Four and a half months ago, I sat in Starbucks with my best friend Sammy (who I refer to as “Little”) and made the decision to run a Tough Mudder with her. She had done it twice before, but for me, it was new. I had heard all about Tough Mudder and what it entailed, and it was always something I thought I would do “one day.” At the time, she needed someone to do it with, and I thought, “you have 4.5 months to train, so why not?” I left Starbucks feeling a mix of emotions – excited, nervous but mostly terrified. What had I just gotten myself into? Could I really do this? I wasn’t so sure it was a good idea anymore, but Little was excited, and I wasn’t going to let her down. So I signed up and began training a few weeks later.
I spent the next four months training, and each day brought a new challenge. Two weeks into my running program I wanted to give up. I thought “why the hell am I even doing this?” But I didn’t quit then or any other time after that. Each time I wanted to quit, I reminded myself why I started. That’s not to say this whole thing was easy. Because it wasn’t. There were days (and even weeks) when I didn’t have the motivation to workout. And for that, my running routine fell behind. I always seemed to make the best progress right before vacation (or trip for work). Then I’d go on my vacation and not workout, and when I got home I had no motivation to workout either because I had gotten lazy. And then I’d lose all of my progress. Most of the time I bounced back, but I never did after Boston. Before Boston, I was running a mile in 11 minutes, and I was working my way towards running 2 miles. But I never got to 2 miles, or even back to 1. I guess that’s what happens when you take 3 weeks off. It was discouraging, but I thought about the end goal.
I never got a gym membership and opted for at-home DVDs from Beachbody instead. They weren’t easy, and as with the running, I wanted to give up at times. But eventually I saw progress. My set of heavy weights eventually became my light weights. My arms and legs (and even my butt) were starting to look toned. My body was beginning to look leaner, and after 3 months of working out, I was starting to see results. During my last workout before the event, I wasn’t sure that I was Tough Mudder ready. But I still gave it everything I had.
I walked up to Tough Mudder yesterday feeling excited, nervous and mostly terrified — the same exact feelings from when I started training. I knew that Tough Mudder was just as much of a mental challenge as it was a physical one, and I was determined to not let it get the best of me. But the longer I waited, the more anxious I felt. The first obstacle occured before the start line, and you have to jump over a wall. I ran up to the smallest wall, jumped and couldn’t pull myself up. I got over it with the help of a volunteer, but I was discouraged that I couldn’t do it alone. Was this what it was going to be like?
After a pep talk and the national anthem, the whistle blew and it was time to start. After a mile and half run came Climbax, Glory Blades and Balls to the Wall. I didn’t have the upper body strength I thought I needed, and I felt defeated. Little did her best to encourage me, but it was tough to stay positive when I felt so weak. Then came the moment when my attitude changed: Kiss of Mud. I crawled through that mud with a smile on my face and came out on the other side ready to kick some ass.
And so I did.
It wasn’t easy, and there were times throughout the course where I wanted to give up. But that’s the thing about Tough Mudder: it’s not a race – it’s a challenge. And I was forced to challenge myself and push myself beyond what I thought I could do. Yesterday, I climbed over walls, jumped in a giant pool of ice, crawled through mud, carried another Mudder, jumped off a 12-foot high plank and so much more. For every one obstacle that tore me down, there was another that lifted me up. I felt my strongest and my weakest at the same exact time. I gained new friends, new strength and a new fire inside of me to be better and work harder.
Today, I walk with a little more pride and a little more swag…all because I challenged myself yesterday. After 4 months of training and 4 hours on the course, I’m proud to say that I AM A TOUGH MUDDER.
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