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Tough Mudder: Why?!

I recently—and crazily—decided to sign up for the Tough Mudder endurance race that describes itself as “Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet.” Gulp!

I’m not a runner. I’ve never been a runner. Even as a kid I didn’t like soccer, basketball, or track. I figure skated, danced, dove, swam, did gymnastics, and played volleyball. I had good reason not to like running. Running hurts my knees. Yet, here I am, signed up for an event that includes 10-12 miles—yup, miles (16-19 km)—of running.

I know that this is interspersed with obstacles (mildly put) and is not a straight running course. Where most people I know are worried about the “arctic enema,” “electric eel,” “boa constrictor,” “fire walker,” and “walk the plank” obstacles, I’m most worried about the running. This distance is close to that of a half marathon (21 km) and I’ve never done a 10K or even a 5K.

So, why am I doing this? Well, I like a challenge. Tough Mudder proclaims that this is more than an event, saying, “it’s a way of thinking.” Pushing through obstacles and challenges all the while having fun and sharing the experience with a group of people all there to support each other sounds like a lot more fun to me than racing a bunch of strangers.

Plus, I turn the 40 this year. I remember the big birthday party my mom threw for my dad’s 40th. I remember the “over the hill” jokes and how I thought of 40 as old. Of course, “old” is a very relevant term and we now hear that 40 is the new 30. Did I hear that or did I say that? Hmmm…I forget. Uh oh, forgetfulness.

But seriously, I do believe that new experiences and opportunities to learn are a great way to stay feeling vibrant. I may never do this again, but while I still don’t enjoy running and I may not like the potential for the 10,000 volt zaps, I know that I will enjoy the camaraderie and the chance to celebrate making it through each obstacle. Even if it ends with a couple of ice packs and lots of Tie Ta Wan (one of many Chinese herbal formulas for injury).

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced that has brought you a sense of accomplishment?

 

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