Why I Love Tough Mudder

Last month at Lake Elsinore, I dug into my husband’s wet and muddy camelbak to pull out his iPhone and snap this picture during an obstacle course race.  The quality is disappointingly poor as the phone was covered in a slimy film and the buttons were only marginally working by then but it is a favorite photo, regardless.  In this photo there is so much goodness, and kindness, and people being their best selves.  I love it.  And it makes me love Tough Mudder.

There’s our team in bright neon yellow, all tangentially connected to my husband in one way or another.  Down on the left you see Jared and Ashley, cheering loudly, perhaps so loudly their voices might go hoarse.  They just met each other that day.  And they just met most of the team that day, too.  Yet there they are ready to be anyone’s biggest fan as they run on by.  Our weary world needs more of that.  More positivity!  More showing up and assuming the best and championing what works. 
See our team of 27 represents all different people.  Of course, there were those in peak physical condition, and then there was also more of my type  … the squishy bellied, 41 year olds with the bad knees.   But we were also different in a whole host of really meaningful ways.  We spend our Sunday mornings and our Friday nights in different places and we check different boxes in the voting booth.   Both our free time and our volunteering are going in opposite directions.  More than once on that day, I looked around and thought if we all went to some political rally we would end up standing on opposite sides of the street.  But here we are.  Together.  Cheering each other on. 

And this year has been hard for so many of us.  Some have lost parents or spouses.  Some have lost jobs.  There have been in car accidents and health scares.  And we are out here together, largely because we want to try something adventurous, and we want to do it…  together.  They want to do it together, mother and daughter, father and son, husband and wife, co-workers, and friends.  And they want to do it with my husband.
Mother-Daughter Goals
They want to say, just like Bonnie as she is running up the Everest obstacle, ‘I can do new things… I can conquer fears…  I can try hard stuff…  I’ve got more in me.’  And they are doing it with new people and with their closest people, and both groups require vulnerability and bravery and it’s a beautiful thing to see. 
Maybe it’s the trust that gets me the most.  Look at the guy with the long arms, Brent, leaning way past the point of balanced so that he can catch Bonnie, a woman he just met.  He’s doing it because he trusts Eric who told him to do it and who is holding him, and Eric is doing it because he’s got two more people anchoring them both.  So everyone… Bonnie, Brent, Eric, Wat, and more…  they are all there, a team, trusting each other.  Believing.  And in the end, ultimately, making it happen.
With Tough Mudder, I feel a little like the Grinch who looked down on the Whos and then he realizes Christmas is about so more than presents and turkey.  ‘And what happened, then?  Well in Whoville they say – that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day.  And then – the true meaning of Christmas came through, and Grinch found the strength of ten Grinches, plus two!’

THE-GRINCH

Only here, what I realize is that Tough Mudder is about a lot more than just running around sweaty and dirty.  It’s about trust and coming together, cheering each other on and developing a bond, being united and becoming better together, learning you can do hard things and finding yourself brave.  And with all of that, and each new race, my heart grows a few sizes and discovers an inner strength I didn’t know existed.
With love and hope that we all find the strength of ‘ten plus two!’
Jeanine
PS – I wish that for all of you, too.  So if you find yourself at all intrigued, gather a little holiday gift money together and join Eric and me for his 25th Tough Mudder.  It will be on March 3rd, in Acton, just a few miles down the road from us.  We are pumped to make a big deal out of that day because 8 years ago when our son was born, Eric couldn’t even run a mile, and look at him now!  Largely, because he just keeps putting his right foot in front of his left.
Housekeeping Details for any interested future Mudders:  If you are part of my PNW friends and family, we are also planning on doing the event in Seattle September 22.  Contact Eric, (or me to get to Eric) to get a code to sign up for any Tough Mudder for a reduced price if it’s your first time.  The sooner you sign up the better.  I only do the 5 mile “half” mudder, and I never do any obstacle where I am going to fall a good distance down on hard ground, because,… you know… the knees.  So if you want to go slow and skip a few, I’m your gal.

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