on the real Jeopardy.  It was a good night all around even though I called it a little earlier than I had planned in anticipation of what lay ahead on Saturday.

Saturday was simply awesome.  I got up about 8 and got ready for the Warrior Dash.  It was a little chilly out; it started out in the low 50s and overcast.  Since I knew I would probably stay warm while running the 5k I decided to don some nylon sweats (since I was pretty certain I was bound to end up wet) and a long sleeve workout shirt over a t-shirt along with my “in case of emergency use these” tennis shoes.  Getting there was pretty easy – it’s all highway – but parking…not so much.  I was running with a friend of mine and a few of his friends/family in the 10:30 heat and despite being there at 9:15 or so I ended up having to park way out in the middle of the fairgrounds which was (for an awesome HHR like mine) a little bit of a challenge – she doesn’t like driving on mud and wet grass.  But we made it and I made it to the check in with about 30 minutes to spare.

I really didn’t know what to expect.  I’d seen all the pictures and heard the stories but still didn’t really know what it was aside from a ~3 mile run with mud, obstacles and fire.  There were five of us in the group and we decided we weren’t going to run for time but instead thought it would be good to just pace ourselves as a group.  That turned out to be a great idea – when we hit several of the obstacles we were literally standing still for minutes before those ahead of us cleared out enough for us to do it, so if we were running for time we would have been highly frustrated.  The first part of the course was pretty straightforward – running on grass up, down and around gentle hills.  Then came the obstacles.  Balancing on the small side of 2x4s, climbing cargo nets, going up-and-down on wooden structures with only an inch of wood separating you from a 12-foot fall in between bursts of running up and down hills that were still slick.

And then there was the mud.  It had rained all day on Friday so the course was in PERFECT shape, although my ankles didn’t necessarily appreciate the slipping and sliding I was doing trying to run.  While jumping over fire was fun and Army-crawling under the barbed wire was great I’d run the whole dang course all over again just to play in the mud pit – and I’m not even kidding.  Next year I’m thinking about catching an earlier heat so I can run the course twice just for that.  If you were there you know exactly what I’m talking about; if you weren’t picture this:

You start by going down into a shallow pit of muddy water.  It’s only maybe six inches deep but cold (keep in mind it hadn’t topped 60 degrees outside in quite a while). And you have to run because otherwise you’ll have zero momentum going up the hill that’s probably six or seven feet tall and made of slippery mud – and you need that momentum (or someone at the top with a helping hand) to make it.  Assuming you make it up the front side of that hill you have to figure out how the hell you get down the other side of that slick mud into cold, muddy water that’s about a foot deep without ending up flat on your backside (it’s probably a 50/50 shot from my experience).  Then it’s up again and down again, then again.  It was an absolute blast.  Not just the fun and challenge of the obstacle but we had people helping each other get through it (it’s not nearly as easy as it sounds when you’re covered in mud) and watching some of the epic fails was like watching some of the cartoons from when we were kids – legs spinning while feet are trying to gain purchase…and not quite making it, ending up falling backwards into the water or face-first into the mud.  And getting down from those hills…you just accept you’re going to end up completely soaked below your waist (hint: put your Fitbit on the collar of your shirt or it will probably hate you) because that’s just how it works.

And then you have to run some more.  Run, obstacle, run obstacle, run obstacle – you get the idea.  And remember you’re covered in mud (at the very least your shoes are) so when you’re going up and down some of the obstacles you have to not just battle the up-and-down but also the fact that the hand/footholds you’re using are slick.  By the time we leapt over the fire pits and then swam through the icy water under the barbed wire to cross the finish line I couldn’t recall having spent a better hour of my life than that in an awful long time.  I have no idea (nor do I care) what our official time was – this was all about having fun, not breaking records (or bones, for that matter).  Verdict: 100% guaranteed I’m doing it again as long as I’m physically capable.  I don’t care if I have to travel halfway across the country and crawl the whole damn course – I’m in.  You can see photos from the event here – they should be up sometime this week.  If you haven’t done it yet you don’t know what you’re missing – it’s an incredibly good time.  Even if you just jog/walk the course it’s still worth going.

Side note – I’m also actually thinking about doing Tough Mudder this fall – I’d love to get a team together for that (hint, hint).  It’s in Kansas City on September 21 & 22.  If you haven’t checked that one out hit the link above (or here).  It’s not the same thing (3 miles for the Warrior Dash with fun in mind; 10-12 miles for Tough Mudder built to test your physical and mental stamina) but with a couple of the friends I’m thinking of I guarantee we could make even something involving the risk of electric shock or your body giving out on you halfway through fun (yes – I happen to have the most awesome friends anyone could ask for).

And then it was the tournament.  Jess (from Sherwood Center) is one of the most fun people you’ll ever meet and does a great job throwing a volleyball tournament (with some help from the always-incredible crew at Volleyball Beach, of course!).  I got the extreme honor of playing on Staff Infection – the Volleyball Beach staff team comprised of Katie³ (Heidrick, Pemberton and Brittain), Adam and Blake.  The turnout was pretty good considering the temperatures and overcast skies.  I came straight from the Warrior Dash to the tournament so I was caked with mud (let me tell you how much my car loves me right now…) but certainly didn’t need to warm up (although I did don a pair of sand socks – the wet sand was colder than the mud).

The team was 3-0 after the first match and a half (I arrived just as the third game was finishing)…and then it went downhill  Pool play record without Pauly: 3-0.  Record with Pauly: 1-4.  Did not bode well for me, although we played really well as a team.  I saw some of the prettiest sets, hardest hits and greatest digs I’d seen in a long time from everyone on the team but for whatever reason we couldn’t seem to pull out a win.  I don’t know if it was the new chemistry (once you get used to five adding a sixth can throw things off) or what but we let the other team get a couple of small runs and that was all it took to lose – most our losses were by 2 or 3 points.

Unfortunately that trend didn’t stop when the tournament came; we dropped in quarterfinals (despite being the #2 seed) in two straight games.  But despite that it was a blast – I had a great time and hope they’ll let me play with them again…but I’ll forego the warpaint (mud) next time.  Or maybe wear more of it – whatever has a better outcome…

After the tournament I went home and crashed for four and a half hours (I was aiming for all night…not to be) and then caught up on some Skyrim until I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  I was mildly (read: REALLY) concerned I was going to wake up this morning unable to walk the five feet from my bed to the bathroom to brush my teeth and take a shower without screaming in pain with every step but I was pleasantly surprised – save for a little soreness I feel really good.  I mean REALLY good – like “let’s go run another 5k” good.  Which means either all the training (I might be using the word “training” a little loosely here…) is paying off tomorrow I won’t be able to even move my legs.  I’m hoping for the former; betting on the latter.

Tonight is a challenge match at volleyball – quads on doubles.  That promises to be fun, especially since I haven’t played doubles all year because it’s either been rained out or because it’s been ice cold.  After that it’s three hours of sixes and two hours of quads – my favorites.

All told it was a simply spectacular weekend – one to remember (which with my friends is generally-accepted to be as good as the ones you can’t remember).  Tomorrow it’s back to the real world – but that’s OK; I get to (hopefully) wake up every day alive going to a job I love and then hanging out in the evenings with some of my favorite people.  Simply awesome.

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