Of muddy sneakers, motivation, and mustering up the strength to say no…

A few weeks ago, I once again realized the limitations of my physical state.  These moments of realization are never fun.

A group of people from my company are doing the USMC Mud Run.  A lot of ACSers did the run last year and enjoyed it.  Someone’s muddy running shoes even stayed hidden in the bushes behind the Tech Building for like 5-6 months after the run.

The company really gets behind the mud run and the mud runners.  Last year, they had a special dinner for them, and after the run, everyone’s pictures, times, and stories were in the monthly employee newsletter.  Needless to say, it’s a pretty big deal.

You see, the USMC Mud Run is no ordinary race- it’s an obstacle course.  The actual run distance is a little over four miles, but there are tons of obstacles and physical challenges in the race.  You get covered in mud- your whole body, not just up to your knees or hips or something, but EVERYTHING.  The run is in September, and while it’s usually cooling down by then, Saturdays in September are pretty warm in South Carolina.  Not to mention training during the notoriously sultry August heat and humidity.

Since almost everyone in the company knows I run, people have brought up participating in the mud run many times. Some of them are serious, did it last year, and know what the mud run entails.  Others… well, I think some people just want to make conversation with me in the break room, and the Mud Run is the hot topic.

I’ve always avoided it because well… I’m not big on mud.  I don’t mind my feet and legs getting a little dirty.  I don’t mind being soaked in sweat.  But jumping from 13 feet into the air into a puddle of mud… eh, that’s pushing it.  Slightly.

A couple of weeks ago, one of the diehard Mud Runners approached me about joining his mud run team.  Apparently someone on his team can’t do the run anymore, so he’s looking for a teammate and  knows that I’m physically (and now medically!) able to run and that I’m slightly crazy.  I’ll give him credit- he really had a good case for getting me on his team.

It’s a lot harder to turn someone down because you physically *can’t* do a Mud Run, than oh, say, turning him down because you’re not a big mud fan.

For one thing, I can’t really run outdoors much right now (it’s HOT).  My workouts should be ‘supervised’ (several supervisors from work are doing the Mud Run, but somehow I don’t think that’s what the doctor meant).  Although my iron levels and blood counts aren’t “severely low” anymore, they’re still nowhere near normal.  Plus, I push myself VERY hard when I train for anything… and well, I can’t push myself right now.

Hands down, saying no pretty much sucked.

However, I didn’t let it get me down.  I remember driving about 6 miles to work one chilly early February morning and thinking- I could never run this far!  Fortunately, I have encouraging people in my life who believed in me, and I try not to back down, no matter how challenging something is.  A month and a half later, I ran a 10K and finished first in my age group, just over an hour and a 3-person age group- but I did it!

So technically, I could run to work if I wanted to.  Pretty sure no one would come near smelly-sweaty-little-me all day (hey, maybe that’s the key to avoiding extra work and meetings!!), but I could do it.

And YOU can do it too.  No matter what you can’t do- you CAN do something.  Maybe you can only walk or run half of mile- I know a few people who’d love to just be able to WALK.  If you made the conscious choice to go out and walk or run, or lift weights, or dance, or do yoga… even for maybe 10 or 20 minutes- you’re doing better than the 90% of people who just sat on the couch.  Did you know that if you exercise for 30 minutes, 3 times a week (walking, running, yoga, cycling, etc… anything!), you’re more active than half of America?

Heck, I’m flattered someone asked me to be on a team and run through the mud, even if I had to say no.  I was always picked last for everything in school, so to even be considered… that’s pretty sweet!  That’s already a step in the right direction!

I might not be able to do a mud run this year, right now…

… But maybe someday, you’ll see my muddy running shoes in those bushes.

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This entry was posted in Back of the Pack, Motivation, Running, Work. Bookmark the permalink.

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