With an insatiable appetite for mud, it’s a wonder how a partnership between Team Rubicon and Tough Mudder hasn’t already occurred. For first timers and veteran legionnaires, Tough Mudder is an event designed to test your limits. But for me it was more than just a recreational activity; it was a decision to push through those limits. Being that this was my first Tough Mudder, I intended to only do the half run because of a bad ankle; however, as I reached the end of the course, I was met with two roads; go right to finish or go left to run the full eleven-mile course.
Although I was a top runner during my time in the Marine Corps, my pace would be significantly slowed in the spring of 2011 when my vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb while responding to an ambush in Northern Helmand, Afghanistan. The blast ripped a hole through the floor plates, which shattered the bones in my feet. Although I am fortunate to still have my legs, I didn’t retain my full range of motion in my ankle making if difficult to walk and extremely painful to run.
My life had completely changed. I went from being very confident, PT stud and combat leader of Marines, to being thrown into an unfamiliar post-military world hobbling around a college campus. The sense of purpose I had once had now eroded and there was an overwhelming sense that I would never be the same.
It took a flood ravaging a small mountain town to help me once again discover my purpose. Joining Team Rubicon for Operation What the Flood in Colorado allowed me to see my true potential as a community member, redefining myself as a more resilient person.
Soon after, the first time I would run was three years after being wounded. I was originally preparing to walk a Veterans Day 5k in order to create awareness on veteran suicide but took a chance to see how far I could push myself. I finished the race within Marine Corps standards, but the physical pain stayed with me for several days after.
When I heard about the Tough Mudder partnership with Team Rubicon, I knew this would be a chance for me to come together with other runners, specifically veterans once again and push myself harder, this time, than ever before.
I came to that fork in the course, and it was decision time: go right and do half or go left and continue the full course. A thought occurred to me as the rest of the Team Rubicon group marched towards the next obstacle, that I had Marine brothers who would never again make a decision like go right or go left because they made the ultimate sacrifice. Letting them down wasn’t a choice. I chose left.
What followed was running 11 long, grueling miles. But it was also the first time running 11 miles since being wounded. It could only have been achieved with the support and motivation of Greyshirts along the way. The Tough Mudder partnership is a year-long commitment. This is an opportunity to see what kind of person you are, and show you how extraordinary people can push you past any limitation.