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Friends In Mud – 5/23/2016

Over the weekend I completed my first ‘Tough Mudder’ experience. If you do not know what it is, check out this link https://toughmudder.com/events/what-is-tough-mudder 

Some people actually chided me for doing it, they called it stupid, a waste of time and money. In my head I thought, “Wow, that’s harsh, I thought we were friends?” If someone told me they were undertaking any kind of a challenge, I would encourage them, not tear them down. But it seems that in today’s society negativity is bleeding into the fabric of our existence. If you are into anything online you see it play out in the comments section. Even heartwarming stories will draw ire from internet trolls looking to rain on the parade of life.

I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for the event, but it was the encouragement and ‘you can do it’ attitude of a dear friend that helped me believe that I could. He set things up for our group by getting us all registered. Then he started a team chat on our phones, so we could update each other with our training. Of course we gave each other grief about eating one too many Reese’s Sticks, or when someone wasn’t running a mile fast enough, but that was part of the fun. It pushed each of us to train a little harder, and before we knew it, it was time to rock and roll.

‘Race’ day was perfect; blue skies with temps in the mid-seventies. We started at the very back of the pack, but quickly made our way through a bulk of the runners. After the first obstacle, we picked up more time and eased our way into a comfortable pace. For me, the biggest challenge was overcoming my fear of heights. I knew before hand it might be an issue, though I didn’t realize how much. I’m not going to lie, I did get moody, too. At one point I was miffed at my teammates for not giving me time to collect myself after I slipped off the bar, in Funky Monkey 2.0, falling into a giant pool of green water. But here is where true friendship comes in. Our team leader, I ended up nicknaming him Tank (because of his sheer strength), ran up next to me and asked why I was angry. I expressed my feelings and immediately felt better, but it was the mere gesture of his concern that touched my heart. He didn’t come at me aggressively which is what most people would have done. Instead, he sensed I was frustrated and stepped up to address it with kindness.

We also had two special cheerleader’s on the sidelines. Out of the thousands of people there, they managed to find us at different obstacles throughout the course to snap pictures and shoot video. However, the most priceless gift they gave us were their smiles and the encouragement to continue on. Honestly, I can’t begin to express how much it meant for us to have them there.

There were bumps and bruises along the way, but we started together and we finished together. We did not skip one obstacle. We even did ‘Electroshock Therapy’ which cautions that if you have metal in your body or a heart condition you should not do it. Well, that would have put three of our four person team on the sidelines. At the beginning we vowed to do every single thing they threw at us, so that is what we did. We charged in and took the voltage as it pulsed through our bodies. I even fell to the ground and had to crawl my way out, which meant excessive shocks, but on the other side I was met by the cheers of my friends.

I think that each of us found something within ourselves that we didn’t know was there. It might not have been as physically difficult for ‘Tank’ and his son, because they are both in exceptional shape, but I believe all of us walked away with something positive from the experience.

Here is what Tough Mudder did for me, it reminded me what true friends are, they are people who lift you up and encourage you not to quit when things get rough. It cemented the meaning of teamwork. Not just teamwork within our team, but also lending a hand to others. The entire day showed me the good that resides the hearts of humans, because everyone there was friendly! How often do you get to experience that among thousands of people? Truly, it was a great day. Not only did we create special memories, but I think we all came away as better people. And I believe that is why the Tough Mudder phenomenon is spreading across the planet, because there is a collective longing to find the goodness and cooperative spirit in life that often gets lost along the way.

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{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Kim July 20, 2016, 8:39 pm

    Betty, it truly was an experience to say the least. It challenged me in more ways than one. Having great people to run with certainly did help make the pain of it a little less noticeable!

  • Kim July 20, 2016, 8:37 pm

    It was a lot of fun, so much so that I’m already signed up for next year!!

  • Mark E Sewell May 24, 2016, 12:27 pm

    Awesome! You rock! Maybe someday I’ll be brave enough to take on something like that!

  • Betty ireland May 23, 2016, 10:42 pm

    Definitely sounds like quite an experience and hopefully you had a lot of fun doing it also.

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