This past weekend I had a great out-of-the-box experience when I participated with nine awesome women teammates in the physical, mud-filled event, Mudderella. It is a team-driven, five mile course consisting of thirteen obstacles to conquer along the way. I was asked to join this event eight months prior and thought it sounded like a lot of fun. We solicited other women ranging in age between 20-52, formed a team, and called ourselves “Lethal Ladies”.
What entices people to pay good money to slosh around in the mud? Initially, for me it was a new challenge that would take me out of my comfort zone, something to work toward, focus on, and train for. In hindsight, I see it’s benefits were so much more.
My training for the event wasn’t too different from my usual workouts: running, yoga, cycling, and strength training, but I did add workouts at the track with teammates. This was one of my favorite aspects because friendships became stronger and it was nice to workout with others. Typically, I work out alone because of my schedule, so sharing the journey with others was nice. Camaraderie is such a great gift.
As 'Mud Day' approached, I didn’t really feel nervous, but wondered how it would be: perhaps grueling? Would I be able to do all of the obstacles? Would it be really crowded (I hate to run in crowds)? Would my nagging Achilles injury act up? Mudderella claims “if you can run a mile, you can do Mudderella”. Well I run a lot and felt pretty confident in my abilities and the “bring it on!” attitude of my team members helped build excitement.
On event day, we awakened early, drove almost two hours north to the venue. As I stood at the starting line with my Lethal Ladies teammates, amid a sea of brave women of diverse ages, shapes, sizes, I felt so … empowered … and happy. I was proud to be standing there with my friends, especially with my 23-year old daughter, Katy.
The first mile was hot. Slick with sweat, we paired up to piggy-back a teammate at the first obstacle. I thought for sure I’d drop Becky because sweaty legs are slippery. Thankfully I didn’t. We went through wooded trails that wound around to the next obstacle. In the beginning, I’d run around mud slicks, but after a couple of miles it really didn't matter. Might as well go right through it!
Wading through thick murky, stinky water (there was a definite stench of manure) wasn’t the most pleasant experience, but it had to be done! (I just wanted to avoid getting it in my eyes and mouth). Sliding down, face-first through a tunnel into this rank water was nasty. Yet, at the same time, it felt good to cool off. The heat had deteriorated my standards, I guess.
On we went, crawling army-style through dark tunnels, climbing over ten-foot walls, jumping into water-filled trenches. We were soaked, stinky, mud-caked, and attracting flies (that’s when you know you stink!). Yet, when I looked around at my teammates and other women, there were only smiles and laughter! It was amazing! WOMEN are amazing!
We all conquered something on that course. Katy had to maneuver around a frog in a water trench (she’s not a frog fan) and cope with the fact that she reeked of fertilizer (as we all did). Deb hesitated but made it through the thick, muddy waters with encouragement from Karen. As I jogged with our youngest team member, Samantha, she called out words of encouragement, “Way to go ladies! Keep up the good work!” She’s a good motivator.
I am particularly impressed with two of the young moms on our team, Kaitlyn and Danielle. They both have young children and jobs –busy lives that don’t always allow time for exercise, so training wasn’t always an option for them. However, not only did they kick butt but they did it with a smile and never a complaint! Such strength and willpower!
Donna discovered that she likes to run. Karen ran as much as her knee would allow, displaying her strength and stamina. Chris soldiered on with a smile the entire way. Becky ran, climbed, and crawled with strength and determination.
We walked across the finish line in our squishy sneakers, sodden hair and clothing, muck-filled, mud-covered, grimy, with a whiff of eau de manure, and it was all good. Our sense of accomplishment, strength, unity, and pride over flowed! In fact, many of us promised to participate next year for our sidelined teammate, Tammy. Lethal Ladies 2.0!
Why do I share this story with you? I’m a health coach so this blog always ties-in with wellness. All aspects of life are wellness. Every day, our choices either strengthen or weaken our wellness. I choose to enhance mine as often as possible through healthful eating, exercising, healthy relationships, and leaving the coziness of my comfort zone to try something new. It all counts!
Step outside of the box and into some mud!