I recently completed my first Tough Mudder challenge. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is a 12 mile obstacle course that contains about 25 different obstacles that challenge both the physical and mental side. Some of those obstacles included multiple electrocutions, ice baths, jumping from heights and landing in water, crawling through very small tubes and spaces in the dark with water in them, lots of mud, more mud, 12 foot walls to climb over etc…
Tough Mudder is one of the fastest growing businesses in the world right now, and it is easy to see why. People are looking for experiences and things they will remember for a lifetime. This is one such experience which I HIGHLY recommend.
In a moment I will share with you a video I shot as well as a promo video TM put out.
I went with a team of about 8 and ended up running with 2 others for the entire course. Even though it isn’t suppose to be a race, but rather a challenge, I can’t help but to push myself and see where my body can take me.
I ended up running it in 2 hours and 4 minutes which put me in about the top 5%. I couldn’t have done it without a few of my bootcampers and teammates… Jake, Dennis, and Greg all did a great job encouraging me and helping push me. Dennis did the TM the day before and came back to do it again. The way I felt the day after, I have no idea how he was able to do that.
For those of you who don’t know me or my background very well, I hardly ever do cardio. I have ran more than a mile 2 times in my life before this race. I have been training though 2X per week with burst training. I either do hill sprints or stair runs. Each one lasts between 45-60 seconds, and my total workout is never more than 20 minutes. Combine that with around 3 days of strength training 20-30 minutes each time and that is mostly the extent of my workouts. I of course try to stay active playing sports or active hobbies, but that is about it from a structured exercise standpoint.
So to outrun pretty much everyone else who most had trained with distance running was just a testament to the power of the Fit Moms For Life philosophies of strength training and burst training.
If I am being honest, it wasn’t even that hard. Sure, I was tired at the end, and the next day I could hardly get out of bed, but those 12 miles I would say was a 8 out of 10 of difficulty. I find my bootcamps, my DVDs, and my stair running to be far greater challenge than the TM. I am saying that to encourage each of you reading this that YOU could do a TM if you chose to. YOU are capable of it.
This post isn’t about me though, it is about the lessons I have learned that I would love for you to take and apply to your own life.
1. Your body can do even more than you think it can or more than you have trained for. I am not saying don’t train. That is very important, but I was able to run 12 times longer than I had trained for and it wasn’t that hard (Last couple miles started to get a little tiring.)
2. Being in the right environment and atmosphere makes all the difference. There is nothing like having 10,000 other people there doing the race with you to spur you on. When I got to an obstacle that I really didn’t want to do, I would see all my other teammates doing it, and it would give me the confidence boost I needed. Doing those 12 miles alone would have been extremely difficult.
3. Overcoming your fears feels so amazing. Water is something I am not very comfortable, and heights are tolerable, but combining those two isn’t great. So jumping off a tall platform into water was something I was pretty scared to do, but again everyone else was doing it, and I knew all I needed to do was to take those couple steps and jump down.
4. Exercise is one of the most powerful bonding tools. The 2 hours I spent with my team running together and helping each other over the obstacles are memories we won’t forget, and we now have that strong bond over doing that. I think it is a combination of all the endorphins going through your body when you exercise, combined with the feeling you get when you overcome obstacles and finish a better person for it. Whatever it is, it is definitely a strong force.
5. A mindset shift is the first step to reaching a goal. If you would have asked me a year ago if I could have done the TM, I would have had a half a dozen excuses why I couldn’t. The main one being the lie I have told myself for over a decade which is “I can’t do cardio.” Over the past year, I have began to ask myself the question, why can’t I be good at cardio? The only good excuse I had is that I have a left knee that has had surgery and gives me problems quite often. Besides that I couldn’t think of any. So, I began to do things that my knee seemed to tolerate which were hill runs and stairs. Long straight running seemed to aggravate it the most. I did what I could and began to see myself as someone who was fast and had great endurance. It was amazing how just changing the way I viewed myself changed the way I trained and performed.
There are many more lessons I could think of, but I will leave it at that. My goal next year is to get at least 50 others to join me in a TM. We can all go at our own pace, but to create that experience and memory with you would be so special. Feel the fear and do it anyways, that is the key to getting past the stumbling blocks in your life.
Go out there and do something a little crazy and create some awesome memories.