Earning my orange…

To do anything truly worth doing, I must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in with gusto and scramble through as well as I can.
-Og Mandino

That’s right! I made it!  Through mud, freezing water, electric shock (I didn’t actually get shocked, but I did run the risk of it!), rough terrain, under barbed wire, literally up and down a mountain for over 11 miles (probably over 12).  There were times when I was terrified, hyperventilating, and completely frozen- in the shivering, teeth chattering sense-, but I made it through!    Adam was right there with me the whole way.  He helped me over the tall Berlin walls and up the ropes.  He also made sure I didn’t drown after I jumped 15 ft into freezing water, and it literally knocked the air out of me.  He even offered to pull me to the other side of the water, but I told him I could manage. I think I may have worried him a little.  lol  Casualties included my “Say Yes to Endorphins” shirt 😦 and black hair band, which got caught in the barbed wire on an early obstacle.

The views were spectacular!  I wish I could have taken pictures from the top!  It was completely breathtaking- both in the sense of being awe inspiring and the altitude literally making it difficult to breathe.  If nothing else, the trip and race were worth the scenery alone.  🙂 We saw lots of crazy costumes, some awesome stunts, and great signs posted by the Tough Mudder Staff.  My favorites included the Warrior Dash finish marker with the reminder that you still had a hell of a way to go, and smaller signs reading things like “Remember you signed a death waiver” and “Chuck Norris never ran a Tough Mudder”.

There was also a lot of camaraderie.  Well, that is at least until we hit the last couple miles and things came to a grinding halt.  The course narrowed dramatically and it caused a lot of standing around and waiting- not exactly a fun time when you are tired, starving, soaked, and freezing.  The sun was already fading, and the wind on the mountain made the temperature seem incredibly cold.  I imagine waiting in long lines with the finish line in sight was not exactly what people expected.  There was a lot of vocal complaining and heckling going on.  People were getting down right nasty, but I guess not everyone handles general discomfort the same.  By the time it was all over with, we were all  a happy Mudder tribe again…it may have had to do with the free beer and snacks.   Overall, I think the course was fun, but might have been improved if the paths were wide enough to get around the people who insisted on walking (incredibly slowly, the entire way- I still give them props by the way).

All that being said, I didn’t let any of the temporary grumpiness or physical discomfort drag me down!  Normally, I tell people my three criteria for happiness are to be warm, dry, and well fed; by the end of the race I was none, but I was still upbeat and enjoying Adam’s company- even if I was too cold to feel my legs.  I was proud of myself for still having energy at the end of the race to sail down the hill, while many other people were dropping out and complaining about fatigue and pain.  I set out to do something I knew would be challenging and followed through- despite my better, self-preserving judgement.  I also raised over $70 for the Wounded Warrior Project just in bottle and can donations (Thank you to my awesome co-workers and family for all your help!!!).  While I may not be in a hurry to rush out an sign up for my next one, I would definitely do another obstacle race in the future.  In the meantime, I have realized that what I truly enjoy most is just running on the trails- no crowds, no obstacles, no pavement- just me and nature, and the wide open path.  🙂  The whole time I was running (mostly hiking- the attitude made it difficult on the way up, and crowding did the same on the way down) the race I kept thinking of how much more fun it would be if I could just run the course without all the interruptions -including the obstacles- which were fun, but not quite as much fun for me as just running.

I would strongly encourage anyone to try an obstacle race, especially if you find just running boring.  They start as short as 5 K, which is completely doable- even if you walk the whole way.  It’s a great opportunity to get dirty, exercise, and meet some new people.

Tonight at Boot Camp I will proudly be sporting my orange Tough Mudder sweatband and T-shirt!  Go Mudders!

I am very happy to have completed my first big challege this fall.  The Diva Half Marahton is in just 2 wks and the Hartfod Marathon in 4 wks!  I can’t believe how quickly this is all happening!  Thank you everyone for your support and well wishes!

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23 comments

  1. Thanks for liking my blog, “Dealing with PTSD.” I read a few of yours and really enjoyed your casual writing style. Like you, I too love running on the trails. That’s where I prefer to be. Whether hiking or running. One summer, I made sure I kept up with my training even though I was driving through the Rockies, and used the hiking trails as my running ground. Definitely was tough going up some of those hills and I had to work. Sure did enjoy it!

    This summer, I joined a Running group in order to get back into running after being slack for a few years. I’m definitely one of the slow ones (as in “slowest”) but the main thing is, I keep going!

    Kudos to you for keeping on going through everything (the domestic violence included). Look forward to reading more of your blogs.

  2. Thanks for coming on over and “liking” my Tough Mudder blog! I’ve been reading back through your blog until I got to this post. Your whole blog is SO ENCOURAGING — even with the cold and the exhaustion that everyone talks about…I cannot wait for the 2012 Tough Mudder 🙂

  3. Hey Fellow Tough Mudder! Great article. I was wondering if I could contact you? I love your death waiver shot and I am doing a presentation on the Tough Mudder and wondered if I could have permission to use your shot in it?

    1. It’s not actually my shot, it’s from google images. I didn’t use my camera during the actual run. There wasn’t an author associated, so I’m not sure who you’d need to get permission from…

  4. Girl, you are an An-ee-mal! Tough as nails and as crazy (almost) as me. Congrats on the Orange. I hope I have it in me to finish the Mudder this coming fall. I ain’t exactly a spring chicken any more so I’m digging into inspirational reading like yours to help get me through. I’ll be doing the Spartan and the Warrior as warmups.
    Keep up the pace – stay in the race…and definitely, keep that smile.
    Doug

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