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Walking the Plank

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I am a firm believer that every once in a great while it’s good to do something new, something that challenges you, forces you to step up and take it to the next level, something that quite honestly scares the hell out of you. It has been my experience that a healthy dose of fear and adrenaline is the cure for just about anything, and besides, I have something to prove.

I’m standing at the edge of a wooden platform twenty-five feet in the air, staring down into the depths of a frigid, muddy lake. I’m supposed to jump. From the ground looking up, the distance didn’t appear too threatening, but from my current vantage point it’s another story entirely. I look to my teammates, who are patiently encouraging me to get on with it. I take a step back and shake my head. I really don’t think I can do this. I seriously consider backing down and walking away from this obstacle, but know I will hate myself for it later. No. There is no turning back. I tiptoe to the edge of the platform and sit, not trusting my legs, weak with fear, to support me. My feet dangle over the expansive waters below as my fingers tightly grip the edge of the platform, knuckles white with tension. The lyrics of Andrew Belle play in my mind, “This is the starting of my greatest fear…”

Heart pounding heavy in my chest, I take a deep breath and swiftly launch myself forward. My legs fly out, kicking violently in a fruitless attempt to defy gravity. My arms fly up over my head as my stomach drops, and I squeeze my eyes shut, resigned to my rapidly approaching fate, but not wishing to bear witness to it. Seconds later the lyrics of Andrew Belle, still playing in my mind, are abruptly silenced as my body plunges into the icy water.

I fight my way up through the cold, wet darkness. As I break through the surface, head thrown back in triumph, an involuntary victory cry escapes from my lips. I swim quickly to shore and hoist myself up over the steep embankment at the water’s edge, where I am at once overwhelmed by the cheers from the crowd. My greatest fear now finished, for one precious moment in time, I am invincible.

Credit where credit is due: Special thanks to Tough Mudder for an incredible experience, and to my teammates for having no mercy when it was my turn to "Walk the Plank." I couldn't have done it without you.


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