Tough Mudder - Mind over Matter
A few weeks ago I completed a Tough Mudder with a group of 3 other girls. It was a blast! Our team was called the Bad Ass Mother-Mudders. For anyone who doesn't know what a Tough Mudder is... it is a 10-12 mile obstacle course, that supports the Wounded Warrior Project, in which you work as a team to complete. The obstacles range from scaling walls, climbing under or running through live electrical wires, submerging yourself in an ice water tank, jumping over fire, to name a few.... and, of course, mud... lots and lots of mud. Here is a short video clip:
So, out of the 4 of us girls, I will admit that I was probably the most conditioned. Another girl on my team has completed races such as half marathons and such in the past, and then the other 2 girls sporadically hit the gym every few months or so. So, our team was a mix of skill level and athleticism, for sure. I can't speak for the other girls, but I'm pretty sure they had fun... At least I hope they did! :) But the one thing I do know is we all had a great sense of accomplishment when it was completed.
Now, although I am a beast (haha) when it comes to weight lifting, I am NOT a runner... I repeat - NOT A RUNNER! I hate it. I am in better-than-the-average-American cardio shape, I guess, from all of my gym time, but I RARELY do any type of cardio... unless I am training for a figure competition. Considering my last competition was 5 months ago... we'll just say it's been a while since I've done any long-duration cardio. However, I did manage to sneak in 1 to 3 15-30 min HIIT sessions/week for the 3 weeks prior to the event. So, considering I hadn't really trained cardio-wise, I had no idea how I would do during the race.
Now the weeks prior to the Mudder, I was starting to psych myself out for some of the obstacles - mainly the Arctic Enema (in which you submerge yourself and walk through an ice water tank) and the trenches (underground trenches that you crawl through). These 2 were the most daunting to me because 1) I HATE cold water. Seriously... hate it! For my competitions I have to take cold showers the final week of prep, per my coach and his crazy-ass methods, and that just consists of turning the water spout to cold... no ice involved. 2) The trenches freaked me out because I do not like to be in closed, confined spaces - especially in the dark. Both of these obstacles were somewhere in the middle of the course. Despite my nervousness for these obstacles, I had told myself that I was going to complete all obstacles - no matter what. My teammates, however, had each given themselves an out for obstacles they did not want to complete. I kept trying to pump them up, but they didn't quite share the same badass mentality as me. lol ;) (I dip into the mode of "nothing is going to stop me!" during a competition prep - especially the last few weeks of it.) So, I wasn't sure how things would go for everyone on my team come event day....
On the day of the event we made the 3 hr drive just talking about girl stuff... you know - boys, shoes, periods. lol Anyway, we arrived right on time, and had to scramble to get to the starting line so we wouldn't miss our heat. We were the last ones to arrive right before our heat was about to take off. (of course) To start the race you had to climb a wall to even get to the starting line... So I helped my teammates over, and then I stood there trying to figure out how the hell I was going to get over the approx 7' wall by myself. I jumped and tried to pull myself over, and luckily there was a big, strong man on the other side to help pull me over... otherwise I'd probably be still standing there. haha! They played the National Anthem... and then we were off! We started running (for what seemed like forever), I kept rolling my ankles on the uneven terrain, and I began to think to myself "I am already out of breath... How in the fuck am I going to do this?" - but there was no way I was going to let me teammates know that. I just knew I was going to break my freaking ankle that day (Luckily, that didn't happen.) My mind kept telling me reasons why I wouldn't be able to do this... So, I'd have to channel badass mode and push on...
The first obstacle was the blades - walls that slanted backwards that you had to climb over. We all made it through pretty easily, but somehow I managed to bruise the underside of my arm really bad... Oh well... I was in badass mode... Nothing could stop me. ;) The second obstacle we had to jump over a fire pit into a pool of muddy water into the ground. Now, this one freaked me out! Let's just say I'm not the most coordinated person I know. (In reality, I'm a total klutz!) So I pictured myself slipping and falling face-first into the pit of fire... not cool. I stood there and really started to psych myself out, but then suddenly I said to myself "Just. Fucking. Do. It!"... and I did! I jumped and landed safely in the water! :) After that, it was cake... at each obstacle I just walked up and did it. No analyzing, no mind games, no talking myself out of it. I just did it! I had jumped through fire... How bad could the rest be? Even at the Arctic Enema and the Trenches... I just did it! I also ran probably close to 90% of the course! AMAZING! I have never run so much in my entire life. Around mile 7, my right calf began to cramp really bad... it prevented my from running uphills, but I could run downhill and flat surfaces just fine. Then, at one of the water stations they gave us bananas, and that cured my cramping and I was able to run the rest of the way. By mile 9 I was on a runner's high. The half-marathon girl on my team and I would run to each obstacle and wait for the other two girls and we would complete each obstacle together. We worked together and pushed each other. At one point, one girl (who had not trained - AT ALL) had a breakdown, and we weren't sure if she was going to complete all of the obstacles... but we encouraged her and she found that mental strength and pulled through. (I was really proud of her. She was a fighter - for sure!)
We made it though every obstacle. Not gonna lie... some looked a little prettier to attempt than others LOL... but we did it! :) We all came from different levels of physical fitness, different strengths and weaknesses, and different mindsets... but the one thing we all coincided with that day was mental fortitude. Our motto for the day: Mind over Matter. Once we began, we all entered that badass mindset of "We are going to finish this... no matter what!"... We were the Bad Ass Mother-Mudders! When we got to the finish line we proudly accepted our orange headbands, event t-shirts, and our beer... We earned it!
A few days later, I was talking to the teammate that had not trained at all, and she was still on that high of accomplishment. She had conquered her fears and really pushed herself (mentally AND physically) to see what she was made of. I felt the same way. I've experienced this with my competitions, as well... even ones that I didn't place well in. It's this sense of pride for doing something that seemed almost impossible at one time. It's hard to describe. It's really something you have to experience.
Since then, I've thought to myself... How awesome would it be if I could channel that state of mind over matter to overcome all fears and perceived obstacles in my life? What could I accomplish if I didn't give myself the option to "skip an obstacle" in life? Hmmmm.... things to ponder.... I wonder at what point I will say "Just. Fucking. Do. It!" and jump over those perceived 'fire pits' in life. I'm not there yet, but I feel myself getting closer everyday. :)
Me with my hard-earned beer and headband:
My battle wound from the first obstacle:
My badass bruise a week post Mudder:
(I couldn't help but show it off. lol) ;)