Tales of Inspiration #1 – Hannah and the Mudathlon
My first tale comes from a young lady I met at the gym through the RUN club. She amazes me with her dedication to fitness and to running. She is by far the youngest runner in our club, but she holds her own with the rest of us. She is a true inspiration to her friends as well as all of us supporting her at the gym!
This picture is a pretty accurate representation of what our whole team was going through as we went into the Mudathalon: healthy fear. None of us had ever done this before. As we were packing up our towels ‘n’ things (water, granolas, socks, bug spray, sunscreen) for the drive, I knew that we were gearing up for something totally new. Who brings a towel to a race? Does anyone else have to duct tape their shoes to their ankles? The only races I’d ever done were local 5Ks, and this was a whole new level. I’d only been running since about February at this point, and I didn’t know if we could do it.
Once we got there, the energy was amazing. This was just 5k with obstacles, but nearly 2000 people had gathered into what was apparently a paintball course to have some fun. Some even came in costume-I saw suits, fairies, and a few teams that were dressed up as the Avengers. (We took notes for next year.) Even before the race began, there was never a moment to take a breath. Waves took off about every 15 minutes, so we saw what we were about to go through 3 times-and then it was our turn.
Smoke filled the start corral, and we took off. The first obstacles included jumping over hay bales as tall as cars and ducking through tires. They didn’t get harder throughout the course, but it was more difficult to do them as the rough terrain (sometimes running with our feet at 45 degree angles through slippery mud) took a toll on our bodies. There were log jumps, wall scalings, monkey bars, and other obstacles. I lost track of the group somewhere around mile 2-and even though I was technically lagging behind, I felt like Bear Grylls. The trees provided the perfect cover from the sun, and there were times when I was alone on the course. I’m not typically a sentimental person, but the beauty and power of it all took me aback. The last river bank up to the finish line could only be scaled with a slippery rope. It was a thrill.
When my mom took this picture of Renee (on the left) and me, we were about 200 yards of mucky water from the finish line. Even though the majority of my team finished before me, I felt hugely accomplished. In the end, there was a row of hose-like showers to clean off, and a tent where shoes could be donated to those in need. I was almost sad to see the layer of much from the journey going away, but I knew that the Mudathalon had left invisible evidence. I’d pushed aside my fears and went for it. There were multiple times when I thought that I would fall off of the wall as I was swinging over it, or that I would get a weird burn from going down the slide too fast, or-the feeling that I had in the beginning-that I would hold my team back and not finish at all. When we had all finished, though, it didn’t matter that I’d only been running since February-what mattered was that we were all part of a team and gave all our effort and had fun. Their slogan’s right: it was a mucking good time!