Monthly Archives: June 2013


Well, it’s here!


Tomorrow night is finally opening night for ANNIE!  And I couldn’t let this day go by without a blog shout-out to my daughter, Kelly.  Tomorrow night, she will walk out onto a stage in front of a room full of people and say her first spoken line in a show ever.

Her first spoken line.  And she’s Annie!

I am blown away by the transformation I’ve seen in my little girl over the past few months of Annie rehearsals.  This is the girl who only showed up for auditions in hopes of possibly being one of the orphans (hopefully with no spoken lines), or maybe even just to help backstage like she has done in a few shows in the past.  When she was cast as Annie, she was almost in tears.  And not the happy kind either.  I’m talking more along the lines of the “Oh-my-gosh-what-have-I-gotten-myself-into-help-momma-get-me-out-of-this” kind.

And I’ll be honest with you.  I wasn’t so sure she could do it either.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I absolutely knew she was capable of it.  The girl has got a beautiful singing voice and can dance like nobody’s business.  And she looks the part, without a doubt.  But to have the courage to get up in front of all of these people and act?  I just wasn’t so sure.  She’s always been a “behind the scenes” kind of kid when it came to theatre.  I was the actor and she was the kid who would tag along with her mom to watch.

I remember taking her to her first professional theatre show (which was Annie, no less – at Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia).  At one point, after being mesmerized myself by the phenomenal performance taking place in front of me, I glanced over to see Kelly’s reaction to the show.  And what was she doing?  The little thing was turned around backwards in her seat staring up at the lighting booth and the spotlight operator.  She was so much more interested in how they were making the show, rather than the show itself.  Yep, she loved theatre – but in a much different way than her momma did.  She wasn’t just interested in the acting.  She fell in love with the process.

And now here she is – the lead role in the summer musical.

It still seems so surreal to me.  It has been amazing watching her come out of her shell.  She didn’t just peep her head out from the shadows to see what was happening on the stage.  She made a huge, flying leap right into the spotlight.  And let me tell you – this is where she belongs.  And I think she’s starting to see that too.  All she needed was a little confidence.

And this brings me to the point I’m really trying to make with all of this.

print3I’m so incredibly proud of my daughter.  I mean, what mom wouldn’t be?  But that pride doesn’t come from the fact that she’s Annie.  Yes, she has learned to control her beautiful voice and sing songs that she thought she couldn’t manage just a few short months ago.  Yes, she has studied hard and learned her lines and rarely misses a beat.  Yes, she has done all of the things that make her a great little actress and has come a very long way since that scared little girl was given the news that she was going to be Annie.  But none of that is what makes me the most proud.

What makes me the most proud is watching as her confidence and ability soars to new heights, and yet her ego and humility have not budged.

She is the most gracious, most appreciative kid I think I’ve ever seen.  She takes compliments from people with a shy sweetness that does not indicate one little ounce of arrogance.  She sent out a mass email to the cast and crew last night thanking everyone for their hard work – from the make-up ladies to the costume maker and everyone in between.  She has learned first hand how much work it takes to create something this spectacular, and she appreciates each and every minute detail that has been put into making the show a success.  That’s something a lot of actors never take the time to see.  (I know I’ve been guilty of it myself at times.  Too often, actually.)

To excel at something, even attain a bit of greatness at it, and yet still maintain a humble heart?  That is something that is very hard to do.  It takes a special kind of person for that.  I think we could all learn a lesson or two from my little Annie.

And, in closing, I want to mention one more proud momma moment.

I too am in the show.  And last night – our second-to-last dress rehearsal before opening night – I felt completely miserable.  What is probably an ear and sinus infection (who has time or money to go to the doctor?) hit its peak last night and my body refused to cooperate any further.  For the first time in my career as an actor, I had to miss a dress rehearsal.  I couldn’t leave, of course, since I was little Annie’s ride home – so someone suggested that I go lie down on a couch in the lobby.  So, I did.  I took my feverish self to the lobby and crashed.  And no sooner did I lie down, than I was out like a light.  I only woke up about three times during the entire performance.  And you know why?

Once was when Kelly was bringing me a drink of water.

Another time was when she brought a blanket she found in the dressing room to put over me.

And the final time was when she came to tell me the show was over and that it was time to go home.

There she was in one of her final dress performances in her first starring role, and yet she took every down moment she had between her many costume changes and stage appearances, to come check on her sick mom.

Have I mentioned how proud I am of my daughter?  I want to be just like her when I grow up.

I know every mom is supposed to brag on our kids.  It’s our job.  But in my case?  In my case, I’ve got someone pretty special here that calls me Mommy.  She is definitely a star – on and off the stage.

So, break a leg, sweet girl!  It’s your turn to shine.


“It must have been cold there in my shadow
To never have sunlight on your face
You were content to let me shine, that’s your way
You always walked a step behind
So I was the one with all the glory,
while you were the one with all the strength.
A beautiful face without a name for so long.
A beautiful smile to hide the pain
Did you ever know that you’re my hero?
You’re everything I wish I could be
I can fly higher than an eagle
Because you are the wind beneath my wings.”
– Bette Midler, Wind Beneath My Wings

Writing Pays Off

So, Friday, June 21, 2013, I received my first-ever award for writing.  I won first place in the essay division of the Chautauqua Creative Writing Festival in Wytheville, Virginia.  Here is a picture of me with the guest speakers at the event, authors Mary Lin Brewer and Rosa Lee Jude.  (They are co-authors for a new historical fiction book series entitled The Legends of Graham Mansion.)  My sweet boyfriend Richard who came along took this picture for us.  I’m shown with the certificate that was presented to me for my “meritorious writing abilities.”  It really says that right there on the certificate.

Meritorious writing abilities.



But you know what’s even more awesome?  Here’s the picture I really wanted to take while I was there, but was too chicken and decided to wait for a more tactful setting.  Safe at home.



Oh yeah, baby.  That’s a check.  A real live check for my writing.  MY WRITING.  A check.  Holy cow!

It’s such an awesome feeling to get a check for doing something that you just love to do for fun.  I think back to the day I wrote the particular entry that won this contest, and I am blown away that that feeling of insecurity that overcame me at the time managed to lead to such an awesome thing.  Isn’t that crazy?

There I was, sitting in the middle of an uncomfortable “woe is me” situation, and then fast forward a few months and I’m holding a check in my hand because of it.  Interesting.

Kind of makes you think a little, doesn’t it?

Who’s to say that whatever crap you’re dealing with right now at this very moment isn’t going to lead to something as awesome as that?  It’s worth considering, wouldn’t you say?

Hang in there.  It all happens for a reason, my friends.


“Everything happens for a reason.  That reason causes change.  Sometimes the change hurts.  Sometimes the change is hard.  But in the end, it’s all for the best.”
– Rita Ghatourey

Links if you’re interested:

Entry that won the contest:

Info on the Legends of Graham Mansion as referenced above:

Here and Now

“Yes, sometimes it’s tempting to think of what could’ve been. But what you really need to think of is what ‘would’ve‘ been. And that’s when you realize you’re exactly where you need to be.”
Richard Edmondson

For those of you who are my Facebook friends, you probably already saw this quote that I posted over the weekend.  These words were spoken by my boyfriend, Richard.  As soon as I heard them, I knew they were quotable.  And as soon as I quoted him, I knew there was a blog here waiting to happen.

So, I sat down at a computer and I started to write.  I typed the quote at the top of the page and then….well.  Nothing happened.  Nothing.  Not one single sentence popped into my mind.  So much wisdom and meaning lying behind those words he said, and yet I – the one who can type for days about any given subject at any given time – can’t think of a single thing to say?  Not one more thing to add?  What’s up with that?

Hmmm.  Maybe the quote is so profound that it stands alone on its own.

Yep.  I think that’s it.

What else needs to be said really?

I mean, think about it.  How much of what you think you miss about something – whether it be a relationship from the past, an old home or an old job, a lost friendship, whatever the case may be – how much of that is actual memories and not just what you hoped it would become?  I’m betting not too much of it is real.  Be honest with yourself.  Take that thing that you can’t let go of and examine it through honest eyes for a minute.  Would it really be gone if it was as great as you thought it was?

Yes, it could’ve been great.  But would it have been?

Richard and I are not young.  We both had quite a few failed relationships in our past before we ever laid eyes on each other.  We have mountains of memories behind us, and each of us has our own share of regret that we carry along into this relationship from the ones prior.  Sometimes the past sneaks up on us and taps us on the shoulder.  It’s inevitable.  It happens.  It happens to us, and it’s going to happen to you.  It’s just how life works.  The key is knowing what to do when it happens.

Do you let it cause insecurities and chip away at your present situation?  Do you let it cause you doubt and make you second-guess your choices?  Do you let the fantasy steal the reality?


Or do you do what my Richard does? Do you take a long, slow look around, see the beauty and the blessing in everything that your path has led you to, and wish the past a silent, thoughtful, heartfelt goodbye as you grab on tight to what you have now, safe in the knowledge that you’re exactly where you are meant to be?

I don’t know about you, but that second choice sure sounds a whole lot better to me.


This is what it’s all about.  This is where we belong.  Not in all of the many yesterdays before us, and not in the vast span of tomorrows to come.  But right here.  Right now.  Right where we were meant to be.

Thanks for the reminder, sweetheart.


“I thought about one of my favorite Sufi poems, which says that God long ago drew a circle in the sand exactly around the spot where you are standing right now.  I was never not coming here.  This was never not going to happen.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert


“A healthier way of thinking and acting is to allow yourself to receive the help and love you need.  You weren’t designed to live alone.  You have limitations on your strength and abilities.”
Michael Barbarulo

As some of you know from my previous posts, I have just spent the past month or so in the moving process.  What a hassle that was (and still is).  Now, granted, I did most of it myself – the packing, the address changes, the phone/tv switches, etc. – but when it came time to actually move…well, my weak little arms can’t carry beds and bookshelves and curio cabinets and whatnot.  So, I had to do something that tends to be a little difficult for me.  I had to ask for help.  Seems simple enough, right?  People need help moving all the time.  No biggie.


Oh my lordy, does this chick hate to ask for help.

It has been that way ever since I was a little girl.  I have always been so incredibly determined to do things myself.  One of my favorite stories to hear about my childhood is the one my grandmother tells about my first big acting debut.  I was a whole three years old and was getting ready to go onstage for my one big line in the church play.  (The line that I had begged to be given, by the way. I insisted that I was big enough to have a speaking part, so they conceded and let me have my way.)  So, as part of the last-minute coaching my nervous grandmother was giving me just before the show, I was told to look to the left and Miss So-and-so (the name escapes me) would be standing in the wings to whisper my line to me if I forgot it.  My grandma says that, upon hearing this, I stood up straight in all my three-year-old glory, put my little hand on my hip, and, filled with shock that the woman would have the nerve even suggest such a thing, I calmly and proudly announced to her and all who would listen:

If I forget my line, I’ll tell myself.”

Ha!  Oh, how I love that story.  What spunk!  What confidence!

What a brat.

Well, I’m here to tell ya – not much has changed.  Not much at all.  Why I insist on being so full of myself, I’ll never know.

So, fast forward about 32 years, and here I was getting ready to move.  Again.  And as much as I’d have liked to have thrown my little hand on my hip and announced to the world that I didn’t need anyone’s help…sadly, that was not the case.  So, in come my boyfriend and dad to save the day.


Awww.  Aren’t they just too cute?

I’m beyond grateful for their help, but it really has made me wonder why I have such trouble accepting it.  Is it that I really am ‘full of myself’ like I mentioned earlier?  Do I feel like there’s no need to bring in help because, in all my big-headedness, I think no one can do it like I can?  Is it the whole “if you want the job done right, do it yourself” mentality?

I don’t know.  Maybe.

But I don’t think that’s really it.  Not at all actually.

Maybe to that little three-year-old, that’s what it was.  But to this thirty-something-year-old?  To her, it’s a little deeper than that.

It’s the fear of being a burden.

I absolutely hate to think that I’m causing someone trouble.  That I’m taking time out of their life for something when they could be using that time for more important things.  That, because of me, they were inconvenienced.  It’s hard to break that mindset.  It’s hard to not just go ahead and do things yourself rather than accepting the help that you need.  And because of this, I end up being overwhelmed at times.  I take on too many projects – too many tasks – because I won’t just ask someone to pitch in.  And that’s silly really.  And you know why that’s silly?

Here’s why.

In the midst of the move, and of this whole mindset that I had going on, I mentioned to my boyfriend Richard that I was sorry to have to ask him to help.  His response?  “Sorry?  Why are you sorry?  I want to do this.  I’m a helper.”

I’m a helper.

Hmmm. Have I ever really stopped to think about that?  Has it ever once occurred to me that people actually like helping?  That it makes them feel good?  I feel good when I’m helping someone – why should I be the one to stand in the way of allowing someone else to have that feeling?  To help someone is to show them that you care.  That you love them.

Uh oh.  I think I’m onto something here.  Because you know what that means?

To accept help is to accept love.

Well, how about that.  Maybe that’s the problem I’ve had all along?  Maybe accepting love is a little scary?  Yep.  I think that’s probably it.


Yep.  It sure is.

So, are you like me?  I’m willing to bet you are.  I think most of us are like that to an extent.  Well, you know what?  Stop it.  Be brave.  Next time someone offers to help you – let them.  Really.  Get that little hand off of that hip, and accept the gift they are wanting to give you.  You know?  Let go.  Give them the opportunity to do what they want to do for you.  Let yourself accept help.

Let yourself accept love.


“Make someone happy,
Make just one someone happy,
And you will be happy, too.”
– Jimmy Durante, “Make Someone Happy” lyrics

Writing Scared


A few months ago, I decided to enter a writing contest.  It was my first ever.  At the time, I was unsure which of my writings to enter, but I knew I wanted it to be one of the blog entries I had written since starting this public blog in February.  So, I put out a “feeler” on Facebook.  I got a lot of replies (thank you if you were one of them!), and it ended up being a resounding vote for an entry I wrote entitled “Scars.”  (See link below.  I’ll post links to each of the blogs I mention at the end of this article if you’d like to check them out.)

Now, I like “Scars,” too.  It’s personal.  It’s about overcoming the bad times and coming out victorious in the end.  What’s not to like about that concept, right?  It’s one of those “feel-good” pieces that I like to write sometimes.  I hope they help others, and sometimes I even go back and read them to help myself too.  I think those kinds of writings are important.  A vast majority of people could probably relate, so I thought I might have a good chance of appealing to what I assumed were probably “scarred” judges overseeing the contest.

So, “Scars” it was.

I had it all printed out and ready to send in to the contest.  Even had it in the envelope and sealed.  Very first writing contest, here I come.

And then, at the last minute, I did what I’m best known for in my life.

I changed my mind.

Just before mailing it out, I made what I assumed would end up being a bad judgment call on my part.  I pulled “Scars” out of the envelope, and I replaced it with “Fully Dressed.”

“Fully Dressed” is something I struggled with writing.  In it, I basically shine a spotlight on my insecurities.  One insecurity in particular.  And do you have any idea how hard that is to do?  I mean, it’s hard to admit your insecurities even to yourself, but to broadcast them to the public??  I’m always nervous just before I hit the little “Publish” button on my blog page, but I remember that one vividly.  It was a special kind of nervous.  My hands were shaking and I felt like I was going to be sick.

Now, reading it, you might not see all of that.  You might not think it’s all that big of a deal at all.  But trust me, to me it was.  I was verbalizing something that I don’t like to let show.  I was admitting a fault in myself.  Admitting that I let something get to me.  Really get to me.  And through the writing, I managed to process those feelings, and come to something that resembled a conclusion.  The thoughts I had about the issue flowed through my fingers in a way that I didn’t even know they could.  Suddenly, as I wrote, I started to stand up to myself.  I defended myself, to myself. 

And that felt good.

Remembering all those emotions that flowed through me as I wrote and posted that entry, I decided to take a deep breath and send my writing even further out in the world.  I entered it into the contest, hoping that maybe someone somewhere might see herself in my writing and know that she isn’t the only one who has ever felt that way.  Would it win?  Eh, probably not.  But the courage it took to send it was gratification enough.

So.  Fast forward to yesterday.

I got home last night and checked my mail.  Inside was an envelope from the writing committee overseeing the contest.

“Dear Melissa,

Congratulations! I am pleased to inform you that your entry entitled “Fully Dressed” in the Creative Writing Contest of the 2013 Wytheville Chautauqua Festival has won First Place in the Adult Essay category…”

Wow.  Just wow.

It went on to give specifics about the date and time of the awards ceremony and explained that I am to read the entry in front of all who attend(Yikes!), and asked me to provide a brief biography about who I am and why I like to write.

Why I like to write?  Well, that’s easy.


This is why.

Not because I get an award.  Not because I get recognition.  Not because I get to get in front of a room full of people and read my winning piece out loud.  (Oh no, definitely not because of that – just the thought terrifies me!)  No, it’s not for any of those reasons.

It’s because someone somewhere understood.

Someone gets it.

Someone gets me.


“Writing is painting your deepest thoughts, fears, insecurities, sadness, happiness, and everything else in between, onto a canvas of words – and then, turning it around to face the world, hoping someone sees that canvas as a mirror.”
– Melissa Caudill


Referenced Blog Links


Fully Dressed:


uncertainty blog2

Well, crap.  John Finley, you just ruined my day.

Because you know what I hate?  What I despise?  What I loathe?


Holy cow, do I detest uncertainty.  I want to know exactly what is going to happen, when it’s going to happen, how it’s going to happen, and how everyone is going to feel when it happens.  This ‘not knowing’ crap is for the birds.

So, with that being the case – I’m sure you can guess that I don’t handle change very well.  Especially unexpected change.  (Well, that seems kind of redundant.  I guess most all change is unexpected really, isn’t it?)  So, Mr. Finley, with your fancy schmancy quote – I guess I’m immature.

So, here we go.  I’m going to throw caution to the wind and blog about something kind of personal here.  I think it’s important to do that sometimes so that you, my reader, can know that I’m just as crazy as you are.  Yes, I just called you crazy.  I know you’re crazy.  Know how I know?  Two reasons.  1) You’re reading this blog.  And 2) EVERYONE is crazy.  And you’re one of everyone.  So there.

So, fellow crazy person, I’m gonna spill my guts to you.

My relationship is going through another rocky patch.  Hey, it happens.  And I’m going to go ahead and own up to the blame in this one.  Hands down, I admit it.  It’s all me.  But, for the life of me, I just don’t know what to do about it.

My boyfriend just took a second job as a bartender.  I’m going to list the obvious reasons why this worries me first.

  1. Timing.  He’s going to work nights/I’m going to work days (ok, he’s doing both actually).  I’m going to work weekdays/He’s going to work weekends (Again: both for him).  *Sigh*
  2. His life is going to change.  He’s going to be surrounded by tons of new people.  Tons of people that will be there with him when I won’t.  *Sigh*
  3. My life is going to change.  A lot of the time that I had worked into my schedule to spend with him will now be time spent alone.  *Sigh*
  4. He’s a bartender.  A bartender.  I know life is not always like the stereotypes, but Hello?  Being a bartender is sexy.  We all know that.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a little jealous.  Well, jealous isn’t really the right word here.  I think insecure is more like it.  That life is not my life.  But it’s now going to be his.  And it’s going to be the life of the people he’s going to be spending his time with.  We may not have anything in common anymore.  (Have I sighed yet?  If not….*sigh*)
  5. There won’t be time for me anymore.

I could stop here.  That’s a pretty good list and probably doesn’t need anything added to it.  That’s enough to prove my point, right?  You get it?  Understand my worries?  Yep, I could stop here.  Enough said.  I should stop here.

But stopping here would be a lie.  And I don’t do the lying thing very well.

The #1 reason I’m worried isn’t even on that list.

Most people know how to keep their mouths shut and just let things silently hurt them.  But I’m not most people.  Until I have faced and dealt with a problem head on, it won’t go away.  I have to say it out loud.  I have to address it.  When someone has hurt me, I have to approach them and deal with it.  I can’t run from it, it’s just not in my DNA.  I go to them, we talk it out, and then we go our separate ways.  Sometimes healed, sometimes not.  But either way, it’s addressed and I can have peace.

But this time is different.

This time I don’t know who hurt me.  I just know that someone did.

Someone who is involved in my boyfriend’s close-knit group of friends blatantly excluded me a while back.  I won’t get into the specifics of how it happened (they know, and I know – that’s all that matters), but it happened.  And it hasn’t been forgotten.  This close-knit group of friends are always together, and are always at the place my boyfriend is working.  He adores them, and I don’t blame him.  They’re great people.  They’re fun-loving, they live life to the fullest, they’re great conversationalists.  But one of them (maybe more?) doesn’t like me.  And until I know who the one person was, it’s hard to fully let my guard down with any of them.  Does that make sense?  Until I know who not to trust, I can’t trust anyone.  This is a tough situation for our relationship.  Very tough.  For both of us.  And now a big fat spotlight is being shone on it.

So, what it all boils down to is this – I feel excluded.  I have always felt excluded, but with Richard by my side, I was able to temporarily forget it at times.  I knew I belonged with him, and that’s all that matters.  But now?  Now, he’s surrounded by that life that someone doesn’t want me in, and I’m not there.  I’m standing outside of an invisible wall that I can’t seem to break down.

And his taking this job?  Well, in my mind, the wall just got bigger.

I feel the pressure building.  I feel the tension piling up and I’m not sure how to escape it.  In the back of my mind, I keep hearing the faint ‘tick tick tick…’ of an impending explosion.  And frankly, that sound is getting pretty darn annoying.

I’m getting pretty annoying.

“Every day I fight a war against the mirror
I can’t take the person starin’ back at me
I’m a hazard to myself
Don’t let me get me
I’m my own worst enemy
It’s bad when you annoy yourself…”

*sigh*  Pink gets it.

Maybe that’s why I feel the need to write this blog.  Maybe I’m looking for suggestions?  Maybe I’m looking for help?  Maybe I just don’t want to watch something fade away if there was something I could do about it and just didn’t know what it was.  Maybe I just want to know I’m not alone in how I feel?  That people understand?  Sympathize?  That there are more people like me and Pink out here in this world?

Or maybe I just need to hear that I’m selfish and insecure and need to get over myself.  Yeah, that’s a possibility too, I suppose.

Maybe I just needed to vent.

All I know is that I have watched a friend of mine go through a very similar situation over the past ten months in her relationship (daytime job versus nighttime job – different lives, different friends, etc.), and I’m now watching as she adjusts to her new life as a single woman because it didn’t work out.

I don’t want that to be me.  But what do I do?


“The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear – fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety.”
– H. L. Mencken

Time to Chill


I’m about to do something that I have never done so far in my “career” as a runner.

I’m backing out of a race.

I was scheduled to run the Bear in July.  For those who missed my blog about it, this is a 5-mile race straight up a mountain.  When I signed up for this thing back in February, I knew it was going to be quite a challenge.  I was prepared to put in the training and do what it took to be able to run this bear of a race and be able to say that I did it.  Nothing was going to stop me.

Well.  February was four months ago.  A lot has happened since then.

I don’t want to sound like I’m making excuses.  But frankly, I am.  Since February, I have

  • trained for and ran a half marathon.  (Go me!)
  • My daughter has been cast as the lead in a local theatre production (and I have been cast as a chorus member), which means the theatre is our second home.  It takes a great deal of our time and attention.
  • I have made the decision to move into a new home and have had to tackle the stresses that come along with any move.
  • I have hurt my foot in some phantom way (no clue how it happened – but it’s definitely getting better!), which has slowed my running down a great deal.

Oh, I could keep listing things, but honestly, it doesn’t matter.  Because basically?

Well.  Basically, I’m just tired.

I’ve noticed that ever since my half marathon has been over, my thoughts keep going back to this dreaded Bear race in July.  It has been a constant worry in the back of my mind.  Through everything else I’m doing in my life, there’s the undercurrent of, “I should be training for the Bear.  I should be training for the Bear. I should be training for the Bear.”  To be quite honest, it has become a nuisance.  So, after some soul searching, I have decided to back out of the race.

For a while, I struggled with that decision.  I called myself a quitter.  Told myself that, whether I realize it or not, other people are watching me through this process because of my blog articles and my Facebook posts.  By quitting, I am sending a message to my readers that giving up is ok.  That running is not the awesome thing that it is and that you shouldn’t push yourself to try bigger and better things.  I didn’t want this to be the message I conveyed.

But finally, I just decided to stop beating myself up.

I decided to look at it a different way.

Here’s what I want this decision to show you.  No one is perfect.  NO ONE.  If you’re a beginner runner (or maybe even just someone thinking about running), I know how intimidating it is to see these “experienced” runners do all the things they’re doing – the half marathons, the 5Ks, the 10Ks, the mountain-climbs.  Believe me, I know.  I was you just a little over a year ago.  I didn’t think that these runners were human.  I thought they weren’t like me – they didn’t have life stresses that get in the way, or days when they just felt too tired to run.  They were machines, not a flawed, tired human being like me.  Well, guess what?  I was wrong.  They were just like me.  And I’m just like you.  We all need a break sometimes.  We all need to go easy on ourselves and not push ourselves to the brink of exhaustion.

I mean, after all, when it ceases to be fun – then what’s the point?

I enjoy running.  I enjoy appreciating the new, healthier person that I have become because of it.  Nothing will ever stop me from being a runner.  But for a little while, I think I might hold off on pushing myself to the next limit.  I’m just going to enjoy where I am now, maybe enter a few local 5Ks here and there, and just relax for a while.  No pressure, no training, no pushing – just running.

I’m taking a little break from the stress.

And that’s perfectly okay.


“It was being a runner that mattered, not how fast or how far I could run. The joy was in the act of running and in the journey, not in the destination. We have a better chance of seeing where we are when we stop trying to get somewhere else. We can enjoy every moment of movement, as long as where we are is as good as where we’d like to be. That’s not to say that you need to be satisfied  forever with where you are today. But you need to honor what you’ve accomplished, rather than thinking of what’s left to be done.”
– John Bingham

Warrior Dash (or, as I like to call it: “Hell”)


Awww.  Look at the happy little couple with their little bibs on ready to conquer the Warrior Dash!  Bless their little hearts.

Ahhh, the Warrior Dash.  For those of you who aren’t familiar, this is a 5K obstacle course mud run.  We (ok, Richard) had been looking forward to this for a long time.  This is an all-day event, with different race waves starting every 15 minutes from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Our official start time was supposed to be at 12:30 (this was the only slot available when we signed up – these things sell out fast), but we quickly learned after we got there that it really didn’t matter which start time you chose.

The start times were about as disorganized as everything else was.  *Sigh*  But I’m getting ahead of myself….

Ok, here’s what we forgot to notice in this cute little picture.

One – a random flag floating mid-air over my right shoulder.  Um.  What the heck?!  Ok, that has nothing to do with the story I’m about to tell, but I just had to point that out.  Freaky, much?

And two – the angry chick to my right.

Ok, let me point them out for you:


Ok, so although the ghost flag is pretty awesome, let’s concentrate on Angry Chick for a minute.  Because that represents what my story is going to revolve around.

Angry Chick is angry.  I don’t personally know Angry Chick, mind you.  But I know a little something about how Angry Chick feels now.  Angry chick is covered in mud, has a medal around her neck, has a fierce look on her face, and is holding a beer.  I’m going to tell you how Angry Chick got that way.  And I’m going to tell you how Richard and I soon joined Angry Chick in Angrychickville.  (Ok, Angrydudeville in Richard’s case).

Let me give you a nice little overview.  Here is a comment that a participant placed on the Warrior Dash Facebook page after the race:

“Warning to warriors: There are far more obstacles than advertised in this race! The first unpublished obstacle required you to stand in line for almost an hour in the sun to get your registration packet from the six people they had working to check in ten thousand runners. While standing in line, you had to try to avoid getting shoved into the back of the sweaty fat guy in line in front of you.  The next obstacle was to try to make it to your heat on time after standing in line for so long. (We were only an hour late.) The next few obstacles were pretty easy, they only involved jumping over fire and crawling under barbed wire. The mud pit was very challenging thanks to the concrete-like consistency of the mud. But that’s nothing compared to the next obstacle. This one required you to get rinsed off from the one guy with a hose who was rinsing off one person at a time. Given these obstacles, it’s highly unlikely that I’ll be attending another Warrior Dash….” – James Lewis

Yeah.  THAT.

Oh my gosh, this race was horrible.

As described in the comment above, we knew we were in for a disorganized mess when we couldn’t even find the line to pick up our packets.  There were just gobs and gobs of people standing everywhere.  Once we finally somewhat figured out where to stand, we stood there for at least 30 minutes before we looked around and realized that this group was only men.  We couldn’t see the tiny little signs WAY up at the front of the line that said women’s sign-ins were to the left and men’s were to the right.  So, in an extremely non-typical move for myself, I did what most everyone else was doing.  I cut in line.  I’ll be darned if I’m going to stand in that scorching heat (92 degrees at that point) for another half hour.  First rule of warriordom?  Each man (woman) for themselves.

To quote another witty Warrior Dash participant’s Facebook page comment:

“I want my medal to say ‘I survived the packet pick up.'” – MK Turner


So, after the torture of waiting to get signed up, we then stood in another slightly less long line to check our bag.  All in all, the whole process only took an hour and a half.  No biggie.  AN HOUR AND A FREAKIN HALF. In 92 degrees.  With no water.  Before a race.

So, once the race finally started – at first, it wasn’t too bad.  Well, sorta.  Did I mention it was hot?  Now, mind you, Richard and I are both half-marathoners.  But at the 0.5 mile mark?

Me:  You wanna walk?
Richard:  Oh dear God, I thought you’d never ask.

The obstacles were admittedly pretty fun, I’ll have to say.  Well, maybe fun isn’t the word.  Gratifying?  Maybe that’s it.  You just felt somewhat accomplished after completing them – even if you were on the brink of death from heat exhaustion.

Ok, did I just say the obstacles were fun?  Let me rephrase.  Most of the obstacles were fun.  Until the last one.

The mud pit.

Oh, dear God.  The mud pit.

Now, we were well aware that there would be a mud pit.  That’s part of the draw.  We were ready to get dirty.  No problem.  Bring it on, yo.

But holy llamas – what the hell was that??  That wasn’t mud.  That was brown cement.  Brown cement that almost took my life.  And I’m not exaggerating.  Not in the least.  Even calm-mannered, non-dramatic Richard will tell you the same thing.  It was so incredibly thick that you could barely move.  And you didn’t realize this until you were halfway through it and there was no way out.  It was like quicksand.  We were in all the way up to our chin and couldn’t move at all.  Each step propelled us maybe an inch.  Maybe.  The only redeeming factor is that the people behind you who were also ‘in too deep,’ so to speak, saw what you were going through and knew they would soon be in your place (there was no other way to go but forward), so they were reaching down in the mud and trying to help dislodge your foot from the muck it was sunk down into to help push you forward.  Honestly, I don’t know if I would have gotten out of the pit if it wasn’t for the girl behind me.  And again, that’s no exaggeration.

Eventually, though, after lost shoes, lost shirts, a lost Mason ring (it still makes me sick to my stomach to think of Richard losing that…), and lost energy and drive to ever do any race ever again, we managed to stumble across the finish line.  Together.  30 pounds heavier from the mud, but still upright and breathing.  Barely.  I cringe to think of what that finish line picture looks like.  I just hope I didn’t flip the camera off, because at this point, I cannot be held accountable for anything that happened in the delirium that followed the mud pit escapade.

Oh yeah, and as if that weren’t enough….there was ONE MAN with ONE WATER HOSE to try to clean off about 10,000 muddy people.  I’m sure you can imagine how well that went over.  At one point, the little sprinkles of water I was managing to get hit with only did nothing but serve to get mud in my eyes, which I could not remove because there was not one single solitary piece of my body that wasn’t covered with even more mud.  So, eyes closed, I asked Richard to bend down and I managed to use the only available thing within reach – the one tiny little spot on the top of his head that didn’t have mud on it.  Yes, I rubbed my eyeball in one little inch of mudless hair on my boyfriend’s head.  Look, people, in times of war, you do what you have to do.

Oh dear God, I could go on and on trying to describe the water hose process more, but frankly, I’m sick of talking about this race.

I’m done.

We got our free beer for completing the race (ok, Richard got his two free beers since I don’t drink the nasty stuff); we laid in the sun for over an hour to try to let the mud dry so we could scrape it off before getting back in the car to head home; we stood in another 30-minute line to get our bag back; we put our dumb ol’ hats and dumb ol’ capes on in the scorching heat and snapped a picture to commemorate the misery; and we hauled our exhausted butts home.

So, Angry Chick, wherever you are, we are now members of the same club.  We have survived this near-death experience of a race and will live on to tell our grandchildren about the time we almost died during a 5k.  We are survivors, right?

Yes, my fellow angry friend, we are warriors. 



(And, oh heck, who am I kidding?  We’ll probably see ya next year.  I mean, ‘hope springs eternal’ and whatnot, right?  Surely it couldn’t get any worse than this.  Could it?)



“All life is an experiment.  The more experiments you make, the better.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

P.S.  This particular Warrior Dash was in Huntersville, NC, on June 1, 2013.  From what I have heard, not all Warrior Dashes are like this disorganized mess.  Just wanted to throw that disclaimer in there on their behalf.