I recently completed the Tough Mudder, Georgia. It was physically and mentally one of the “toughest” things I have ever done. I am still processing it, but I wanted to share some of my thoughts. One of the interesting things to me is how this Challenge relates to life. Here is the pledge you take before entering the 11-mile muddy course with 25 obstacles, along with my thoughts:
1. “I understand that Tough Mudder is not a race but a Challenge.”
Life is full of obstacles – financial, health, relationships – that we simply learn to muddle through, climb over or go around. If we have a race mentality, we will burn out, and not have enough to give to the important things in life. I think a lot of us battle this daily, at least I do. It was a good reminder to pace myself.
2. “I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time.”
We were part of a team of about 20 people (we called ourselves “Muddervation”). However, the teamwork and camaraderie was bigger than that. It wasn’t about your race time, it was about helping each other through the rough spots. I have always been an athlete and have a serious competitive streak. But this event was a totally different deal.
3. "I do not whine – kids whine."
It’s all about your attitude. We make a choice daily, even minute-by-minute, at how we approach life, including the tough stuff. If we know it is going to be a challenge and enjoy the ride, it’s all good! In life, we can’t control the obstacles, but we can control how we approach and deal with them.
4. “I help my fellow Mudders complete the course.”
Helping each other through this challenge was key. Every time you got to an obstacle, someone was ahead of you and behind you to help you with a hand up over the wall or an encouraging word that it really wasn’t that bad to be submerged in mud up to your neck and pull yourself through for 20 yards. And you did the same for the next guy.
5. “I overcome all fears.”
Everyone out there had a different fear to overcome. For some it was the “Artic Enema” – where you have to leap into a pool of ice water and swim underwater under a wall to get to the other side. For others with a fear of heights, it was “Walk the Plank” – where you had to leap from a 20-foot high plank into freezing cold muddy water. The hardest obstacle for me personally was the last one that had about 25 yards of electric shock wires hanging down that you had to get through to get to the finish line. Ironically, I managed to navigate it without getting shocked at all!
Even though most people on the Tough Mudder course that day have a competitive nature, through the Mudder and in life, we learn that our biggest happiness comes from helping others and taking ourselves out of the “game.” We also remember that Courage is feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
Finally, it is important to note that this Challenge is not just a bunch of crazy athletes who want to get seriously muddy. Tough Mudders all over the world raise money for Wounded Warriors. As of this writing, over $5 million has been raised for that great non-profit that serves our veterans.
I can’t wait to do a Tough Mudder again next year. I think my son, Alex, will do it with us!