The Distance Traveled- Guest Blog (SYR)

The journey to your first November Project workout doesn’t begin the first time some stranger yells “just show up!” from their car window as they pass. It started long before that. It’s been a long, twisted, muddy path, but it ultimately led you here. And we’re so glad you’re here! Guest blogger Stacy Underwood reflects on one of the many milestones that helped shape her journey…

Thank goodness for Facebook Timeline. I was just reminded that I ran my very first race 6 years ago. Not to be too dramatic but one lowly mud run changed my life in ways I would have never imagined.
“Let’s do a run!” my friend and coworker Morgan suggested.
“Ummmm I don’t really do that running thing,” I replied.
“Not like a serious run,” she persisted, “It is an obstacle course challenge in the mud. We could be a team…The Dirty Dads…and we’ll have costumes….it will be a blast! You won’t even notice you are running from one obstacle to the next. Plus, the event isn’t for months, so you’ll have plenty time to get ready.”
I will be honest, I was sold at the idea of wearing costumes and playing in the mud; I am a sucker for organized outfits and shenanigans.

And thus began my training. I would wake up every weekday morning at 5:00 and sneak out of my apartment and hit the streets of Marcellus, NY. My strategy was that if I got up early enough, I would not have to worry about anyone judging me. I was my only critic. Self conscious of my efforts to improve myself and to take on a new challenge.
I started out running one extended block every morning. It was tough, but I pushed until it became routine. Then I stretched my route to two blocks…three…four…. And on I went slowly moving forward each day. Some days were more of a struggle than others but I knew I had keep on pushing myself.

Costumes were made.
Race day came.

Morgan and I lined up side by side at the start line. I honestly was so nervous, my knees were shaking, my mouth was dry. I did not know if I could finish or if I would finish, but just like in my training I pushed on. One foot in front of the other. One mud pit after the next. Five adrenaline fueled kilometers of running, hurtling, rope swinging and tire flipping through the mud.
Once Team Dirty Dads hurtled over our last mud mound and down into a pool of muddy water for the messy, photo worthy finish, I knew that I was exhausted, thirsty, and absolutely hooked.
This particular run was my first run, but it would not be my last run.  On I have ran, mile after mile; race after race; still one foot in front of the other. It is not always easy but each day is a journey, an opportunity, and a chance to improve.
–Stacy M. Underwood 

“I don’t really do that running thing.”
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