On December 11th, we all joined early to drive up to Lake Placid for the 15K. The course was filled with thirty obstacles, uneven terrain, and potholes. During the two-hour drive, I thought about what the obstacles would be like. I had never done anything like this before, and I wondered if I would be good enough. I was anxious to get my feet in the mud.
When we arrived around 9:30, I knew I was right where I needed to be. I looked around and saw hundreds of people gathering to not only work out their bodies but perhaps, even more importantly, their minds. The sun was shining on this gorgeous Saturday morning, and it was the perfect day to get dirty! The grounds filled with families, some to spectate with their dogs and kids. There were teammates dressed in matching outfits. One team dressed up as the Flintstones and Wilma was a tall buff boy!!
We checked in, received bracelets, and checked our bags as classic rock songs like Paradise City blasted through the speaker pumping us up! We approached the start line – there was no turning back now! I stretched my body while my mind wandered. Before I let too many thoughts run wild, the motivational speaker Sean Corvelle spoke to all of us eloquently. We took a knee as he reminded us why we came and inspired us to push through even when we think we cannot. He said, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?”
At that moment, I saw all the good in the world. I thought about how these people around me were no longer strangers, but teammates. And I thought about how wonderful life would be if we always looked at one another in that light. I looked around at all the nature and wildlife surrounding us and appreciated the world differently. We all stood tall and proud as our American flag waved high in the sky as we listened to our National Anthem.
And then we were off!
Up and over the first barrier, each of us went into the unknown. I knew this was going to be tough, I mean it’s in the name! I knew I wasn’t in shape like when I was in my twenties and thirties, but I also knew I was here now, and I was going to give it my best! I imagined when I completed this challenge, I would feel rejuvenated and accomplished. I held that emotion and kept that mantra in my head. I knew it was a long course, so I kept a steady pace. I just tried to stay in the present moment. I knew whatever was to come my way, I would handle it.
When times got tough, I reminded myself to push through, as Sean said. As we ran, jogged, or walked the course overcoming obstacle after obstacle, like being submerged in ice, or climbing over walls or stacks of hay. I thought about how Tough Mudder is full of valuable life lessons. To respect and honor nature. You had to watch where you were going, which forced you to stay present. Often in life, we think about a goal we have, and we get discouraged, not knowing how we will get there. But we only need to take one step at a time. If we honor our bodies and try our best, then we always win. If we take into consideration that we do not know the future, so all we have is the present, then we do not let our minds wander into negative thoughts. The obstacles were like roadblocks in life when you think you are flowing along smoothly, and something occurs unexpectedly, how do you overcome them? We always get through it, so why worry?
All In This Together!
I met so many amazing people along the way. They all cheered me on as they passed by. They all inspired me and reminded me not to compare myself. Sometimes we think if that person can do it – why can’t I? Tough Mudder reminds us that we are all unique. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. So, we can do more and be more when we work with each other, instead of against each other. Tough Mudder reminds us to be happy for others who overcome their obstacles. To put your fears aside, maybe you hate tight spaces, high heights, getting caught in mud, banana spiders, or alligators. But you can learn to trust yourself and others enough to get through the fear.
Orange headbands and so much more!
Along the way, there were healthy snacks like bananas and delicious Bob’s Red Mill Peanut Butter and Jelly oat bars. We had fresh water, that never tasted so good, especially as the miles went on! By mile seven, I was exhausted! I reminded myself why I came and pushed on to earn that orange headband and so much more! Tough Mudder makes me want to be a better person and live with a purpose. I am reminded to lend a hand when I can and take help when I need it. I realized showing up was good enough and taking all the lessons I learned along the way was the real reward. When we finished, we needed a shower and a rest! We received a shiny black Tough Mudder t-shirt, the famous orange headband, a cold beer – that definitely never tasted so good! As well as a healthy meal from Fresh. I enjoyed a yummy teriyaki chicken, rice, and vegetables – never frozen meals that cooked easily in seconds. There was a place to wash all the mud off and his and her changing stations. There were tables set up with fitness and health products, like Reign Total Body Fuel drinks to replenish your electrolytes.
After we took pictures as a team, shared stories of our journey, drank, and ate; our hearts were full. We walked back to the car in good spirits. We drove away with smiles on our faces, mud on our shoes, heavy legs, and memories that will last forever. If you have the chance to join the Tough Mudder team, do not hesitate! There are no judgments, and you will prove to yourself that you are good enough – just show up, it is always the first step!