Many of you who have read my blog before know that my “thing” is mud runs. I’ve done a variety of races and events, from Spartan to Savage to Bonefrog to Tough Mudder. Each sport has their extreme events: for road runners its marathons or ultra marathons that appeal to them; triathletes aspire to be Ironmen and for us obstacle racers, it’s events like the Spartan Ultrabeast, Worlds Toughest Mudder or Tough Mudders newest addition, Toughest. Toughest is an 8 hour overnight obstacle run- similar to Worlds Toughest, but not quite 24 hours of craziness.
When they first came out with the information regarding this newest addition to their lineup, I was intrigued. 24 hours seemed a little out of my abilities, but 8 hours totally seemed doable. With training and some mental grit, I felt it was something I could accomplish. But why? Why does anyone want to put themselves through the extreme and push their limits to those levels of exhaustion?
If you stay in the same place doing the same thing and don’t ever try to do more, you will eventually reach a point of stagnation. In runners terms, you will get to a point where you don’t get faster or stronger and you aren’t running your best anymore. You become stagnant. At this point, I’ve completed 4 Tough Mudder events. I want to complete 10, but I also want to do something that I’ve always told myself I couldn’t do. Every time I’ve broken through a new barrier, it’s been because I’ve pushed myself to complete something I originally thought I couldn’t. My first Tough Mudder, my first half marathon…at one point I said I’d never be able to do those things.
Just ask the athletes who have made history. They didn’t reach their goals by giving up or not toeing the line. And sure, there were plenty of failures along the way. But they wouldn’t be remembered as great if they had never tried. I don’t want to do this for recognition- I want to do it because I want to prove to myself that I’m tougher than my weaknesses and I’m mentally stronger than I think I am. Whenever I complete something else I didn’t think I could do on a race course, I get a little more fearless in other aspects of life. It propels me to take risks I ordinarily wouldn’t take.
At the end of my life, I don’t want to be looking back wishing I had attempted to do great things. I want to look back and marvel at all the things I did attempt. I want to know that I came to the finish line bruised, tired and sore but that I pushed through that to finish anyway. What is it they say…if your dreams don’t scare you they aren’t big enough, right?