Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 18, 2018

Are you tough enough?

By Karyn Spory | Jul 27, 2018

Six years ago I was sitting on my couch in my tiny Wisconsin apartment Facebook stalking a guy I liked when I stumbled upon a picture of him and his friends red faced, mud spackled and grinning from ear to ear. I zoomed in on the orange headband they were wearing to get a better look at the logo — the silhouette of a man running out of a fire — they had run a Tough Mudder.

I immediately opened up a new tab and began researching the endurance challenge. A Tough Mudder is a 10 — 12 mile obstacle course, that tests a participant’s physical and mental strength, according to the website. The challenge is the brain child of Will Dean, a former UK counter terrorism agent who based the obstacle course off training exercises used by special forces.

I stayed up that night watching video after video of the event and emailed one to my best friend with a subject line reading “Should we?”

Her response, “no.”

The obstacles include the Artic Enema, where runners dive into dumpsters of ice cold water and forge their way through; a tight tub runners must wiggle though called the Boa Constrictor; the Kiss of Mus, where runners slide onto their bellies and slither beneath barb wire; and the Electroschock Therapy, which is exactly what it sounds like. This is what convinced my friend to give a resounding “no” when I asked if she wanted to sign up for one with me. Also the fact that neither one of us could run 12 miles.

Every year, almost like clockwork I’d fall into a rabbit hole of Tough Mudder videos on YouTube. I’m not sure what appealed to me more — seeing participants scaling what seemed like impossible obstacles or watching the camaraderie of strangers as they banded together to make sure everyone made it on to the next challenge. But as much as I wanted the videos to awaken something inside of me, something that would get me up off the couch, into the gym and out to a Tough Mudder, it never happened.

Growing up I had always wanted to be an athlete. I wanted to be the star softball player, the mvp on the basketball court, but I’d try to run a lap and still be at the starting line while my peers were crossing the finish line. My undiagnosed heart condition may have been the cause them, but it wasn’t holding me back as an adult, my doctors made sure of that.

I’m not sure what changed exactly. But one day I just started walking. I started losing weight. I began feeling happier and made efforts to be healthier in other aspects of my life. And then last August I began working out with a personal trainer, Raul, at the REC Center.

This spring, when I seemed to hit a plateau, Raul asked me what it is I wanted. I wanted to be able to run a Tough Mudder.

In two weeks I’ll do just that. I’m going to run a half Tough Mudder, because 12 miles still seems like an impossible feat. Instead I’ll run five miles with 13 obstacles along the way. And I’m not doing it alone, I convinced my nephew, Jake, to go with me.

So wish me luck, and here’s to crossing something off my bucket list!

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