Holy hell in a hand basket I just registered for World’s Toughest Mudder. I did it. I committed. I pushed the “Register” button, I entered all of my information, I even bought the brunch. In about ten minutes I had just registered for the biggest physical and mental challenge of my life…so how did I get here?
After signing up I sat back for a few minutes to reflect on this thought – “how did I get here?”. In my life travels I’ve been dealt some interesting cards. As a Crohn’s disease patient, I’ve faced ups and downs since my diagnosis ten years ago. Autoimmune conditions, disabilities, or simply difficult challenges we face with our health or personal lives are a funny thing. You can be sad and stop moving (which I most certainly have done at certain points of my life) or you can sort of develop a grit and force yourself to grow. I have had days where I am full of energy and days where I feel pushed to my physical and mental limits with tasks as simple as rolling out of bed to get a glass of water. For me, it was when the bad days started outweighing the good that I realized I had to make some major changes for my mental and physical health.
My first Tough Mudder was in Colorado in 2016. I was encouraged by my partner to sign up at a point in my life where I thought I was long past being able to tackle anything like a Tough Mudder. After about a ten-year hiatus from working out, I had spent about three months training for my first Tough Mudder and it humbled me, to say the least. After that first race, I hobbled off the course with sore legs (cursing the steep ski slopes in Snow Mass, Colorado) and realized I had just found my people. Finding this inclusive community of people from all walks of life laughing, struggling (sometimes with a smile, sometimes not), coming off obstacles with entertaining stories, and stomping through the mud together. This formed a turning point in my life and a huge part of my healing process.
All the self-doubt I had developed, the lack of confidence, the perception that because of my condition I had lost my strength and athleticism started to melt away. Sure, I had failed half the obstacles, but I had accomplished something huge. Something that seemed so far out of reach yet was finally mine. Exhausted, inspired, and happy I realized I had just crushed my first Tough Mudder and was ready for more! Ready for growth and ready for a change in my life.
So, I continued training. And the more I trained, the better I felt. I found myself seeking out monkey bars at playgrounds to practice for Funky Monkey. I kept running farther and harder, I started climbing again and strength training. I ran another Tough Mudder in 2017, another four in 2018, four in 2019 and tackled my first Toughest Mudder in Las Vegas. Which leads us to here, the big sign up. World’s Toughest Mudder (plus brunch!). Even with just this sign up I feel this sentiment of “I have arrived”. All my personal goals and dreams led to the pinnacle of this moment – being able to commit and have the confidence to sign up for this challenge of a lifetime.
I plan to share my journey to World’s Toughest Mudder, from sign up, training, to sharing my race experience and yes, even brunch (can you tell that I really like brunch?). I want to share my story with the goal of encouraging you that you can also do this. If you have any inkling of interest in taking on a challenge such as World’s Toughest Mudder, know that you can also get there. Heck, perhaps I’ll be on course running alongside you!