I did my first Tough Mudder a few weeks ago up in beautiful Whistler BC.
Signing up was all about being a part of a team, having some fun, challenging my fitness and hanging out with some of my favourite people.
So what was the most gruelling part of this 19 km obstacle course?
My answer may surprise you.
On the Tuesday prior to the event the course details were released and I had an opportunity to look at the obstacles in what I believed was an exercise in preparation.
Ironically, this did not prepare me for anything and only fuelled feelings of anxiety, fear (oh yes and did this ever hit me hard) and took my focus off every reason behind my enthusiasm to sign up in the first place.
I got so caught up in my head about all the obstacles I didn’t want to do, and the experience I didn’t want to have, that I robbed myself of being excited about just showing up with NO EXPECTATIONS.
I wrote a story in my mind about what the day was going to look like and how I was going to feel without ever having done an event like this before. I stressed about it, cried about it, and then threw down some good old self judgement because I felt silly for being so scared and anxious. I put myself in a mental no win situation.
Everyone gave me support and encouragement but my own self doubts and fears drowned out the voices of rationality.
I remember a time when thrill seeking was just a part of my life. Being afraid, being challenged and stepping outside of comfortable made me feel alive. Being nervous and a little anxious meant I was about to have a new adventure and it was exciting.
Sitting in my emotions leading up to the Mudder I realized that after Jake came into my world I put aside that adventurous, thrill seeking and playful side and had settled into comfortable.
Comfortable can be a tricky state of being.
Getting uncomfortable takes courage and it take practise. Comfortable can keep us stuck in jobs we don’t like, in relationships that no longer serve us, in behaviour patterns that don’t encourage our personal growth and in lives and bodies that we don’t love. It can dull our spirits and extinguish our sparkle.
I love what I have built for myself both personally and professionally but what I love the most about my life is that I am constantly challenging myself to step into new ways of being.
I really like being uncomfortable in business because I know it means I am growing, changing and creating something new but I had forgotten what it felt like to be uncomfortable with my physical activity.
The Tough Mudder helped me realize that it’s time to nurture the part of me that craves adventure and the discomfort of taking my fitness outside of the gym. It reminded me that getting uncomfortable in my life fills my spiritual bucket and helps me come alive. When I am challenging my own physicality I don’t have to be a mom, a wife or a entrepreneur. It is just for ME and gives me a personal energy boost and feeling of accomplishment.
So the story I wrote in my head about how I believed the day was going to play out was all wrong. It was beautiful, sunny and never once was I cold. After running 3 or 4 km up and down the mountain to the first obstacle (the Arctic Enema) I was willing to just go for it and jump in. My partner held my hand, we counted down and the next thing I knew it was over. The feeling of accomplishment was overwhelming and it empowered me to just be present, in the moment and grab the rest of the day by the horns. I attacked every obstacle after with a “do not hesitate” attitude and enjoyed every moment with my team mates and hubby by my side.
The obstacles I had obsessed over because I was afraid and unwilling to just have a “lets see” attitude were all conquered along with my fears, with the help and support of my team mates.
When we have the courage to be uncomfortable and shift our focus to what we CAN do, what we CAN have and what we are capable of achieving anything can
I am grateful again to the coaches in my life that supported me through this, listened and offered new perspectives. (Special thanks to all my MPT team mates and Maki for bringing us all together and to Keri-Anne for a motivation speech that had me laughing)
So the hardest part of the Tough Mudder was my own mental anguish BEFORE the event AND it was also the biggest gift. I learned more about myself, what I am capable of and that I can still push the boundaries and live an even bigger life. I learned that I still “don’t have this” and that I can still be afraid, vulnerable and challenged.
You don’t have to take on the Tough Mudder to get uncomfortable but you can survey your life and get honest with yourself about where being comfortable is keeping you stuck.
If you want to change your body, your health or your fitness then accept that discomfort comes with change BUT it won’t last forever.
“If it isn’t challenging you, it isn’t changing you”
Taking baby steps towards the life and body you want for yourself doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It just takes doing one new thing, trying one new thing and giving yourself permission to enjoy the ride and accept that what feels uncomfortable today may become second nature down the road.
(I don’t know if the Tough Mudder will become second nature but I can tell you I have registered again for next year and encourage ANYONE who has even considered it to just step into the challenge. YOU are capable if you are willing to get uncomfortable and just do it and the more the merrier!!)
If you want to know how you can start making changes to your health you can read a two part article I wrote
Part 1 If nothing changes, nothing changes
Part 2 Doing less is doing more. The powerful impact of positive change
I will end this post with the question that was posed to us at the beginning of the Tough Mudder for you to ponder in your own life.
When was the last time you did something for the first time??