You just crossed the finish line, your heart is pumping, energy is off the charts, and you’re covered in mud. Whether it was your first or your 50th Tough Mudder the feeling washing over you already has you pumped for more.
So what’s serving up that, “Holy sh*t, I can’t believe I just did that” feeling? It’s not the beer you just chugged; it’s epinephrine. In response to the 10 miles of stress your body just endured, epinephrine aka adrenaline, just flooded your circulatory system (along with a ton of feel-good endorphins).
Adrenaline: A Natural Stimulant
Adrenaline is a natural stimulant, known to help athletes crush goals they didn’t think were possible. Endorphins flush the brain which helps suppress any type of pain and adrenaline flows to the heart, which makes it pump faster, increasing your blood pressure and oxygen. All of this, thanks to adrenaline, rushes to your muscles and carries them a little further than normal.
Adrenaline: The Superhero Secret
Whether you climb ridiculously high mountains with minimal restraints, or have crossed multiple Tough Mudder finish lines, you know the feeling of an adrenaline rush can be addicting. Thanks to the dopamine increase flowing through your system you feel you can conquer anything, but alas, adrenaline rushes aren’t meant to last last forever. Once it’s through making you feel like a new age Superman, it’s your job to be your own adrenaline and keep going.
Adrenaline and Your Comfort Zone
So where does adrenaline cut out and simply pushing yourself past your comfort zone kick in? The answer is simple, it happens when you allow it to. Whenever you’re working out, whether it’s crushing a strength training session, running a marathon, or going through an intense Yoga flow, there comes a point where your body says, “Shit, this is hard. Can we stop?” and in return you say, “HELL NO!” because you CAN do it. You CAN push through that extra rep (heavy breathing inserted here), you WILL finish that last mile (wipes sweat away from forehead), and you WILL hold that crow pose just one second longer (namaste) because you refuse to not let yourself.
Adrenaline and Mental Grit
There’s a huge mental part played in this game. When you get to the point when giving up seems like a great option (and it will come), there are a few things to remind yourself of to motivate you to keep pushing forward:
You’re not going to achieve the goal you set if you stop now.
Channel your inner Coach and just keep moving.
Keep your credibility. Mudders aren’t quitters.
The beginning is the hardest and you’re already done with that – so don’t stop now.
Your Next Adrenaline Rush
Try setting a goal, or trying an activity, beyond one you’ve already accomplished (maybe even World’s Toughest Mudder). If you ever have self-doubt about this new goal (and you might because that’s part of being a human), think about how gratifying the feeling was of accomplishing something you worked hard for. That feeling of awesomeness mixed with satisfaction mixed with an “I can conquer the world” attitude and a shot of adrenaline is the perfect combination to crush any goal you set for yourself.