By Suzette Vasquez Daley
As Rene carefully pins my runner number on, my mind is racing with excitement and a little bit of fear… “…Can I really do this?… What if I got in over my head?…What if I embarrass myself??…”
I’m fast approaching my 50th birthday in April. I’m getting older and have spent the past six months re-evaluating my life, spiritually, mentally and physically. Spiritually, I have a strong faith in God and made some firm commitments to ensure I stay the course in my walk.
I made a decision to join Ladimax to work on the physical part. I know me. And I know I am one that needed to the tools and accountability. What I didn’t know is that this would help me in the third area. It’s been a game changer.
I started in November but unfortunately I didn’t commit to the eating plan and by nature, fell out because I felt like I failed. A few weeks later, I decided I had to do something and reached back out to our Ladimax trainer, Nicole Sanders and try again. She welcomed me. Not with judgment, not with questions but with open arms. So I began again.
Only one and a half months into the program, my online friend, Ruthie, who joined the group about the same time, messaged me saying that Rene and Nicole would be coming to Florida to participate in something called the Warrior Dash. She was thinking about going and she wanted me to come. My response? Hesitation…then, “I’m so leery of running” to which Ruthie replied that she couldn’t either and we could walk it together. Was I ready for this? I had never done any type of race or obstacle course before. Okay, I thought as I drew in a deep breath and typed back my response.
I was in.
Suzette, Rene, Nicole and Ruthie.. all clean at the start!
Saturday February 5th, 2016, we all met up together. I was already super excited just to meet Rene, Nicole and Ruthie in person. On the ride up, I had told Nicole and Rene that although I had never done anything like this, I had decided that I would at least try to attempt each obstacle. We met up with Ruthie, hugged, talked and then we started getting ready.
I looked down to where Rene had pinned my number into place. My name was printed at the top, making it that much more real to me. We headed to the starting line. Nicole and Rene were awesome, encouraging us every step of the way. They were going to run so we agreed we would meet at the end. After a hilarious, crazy start off, (suffice it to say people were jumping the start line and the teens in charge were anything but..) we were off. Ruthie and I chatted as some ran around us and a few others walked behind us. We were getting deep in conversation when we happened upon the first obstacle. A pond of water with a floating sort of raft, where the others ahead of us had already crossed and were swimming/walking to the shore. Ruthie and I instantly decided to pass. We walked around it and continued our convo when we came upon the second obstacle.
Could I do it? I decided to try!
It was a slanted board that awaited us and we watched others run up and climb over. We looked at each other and decided to go for it. And go for it, we did.
We didn’t make it up the first time but tried again. We cheered each other on. And we made it over. That’s when it hit me. It rose up within me. We could do this. With each obstacle, I felt more empowered. I didn’t think about how I looked. I didn’t compare myself to the others. My mind focused in on what was next and all it was just focusing on one step at a time to get over each obstacle.
Up and over!
Then we came upon the wall with a rope. You had to use your legs and arms to walk up it. I would be lying if I didn’t tell you I hesitated because I did. I never could use the rope in school so these memories flooded back. But as we watched the others, Ruthie and I agreed we could do it. We had to at least try.
Daunting.. but it was just another obstacle for us.. and we did it!
Ruthie went first and I watched with pride as she made it to the top! I followed behind. I wobbled, veered to the side but gained my balance and made it over as Ruthie headed down. When we got to the bottom, we looked back. I shouted to Ruthie, “We did that Ruthie! We did it!” I was so overwhelmed with so many emotions and looked at Ruthie. Tears flooded her eyes and such a deep admiration for her flowed over me. I knew she felt the same.
The Goliath Slide into 12 feet of freezing water!
The remaining obstacles were exciting. We continued on with a new determination.
We laughed. We encouraged each other. Strangers encouraged us and even stopped to check in on us. There was such a sense of commodity amongst everyone.
We reached the finish line. As we cross, I don’t know what else to say other than I felt renewed and proud.
WE DID IT! Ruthie and I at the finish line. Tired. Muddy. Proud of ourselves!
What was even more rewarding was seeing Nicole and Rene’s faces beaming with pride afterward. I don’t think they realize their value, as their encouragement, support and belief in us is what pushed us to take those sometimes scary first steps of doing something we would of never considered. But isn’t that what awesome leaders do? They see your worth and potential even when you can’t.
Ruthie and I with our coach and trainer, Nicole
I’ve been learning more things about myself these days. I am learning to feed my body and to take care of it. I am learning that I like grilled peppers and weird grains called quinoa (to which I still cannot pronounce) and that I really can make time to workout in spite of my busy schedule and that I still hate burpees. But most of all, I am learning to see that the only limitations I have are the ones that I let my doubts and fears have place there. However, I’ve learned in this process that when you push them behind you and you step out, there’s a whole new you waiting there to take you onto greater things.
The end.. of the beginning..
Have you ever said yes to something and then surprised yourself?