I have been putting this one off for a bit because I wanted to think of all the right words. Last weekend, my sister and I completed a Half Tough Mudder. A Tough Mudder (or the equivalent style race) has been a topic of discussion between the two of us for at least the past few years. We always contemplated doing it, but timing and just being lazy made us put it off. This changed on Mother’s Day when we put all our excuses behind us and bought our tickets. Originally, we were going to do a full run, but it was sold out. While it was easy to essentially do the whole thing, we declined during the race as we weren’t sure how far we trekked and the obstacles behind us. Just under a week later, we completed the half. It was everything we expected and much more.
This was my first time truly doing anything “athletic” or physically demanding since high school when I played junior varsity football. The difference between then and now is 12 years. I wasn’t necessarily in the best shape then. One could argue the same now. Although, I feel that I am in the best shape of my life. For the first time, I silenced “inner bitch” that always tells me that I don’t need to do anything. It is quite the internal dialogue that happens in my head every time I workout. The whole week of the Tough Mudder, I started freaking myself out. I related to going on a huge roller coaster. You are both excited and nervous. That is exactly how I felt and I made sure of one thing. I wanted to be able to catch my breath relatively quickly. I will be the first to admit my cardio is not ideal. I run heavy as many runner made fun of me when I “stomped” through all the puddles.
Spoiler alert: I wasn’t trying to make an extra big splash or anything. This is just my terrible running style.
Obviously, I can’t run a full 5 miles. Thankfully, I didn’t need to as I could barely walk without slipping and sliding; plus the obstacles and such were very difficult. My goal was just to finish. That was it. I wanted to say that I accomplished something physical. I wanted to prove to myself. I am beyond thankful that I had my sister join me. The timing of the Tough Mudder and her arrival home was perfect. I couldn’t imagine anyone else to do this alone with. She helped me and I helped her.
Together, we accomplished this. She felt disappointed in herself as she thought she did better. I disagree. She may still feel like this, but that is nonsense. I think she was just overwhelmed by my awesomeness and the fact that she didn’t expect me to keep up or surpass her at certain times.
Spoiler alert: My training of walking fast up a 15% incline for at least a mile worked out to my advantage on the hills that I never expected.
Now that I finished a half, I want to do more. I am in awe that I was able to not only complete the Tough Mudder, but smile and not feel like complete death afterwards. Gina and I were laughing and smiling the whole time that people thought we were wild for being overly happy. I want to ride on those emotions of overcoming a challenge and pushing myself to a new level. I want to complete a new one. I feel like Gina needs to be there, but her living situation makes that difficult.
What really shocked me was the overwhelming support and compliments by my friends. I know that I am not the most fit person. I am not the most gorgeous person. I live with that. Although, this was the first time people were truly complimenting me on my looks and not what I was wearing or something that they can either purchase or directly replicate. These compliments made me feel all good inside which is why I can see why people love seeing a ton of likes and comments on their picture as if it was their life blood.
Something that really shocked me was people acknowledging my strength. I find that slightly humorous, but quite interesting. I have been lifting somewhat religiously since the end of college. I would say that somewhere between 2013-2014, I really got into the idea of lifting. That is nearly 5 years ago with my gym experience starting in the summer of 2006. I am not even the strongest I was compared to middle of 2017 when I successfully benched 365 after thinking I could barely do 315 and then trying to find my max. It really goes to show that overnight success doesn’t necessarily exist.
It also goes to show that when you’re fat, no one really knows anything. The difference between when I was able to bench 365 and now is easily 40-50 pounds. I don’t necessarily know how much I weighed when I was at my biggest. I would assume it was around 265. The thing is that I never intended on losing weight. It was never my original goal and it fell upon me. It all snowballed and it wasn’t from years of lifting and dieting, but rather getting really sick and having one thing after another happen. I first got really sick, followed by an infection of my wisdom tooth, and ended up with me recovering from the surgery. While they weren’t life threatening, I just wasn’t really able to eat or drink anything for a few weeks. When I saw the progress, I figured it was only time to start running and here we are.
In just a few days, I will be back in Margate. Another summer will start and my first not as a local. I am going to see a lot of friends. While I am excited to show the said “new me,” truth is that I just want to do the same old – lift (and now run) and enjoy the fruits of life. This time, just add a few more races.
I am truly grateful for my family – not just Gina (even though I especially thank her for willing to do the physical activities with me). They continue to motivate me to not be a “chunky monkey,” but to push myself physically and mentally. I am thankful for those who said some really nice words. It really was touching to see that those I haven’t spoke to in a while also said nice comments.
I am in awe that we finished our first @tough_mudder. For years, @gina_marla and I teased the idea, but we always chickened out. This year, while driving to Mother’s Day brunch, we said screw it and bought tickets. We were going to do the full thing, but it was sold out. Glad we didn’t, but I know for a fact that we would have dominated it like we dominated the first 5 Miles. Every single obstacle. Gina killed it. When I struggled to get a grip on the Berlin Wall, she did it with ease. Proud of her for joining me and proud of myself. For the first time ever, I saw the results of me going to the gym day-after-day. We are physically exhausted, but mentally able to continue. We were told we were too happy for completing it. I’m going to do this again. @gina_marla will too. Guaranteed. Full one too. So much fun. Very challenging. Thank you so much for joining me @gina_marla. #TwoChunkyMonkeysFinishedAToughMudder #NoFilter