I’ve been running on and off for 10 years, and still vividly remember my first running experience after reluctantly signing up for a 5k mud run. I didn’t have a clue as to what I was getting myself into. I hated every bit of the training, but kept telling myself, it had to get easier. I was concerned most about the grueling, steep hill that I would have to tackle at the end of the course. Many past participants said it would, “make or break you.” Although, I trained for the race, I didn’t put my heart into it. I had been a group fitness instructor for years, my ego told me, that this would be a piece of cake. Boy, was I wrong!
The first mile always seems to be the worst, even to this day. It’s when you always ask yourself why you are putting yourself through such torture. The mud run course involved running through knee high water at the beginning, which soaked my tee shirt, making it feel like a weighted 10 lb vest. The second mile was a blur but seemed to go on forever. Then I approached the dreaded hill and my only saving grace was the fact I was close to the finish. I knew immediately I hadn’t put my heart into my training and started beating myself up mentally as I struggled to get to the top. I felt like I was going to throw up and desperately wanted to stop. Finally, once I made it up, I still had another mile to go. I remember the chatter in my head during that run, telling myself how much I hated every moment of that race.
I finally saw a glimpse of the finish where you had to drop to your knees and crawl through muddy water over the finish line. I ripped my knees on rocks and pebbles on the bottom as I crawled through the disgusting muddy water. I truly felt like I was in a movie and my body was in slow motion. I thought this moment in time would never end.
I finally made it to the finish line and was flooded with mixed emotions. I was so proud of myself for completing the race and the feeling was euphoric. I found myself immediately deciding I couldn’t wait to run another race. I know it’s crazy, but there is something about putting your body through an experience like that and actually completing the challenge that makes you want more.
I’ve moved on to half marathons and eventually completed a full marathon (which was on my bucket list) two years ago. I still run 2 to 3 times a week and continue to love the challenge. You learn to develop a mental toughness that gets you through the tough parts of your run. It’s always worth it when you are done. I love the feeling of accomplishment it gives me, the feeling of being strong, invincible and ready to tackle the day. Running is definitely my life with the volume up!