Why Community Matters: Tough Mudder Endurance

So last month I made the commitment… I signed up for World’s Toughest Mudder. I went to toughmudder.kr, selected World’s Toughest Mudder Individual Participant, added on the Monday brunch, and BAM, that was that. I am in and I am committed! You can read all about my sign up story, Starting My Journey to World’s Toughest Mudder here.

Since the big sign up, my training has gone into full swing and I hit the mud for my first 2021 Tough Mudder Endurance series event– Toughest Mudder West in Seattle. And guess what happened? I made it to the PODIUM for my age group! I proudly limped my way up, hobbled onto the podium, and accepted my bronze medal after a night covering 35 miles. It was such an incredible and rewarding feeling to stand on that podium in front of my friends and family, including my eight year old son – who proudly watched his mama accept her medal.

So how did I get here? How did I go from a) a Crohn’s disease patient who had to put her athleticism on hold to b) proudly accepting a medal after an incredibly competitive 12 hour overnight endurance race?

Is it because I’m a lunatic who lives, breathes, and eats OCR training for breakfast? No. Ok, maybe the lunatic part is accurate but not the rest. As a mother, a fiancé, and a full time professional geologist I have to sometimes dig deep to find the time, energy, and motivation to keep my training going. For me, my motivation is rooted from the strength of the Tough Mudder community.

It all started with my first Tough Mudder in Colorado five years ago at a time when I just started getting active again after a bumpy road of diagnosis. What really hit me during my first Tough Mudder was the community. I watched strangers become fast friends as you help each other overcome challenging obstacles. That day I realized that with the backing of this community, I’m strong and capable of so much.

I think as you consider running World’s Toughest Mudder, it’s so important to keep in mind that you aren’t going to go at this alone. You’ll have the backing of the entire Tough Mudder community racing alongside you and cheering you on. During the 12-hour Toughest Mudder in Seattle, we each spent the time to work together to help each other out of the Mud Mile, over Blockness Monster, and up Everest. We also cheered for each other as we tackled Electroshock Therapy (which I, no shame, approached Mission Impossible style and tried to delicately dodge every hanging wire of pain) and the Gauntlet. As I approach my first 24 hour Worlds Toughest Mudder, a lot of the courage I’ve built up has to do with the knowledge that I will not be alone out there.

As far as the nitty gritty of training, I have found that having the carrot of an upcoming Tough Mudder has been my main motivation to keep me going. Tough Mudder Milestones have also helped tremendously with keeping me on track by setting discrete goals for running, cycling, and elevation. So, as I’m training for World’s Toughest Mudder, I’m also gradually earning milestone medals, which is super encouraging! Sometimes it’s really tedious to get that 25 mile cycling session in…but if it’s going to earn me my next milestone medal I’ll push just that little bit extra to get there!

I think overall the take home message is you’re not alone out there and you are capable of so much. Being comfortable (or slightly comfortable) with embracing the suck and jumping into the mud to laugh, grunt, and push yourself through the obstacles is key. And at the end, there will be high fives, a dry towel, and brunch! Can’t wait to see you all in the mud!