Category Archives: Running

I am one Tough Mudder

“If you want to change you have to be willing to be uncomfortable”

If someone were to ask me to define myself I would most certainly call myself a cyclist, I would ride all day if I could. By no means would I ever call myself a runner. Runners love running. Even if a runner moans and groans about the process of going to run, they get out there and love the actual running. I moan and I groan getting ready to go and the whole while I am doing it. This is in stark contrast to the clarity and freedom I feel in my mind while I am riding (even in the toughest of conditions). I had always thought about doing a Tough Mudder but once I fell in love with cycling that thought pretty much faded away. Besides… the thought of adding military style obstacles throughout a 10-12 mile run made the idea that much less appealing as well.

The opportunity, however, resurfaced when my brother convinced me to do one with him as his Christmas present and I was sure that I would be a “one and done” type of mudder. I wanted to have the experience with my brother because, despite our individual athletic endeavors/accomplishments, we had never done any sort of event together. Despite my hesitation about getting electrocuted, being covered in mud, jumping into ice war, and getting tear gassed I was very excited to finally be able to cross Tough Mudder off my to-do list. 10422302_10204914583558894_4666883680843050455_n The day arrived and it seemed like every single thing that could go wrong was going wrong. We were late leaving our hotel, got caught in a horrendous traffic jam, and everyone was on edge. We finally made it to the event location in Doswell, VA and my anxiety was through the roof. I was worried that I hadn’t trained enough, that I would let my brother down, that I would get injured, and about a whole host of other nonsensical things. The atmosphere, however, was electric. There were teams of people everywhere seemingly working to psych themselves up for their impending mission. It seemed like everyone was also trying to act really confident and “better” than the next person walking by. It actually became kind of humorous which helped to lessen the anxiety I was feeling. 10629800_845132567278_4432652533047138123_n We quickly located the rest of my brother’s friends whom were a part of the ‘For Great Justice’ team, put all our final preparations in place, and got all the registration stuff completed. We had missed our original start time so we started with the 9:15am wave. My parents, my kids, my pregnant sister-in-law, and the significant others of the other team members all registered as spectators and were able to follow along on some of the course to watch us complete the obstacles. 11249634_10205885245304831_8379264542788722271_n  11403019_845132357698_927840402909850716_n

The experience in itself was a truly amazing one that emphasized teamwork rather than individual strength. And this wasn’t just teamwork amongst your own team members but across every team line there was. Everyone taking part in the event wanted to help you and see you succeed, whether it was during the log carry or getting over a wall or swinging on a rope, or whatever really. There were no teams on the course, only friends. Friends you never knew you had but friends nonetheless. It is a truly humbling feeling to know that you can ask any one of those hundreds of people for help and they wouldn’t hesitate to give it. I am not sure that I have ever been part of such a thing. The running sucked but that didn’t even seem to matter because once we did the first obstacle, I knew I would do another Tough Mudder and that I would be perfectly fine getting through this one.

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I don’t feel the need to describe every obstacle that we faced because they were all hard whether physically or psychologically. There were some that I wished I would’ve done better that still haunt me when I think about them and others that I aced. I am very proud of the fact that I attempted every single obstacle placed in front of me even the tear gas, ice water bath, and electrocution. I can honestly say that I loved every last one of them too which probably makes me sound a tad bit crazy. Truth is, we all have a little crazy in us, I like to think of my crazy as the good kind though.

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It was amazing to have my kids and my parents there to witness us go through the grueling course. I feel like my kids look at me differently now, with a stronger sense of pride at who their mother is. They have heard me talk about races and bike rides but they never actually witnessed me do one. And, of all the things that I have completed, this was definitely the one that probably looked the toughest. It was pretty amazing to get to hug them as I crossed the finish line and be able to see the pride in their faces. It was also fun having to sit in the car with them while they went on and on about wanting to do one themselves and how they made me promise to do one with them when they turn 16. And, promise I did. I will be way older but I will gladly do it with them and we will love every minute of it.


I also feel as if my brother and I became closer in what we dubbed as the #SiblingToughMudder. Something indescribable happened as we suffered through the heat and struggled, pushed through, and overcame all the obstacles placed before us. It is not something that I can even find the words to describe but I know it is there and so does he. We finished something amazing together and no one can take that experience away from us.

22813_845134159088_7310626159312185026_n  11430095_845135815768_8390351094462006586_n10306488_10100147521932214_1746628636284687393_n 11430108_10205886916386607_1657985124624413186_n11427205_10205887293876044_2279050131382637052_n So… while I would still define myself first and foremost as a cyclist, I think I can safely add Tough Mudder to that definition as well. Besides, I am already the proud owner of a ticket for the Central Florida Tough Mudder on November 7, 2015. I’m gonna be a Legionnaire after all!! I truly am a masochist and a glutton for punishment. 11141163_10205887375918095_2171056622339766266_n 11415330_10205886750302455_5759940302544225200_n 994112_10205924985938322_3255529296967127442_n

Nothing becomes SOMETHING

It’s strange to not have a cycling goal to work towards in my life. For almost the past 2 years there was constantly another challenge that I was pushing forward towards. Now? There’s nothing… And that’s kinda how it feels at the moment. Like nothing.
True, there’s really nothing that I need to make me want to get on my bike. Riding is like breathing to me, I would most definitely die if I didn’t ride. While I realize that statement seems a little extreme, it’s kinda how I feel.
So, I find myself sitting in a hotel room in Washington DC thinking about the fact that right now I should really be fighting with my bed in Gainesville so that it will free me so that I could get up and ride. Instead, I’m sitting here pondering my latest life challenge that is completely un-cycling related.

The same way that I am passionate about cycling, my brother is passionate about doing Tough Mudders. I mean, the guy tore an Achilles’ tendon while living in India, rehabbed it, and then trained to do a Tough Mudder for 8 months when he moved back to the U.S. He did it and then he was hooked. He told me that he wanted to do a “sibling” Mudder to which I agreed half-heartedly (I always wanted to do a Tough Mudder but cycling was my thing then, I didn’t want to run anywhere). He had all kinds of plans to do tons more and then, in the true nature that is our precarious relationship with the universe and injury combined, he tore his OTHER Achilles’ tendon last summer. I talked to him the same day and he sounded pitiful. I already knew what was going to happen… And happen it did. I promised to do a Tough Mudder with him as his Christmas gift.
So here I sit, staring at the Potomac River and Georgetown across it pondering our sibling Tough Mudder in two days and wondering what the hell is wrong with me. I constantly dream of making my body ride a bike 100+ miles up some gorgeous mountain where I will have incredible views and adversities that I’ve overcome to write about. Instead, on Saturday, I will be forcing myself to jump into ice water, to be electrocuted, to be teargassed (really, wtf?), to be caked in mud, to do other ridiculous obstacles, and even to RUN (a lot)! Just as in cycling, I don’t like to know the truth about what’s coming. But, also as my coach loves to tell me the truth, so does my brother. (That’s how I found out about being teargassed!) I’ve looked at the map but tried not to study what obstacles we’ll be doing because, honestly, I do better with convincing myself to go forward when I have no clue what’s around the bend.

So, my nothing has become something. Not quite the something I had planned for but a something nonetheless. Now all I can do is bide my time until Saturday, take in some sites in this beautiful city, and pray that I make it through the Tough Mudder with all my body parts attached and unbroken.

Here’s to great ideas and super ridiculous Christmas presents!! Who knows… Maybe I’ll end up wanting to be a Mudder Legionnaire!! After all, I clearly enjoy torturing myself…