This year I decided to take part in the Toronto Tough Mudder (August 16th) obstacle course with my gym mates. It took place in Moonstone on a mountain called Saint Louis.
"Tough Mudder is an endurance event series in which participants attempt 10–12-mile-long (16–19 km) military-style obstacle courses. Designed and created by British Special Forces to test mental as well as physical strength, obstacles often play on common human fears, such as fire, water, electricity and heights. The main principle of the Tough Mudder revolves around teamwork."
Our groups start time was 9:30 in the morning. One of the earlier start times of the day. I would say we were quite lucky to make it halfway through the course before it started to rain heavily, making it extremely cold and slippery.
This was the hardest thing I've ever had to do mentally and physically in my life. I'm not a very good runner because frankly I don't like to run so getting from obstacle to obstacle was a real challenge for me. When I looked up at a hill I just felt a crushing sense of inadequacy, I was staring my weakness right in the face. I told myself I would never stop even though I wanted to. I absolutely had to finish even if I would crawl across the finish line. After 5k I felt like I could just give up but I thought about my friends that always encouraged me and believed I could do well. It was like a little voice in my head over and over again telling me that I would make it.
I am so thankful to the group because I couldn't have done it without them. We all pushed each other and was there for each other. It was an amazing bonding experience, and despite my unhappy expression in every picture, it was well worth it to me.
I faced many obstacles where I thought to myself "I don't know if I can do it but I will try". I did make it through the obstacles and when I needed help, it was there for me to succeed and move on to the next one. I think attitude really has an effect on performance. It's not a new concept, I have heard it many times over. This was a defining experience, it is clear to me now the difference it makes to have a positive outlook. This is something that I will remember moving forward because completing the biggest challenge I have ever faced has given me the confidence to conquer obstacles in the future and the motivation to improve my weaknesses.
I often feel unhappy with my level of conditioning and skill but its moments like crossing the finish line where I think to myself "look how far you've come". I am really proud of myself because it feels like the first real sense of achievement since I've started my training journey. Even though I feel like I wasn't prepared for this event, it came at a great time because I was going through a serious slump. Many aren't aware of this but because I have such a passion for writing I am picky about what I publish. More than 50% of the articles I write I don't publish them. The reason why I am discussing this is because a couple of days before Tough Mudder I wrote an article called "change of heart".
"Training has always been an uphill battle for me and I feel like progress is very hard to maintain. I could train until I die and still not be satisfied with myself. So how do I measure success? The mental aspect of training has definitely been the hardest despite being injured and struggling to recover over the course of almost a year."
In this excerpt I express my frustrations, something that many people, if not all can relate to. Keeping my mind conscious of my feelings helps me to understand why I make the decisions that I do. Writing while experiencing both the negative and positive aspects of my journey helps me to reflect and move forward feeling stronger.
Overall it was an amazing experience, it was my first time doing a fitness/sports event and I want to say thank you again to every team member. It was cold, wet and dirty but the energy, support, muddy hugs and high fives were well worth the pain.