This past Saturday I conquered the tough mudder experience. I call it an experience because that’s exactly what it is. It is not just a race. It is an experience that teaches you about yourself, your abilities, and how far you can push your own limits.
Let me give you a little back story and see if you can relate. If you would have asked me 20 years ago if I would do anything that involved running or playing in the mud I would have laughed in your face. My response would have been, “I don’t run and I won’t get dirty”. Looking back I think I secretly wanted to but was too intimidated by my lack of athletic ability.
About 5 years ago I decided that it was time for me to start challenging myself. I registered for my first half marathon. I trained and completed the race. Since then I have run various 5k’s and such but never took on anything more challenging. When I decided to do the half marathon it was around the time that the tough mudder races had started to become popular. I had many clients training for them and helped them prepare nutritionally.
I always thought to myself “Wow, I wish I could do something like that, but there is no way. I just don’t have the physical strength especially the upper body strength.”
Then last December the registration for the Tri-State Tough Mudder opened up and on an impulse I called my husband and asked if he would want to do this with me and he said yes. I’m not sure if I really gave him an option but none the less we signed up. I told myself , “Ok, I have about a year to train for this.”
As the months passed and we got closer and closer I got more and more nervous. I felt myself getting anxious and I would think to myself “Oh crap, what did I get myself into.” Oh and let me add that our team grew from two people to six. I knew I could not back out of it but I was extremely INTIMIDATED.
As life would have it I couldn’t train as much as I wanted to. The whole week before I kept thinking, “How am I going to get out of this. Maybe with some luck they will cancel it. Or maybe I will get the flu. No one can be mad at me if I got the flu, right?” So pathetic on my part that I wanted to get the flu over competing in something that I voluntarily signed up for. But my anxiety and nerves were getting the best of me. Needless to say they did not cancel it and I did not get the flu.
So here comes Saturday morning. The big event. I’m nervous, but excited. I went into it saying that I just wanted to finish. I will do my best to complete each obstacle and if I can’t it’s ok. I just need to try. And that is what I did. I tried every obstacle. Even the funky monkey which I tried but could barely pull myself up on the first monkey bar so I said “Ah what the hell” and I jumped into the cold water and swam across. I refused to walk around the obstacle. And I feel proud of myself that I didn’t.
By far one of the best moments of the race was completing one of the obstacles called “Just the tip” where you use all the strength in your fingers and arms to get across. Well, I DID IT! My husband was behind me guiding me and the rest of my team was ahead of me cheering me on. I made it across without falling. I actually freaking did it. I could not believe it. Now remember, I do not have a strong upper body so for me to complete this obstacle was like I won the lottery. If I had time to stop and shed a tear from all the excitement I would have. But there was no time for that.
My team was amazing. They knew that this was going to be a challenge for me but they stayed with me the whole way. Even if they ran ahead they would wait for me to catch up at each obstacle and guide me through. Even perfect strangers were cheering me on and helping me.
And if anything is going to bring a couple together it’s doing something like the Tough Mudder. We have been married for almost 12 years and after the birth of our children this will probably be one of the most memorable events of our life.
So I leave you with these last few thoughts.
If you think you can’t, YOU CAN. If you think you won’t, YOU WILL. Don’t be afraid and intimidated by things that are not real. You are not challenging the world you are challenging yourself. Let the best version of you win.