Thursday, March 31, 2011

You don't sound like you're from here

I hear that phrase a lot. People I've known for years are shocked to find out I'm a native southerner and grew up in Athens. To that I say, Mission Accomplished. I don't have a "southern" accent and have made it a point not to. What I do have is a subconscious habit of adopting the accent/dialect of the person or people I'm talking to and dealing with at the time. It just happens and most of the time I don't even realize I'm doing it. It served me well when I was working in Golden Pantry (convenience store) since the spectrum of clientele was very diverse. How a customer responded to you is often kick started by how you sound to them when you greet them as they enter the store. It worked out pretty well.

This thought and post came to me as I was commenting on a friends Facebook photo of his girls and he on a lake in their canoe. I made a "quest for the White Whale" joke and then remembered a situation in High School where accent played a key role in a situation. I was on Academic Team (yup, was a geek then and still am except now it pays the bills) and competing in a meet one evening. The teacher reading the questions for our meet was a native southerner and I'd never noticed the accent before until she got to a question for me. The question was something along the lines of "What literary story revolves around a white well?". I had never heard of a story focused on a well much less a white one so I asked her to repeat the question. She read it again and put some emphasis on the word WELL. She probably shouldn't have but she did. She had a look on her face like I should know this and was shocked that I didn't. I asked for a repeat of the question again and once again she said the same thing. What literary story revolves around a white WELL? After my time expired and the question deemed unanswered, therefore wrong, I was told by others who had been twitching in their seats that the word was WHALE. She butchered the pronunciation of WHALE so bad that to me, and many others, it came out WELL and caused me to miss an easy question. During the repeatings I even repeated the question back to her as I heard it and she didn't catch that I wasn't interpreting her correctly.

That's just one of the reasons I don't have a southern accent. There are others but that is one of the biggest that still hangs about the ol noggin randomly popping up when I least expect it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I'm a Tough Mudder

This past weekend I participated in the Tough Mudder. A 14.1mi adventure race/obstacle course at Highland Park in Cedartown Ga. This was, quite possibly, the most difficult race/run I've ever done and the most difficult Tough Mudder they've ever held. Originally listed at 10mi, it changed to 11mi the week before the race. We arrived to discover that one of the 2 Mystery obstacles was an additional 3.1 miles and a second trip through the middle course track and obstacles. Yay! This made the Georgia Tough Mudder a Half Marathon plus 1mi. Ouch!


"Tough Mudder is not your average lame-ass mud run or spirit-crushing ‘endurance’ road race. It’s Ironman meets Burning Man, and it is coming to a location near you. Our 10-12 mile obstacle courses are designed by British Special Forces to test all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. Forget finish times. Simply completing a Tough Mudder is a badge of honor. All Tough Mudder sponsorship proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior Project.

WARNING: Tough Mudder is 3-4 times longer and MUCH TOUGHER than a typical mud run such as Warrior Dash. Only 78% of participants at Tri-State 2010 finished. Only those in strong physical condition should enter."

They are NOT kidding. This race made me push harder and farther than I ever though I'd ever go. I had a great team of friends with me, Team Twinkle Pony! Don't let the name fool you. We sign up for insane shit and finish it! Together we conquered every obstacle, climbed every hill, trudged or crawled through every mud bog and pit, scaled every wall and we all finished it.

One thingthat had that helped us more than anything was our support crew. Twinkle Ponies that, due to illness or guardian duties, could not compete. Joe, Jessica, and Merril were our saviors. They met us at key points in the race with Gatorade, Protein Bars, GU Gels, and words/cheers of encouragement. Without all of these we would never have made it. Despite carb-o-loading and fueling up before the race we were all empty and starving long before each time we met up with our support crew. They really made the difference in addition to photo-documenting our adventure.

Pictures of Team Twinkle Pony at the Tough Mudder can be found HERE

Next up for myself and some members of Team Twinkle Pony: Warrior Dash!

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