So I got an email from Tough Mudder asking “Why do I Mudder?” It’s a question that I have answered throughout multiple posts but I never really gave one unified answer as to why I run through all of this. And I submitted it but also cut out some of the story because I was afraid it was getting too long. You all are out of luck though, because I have no such qualms about rambling here! So without further ado, Why do I Mudder?
It’s a simple question right? Why do I run through 10ish miles of muddy hills, ridiculous obstacles, and questioning every decision you ever made that led you to the Tough Mudder? It’s a simple question that requires a more involved answer. 4 years ago, I was at peak mess. I was pushing 260 pounds. My diet was awful. I kind of worked out but never with any great regularity or focus. It was just often enough that I could talk myself into thinking that I was making positive changes. I wasn’t happy with what I saw in the mirror but not enough to drastically alter my habits and routine.
I had a couple friends who had done Tough Mudder in the past, and I admired them for going for it and dominating the course. Part of me was admittedly jealous that they finished and I was sitting on the sidelines. I made it known to a couple friends that I wanted to get into shape and do a Mudder, hoping that by having some people know my intentions then I would have people that would hold me accountable. But, that concept didn’t work exactly as planned right away. A year went by and I was still a hot mess health wise. It took a combination of putting up a Facebook status stating my intentions of running a Mudder and a couple of friends signing up with me to stir me into action.
I started training for my first Mudder and it was not an easy journey. Going to the gym 3-4 times a week was the easy part. Lifting weights and pushing myself to new levels has and always will be my favorite part of going to the gym. What I needed to actually focus on and get over the hatred for the running. Cardio was always my least favorite part of going to the gym. I could never get excited about hopping on the treadmill for more than 10 minutes at a time because I couldn’t get over feeling like I was living inside a hamster wheel. It wasn’t until I tried this radical idea of wait for it….wait some more…just a little bit longer…running outside that I started to not completely hate the concept of running. Between getting back to the gym, elevating my diet past that of “college kid realized that he could buy as many bags of Doritos as he could without getting scolded” and actually running consistently, I was ready for my first Mudder.
Going into my first Mudder, I was slightly worried. OK, that’s a lie, I was PETRIFIED. I had never done anything like this before and I was only 5 months into living a cleaner and healthier lifestyle, so the Mudder was the first real test for my new life direction. And I was nervous up until the first obstacle, the Mud Mile 2.0. After diving into that first pool of mud and getting sprayed by a cold water cannon, I was completely hooked. I learned a ton about myself going through those mud soaked miles. That I could tackle any obstacle placed in front of me, that I was more than my weight, more than my depression, and more than what I thought I could be. I’ve now completed 3 Full Tough Mudders, volunteered for one, gotten more of my friends to join me on the course and signed up for another one in September. I’ve also done 3 half marathons, one Spartan Sprint, signed up for 3 more Spartans, and the Philly Full Marathon.
So, why do I Mudder? Easy. I Mudder to be the best version of myself, push myself to face new physical challenges, and because it’s good for the soul.