We are surrounded by superwomen. Stop for a moment and think about the amazing feats women in your life are accomplishing! Friends, sisters, mamas, aunties....sailing around the world, raising other folks kids, holding down two jobs, ...and mud running. Yep mud running!
Jeannette is the kind of "supa star!" that would give Molly Shannon a run for her money! She was that girl in high school that was literally class president, happy cheer leader, honor roll student and in the friendly popular crew in lunchroom - not the mean girls. Her adult life is even more inspiring. She is a enchanting mother (who dresses her little girls in princess dresses at Thanksgiving), a loving wife, an educator, and a student of all things majestic! Her life is her creation. One peek into any album on her Facebook page reveals a woman who is living with James Brown level "umph"! Do it Jeannette! Do it.
But now... Jeannette has raised the bar.
She just completed The World Famous Mud Run! I was so inspired by her pictures, I HAD to interview her! Her answers arrived in my inbox in the wee hours of the morning - because she's a good friend too!
OHM: What was going through your mind in the picture of you crossing the finish line?
JFD: A couple of things were going through my mind - I was trying to hold back tears (it was emotionally overwhelming) and I was pretty shocked at my finish time (my goal was 2.5hrs, but I finished in an hour and 34mins).
OHM: What is a mud run? How long is it?
JFD: I ran the "World Famous Mud Run". There are many, but this is titled as is because people come from all over the country to run it. I thought it was just a SoCal thing until people around me started talking about where they were from. Anyway, it is 6.2 mile (10k) obstacle course through the mud on Camp Pendleton's Marine base. It is like basic training for civilians.
(From their website: The Mud Run is a challenging 10K run with hills, tire obstacles, river crossings, two 5-foot walls with mud on both sides, tunnel crawl, slippery hill climb, and the final 30-foot mud pit. Along the course there will be 6 water points with personnel staged at each).
OHM: How did you learn about it?
JFD: I heard about the mud run a few years back, but didn't really pay attention to it until my office mate said she was going to run it with her cousin.
OHM: Did you do it alone or with friends?
JFD: I tried to register with my co-worker, but could get the same date so ended up registering (as an individual runner) for another weekend. I actually backed out when I found out my daughter's recital was the same day. About five days before, I was asked to take the place of a co-worker's friend who had dropped out of their team. In the end, I still ran as an individual because the team was short too many people.
OHM: Would you call yourself a runner or is this a new challenge or hobby?
JFD: I am ABSOLUTELY NOT a runner! Dancing has been my only athletic hobby and it's been almost three years since I danced last (six years since I actually trained). I used to joke around and say "the only time you'll see me running is towards a buffet"! The funny thing is that this experience forced me to realize that I let other people decide who I was. Somewhere along the line someone said I was not athletic. In my family dance is appreciated, but it's not a sport. So I just went along with the fact that I was not an athlete. I guess that as the years passed I really began to believe that. The truth is, I am much more athletic than I gave myself credit for (and if anyone has studied African-Caribbean dance from Dr. Linda Goodrich they'd agree that dancers ARE athletes). So, as much as I used to say "I hate running", I don't think I really do. To answer the question - running has not become a hobby, but I like the idea of it being a new challenge.
OHM: You are a mother, did your daughters witness your victory?
JFD: Unfortunately my daughters were not present to witness my victory. It was my youngest daughter's 2nd birthday party so I had to get there, finish the race, and have another race against the clock to get the party together in time (with lots of help).
OHM: What did training look like?
JFD: Training looked like - PROCRASTINATION!!! I told myself I would start in February for my June race. I didn't start until March and it began with walking about a mile twice a week. Seems like nothing, but it was a big deal for me to even purchase running shoes-yet alone go for a walk (I hadn't bought a pair of tennis shoes since my purple shell toe Adidas in 2002). By the end of March I attempted to walk/jog. I did that 2-3 times for about 2miles before I found out that my 4yr old's recital would be the same day as the mud run. Any idea of training started to vanish, as I knew I wouldn't take the chance of racing and not making it back in time for my baby's performance. I would say I was still gonna try for it, but in my heart I knew I wasn't gonna do it.
My saving grace was that I gave up on the running and started Zumba class. I'm convinced that that one hour a week Zumba class did something for my endurance!
OHM: What was your biggesst challenge?
JFD: My biggest challenge was mental. I really didn't think I could do it. Honestly, I think I was secretly relieved to find that Kaya's recital was on the same day. It gave me an out without looking like a chump. The non-athlete attempt a challenge like this? What the hell was I thinking?? Then when I was offered to run on a different day I had no excuse. I had to do it and I am so glad I did. On the course, my biggest challenge came just before the last mile marker when my leg started to cramp going up the last hill.
OHM: You said this was harder than giving birth, when you felt like giving up, what pushed you to keep going?
JFD: This was indeed harder than giving birth (for me at least). If I would have known the intensity before starting, I would have probably backed out. What pushed me was the energy of the hundreds of people around me. I was at mile four without knowing it because even though not many people were talking, the energy was really positive. When my leg cramped at towards the end, this awesome marine dude pushed me forward. There were marines all along the course in case of injuries. When my leg cramped I must have had a look of despair on my face because he came along side me and started motivating me (in that marine yelling voice) - "You can DO this! Let's go. You got this! You're almost there!". He literally ran along side me until he was convince that I would not stop. I finished the hill and started the decline to the last mud pit. That's when I got all choked up. I couldn't believe it was almost over.
OHM: What is your next challenge?
JFD: My next challenge is not half the challenge of the World Famous Mud Run, but a challenge nonetheless. I have returned to my love of performing arts. I am dancing in the musical "Guys and Dolls" for Tustin's 2010 Broadway in the Park. After three years (and another kid) your body doesn't move the way it used to, but it sure feels good to use it again - and use it daily. Aside from the physical challenge of rehearsals and performing, the biggest challenge is in finding the balance to maintain work, marriage, and motherhood - all while still finding and TAKING the time to take care of yourself. I am thankful to my husband and daughters for allowing me take this time.