Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tough Mudder After Thoughts

The Perseverance Project Post:

If any of you follow my blog Waiting for Morning you have probably read by now that I didn't finish the Tough Mudder.

To make a long story short the cold and wet became too much for me and I called it a day at mile 5.5. A few hours under warm blankets and some dry clothes made me good as new except for my wounded pride.

It really bothers me that I didn't finish.

It has been a few weeks now and I've spent a lot of time mulling this over in my mind. The whole point of this blog, of my life, is to you can imagine that this isn't sitting well with me. But at the same time, there is something to be said about taking on something that could very well be too much. Only pursuing what we are certain to succeed at doesn't build character. It is the risk involved, the very real potential of failure, that makes succeeding-persevering-a triumph. Nothing is accomplished in playing it safe...

Which is all well and good when, despite the odds, the goal is met. Then you can have a party and pat yourself on the back and feel super good about all the hard work you put in because, well, it all paid off.

But what about when it doesn't? What about FAILURE?

I don't like FAILURE. Mostly I don't like it because I don't like the feeling that accompanies it. Failure feels like the moment just before you throw up, that really sick feeling accompanied by complete panic-you know exactly what I mean. But unlike being sick, failure lingers. It sticks with you. Well, it sticks with me.

The fact of the matter is, I did not meet my goal. I set out to finish the Tough Mudder and I didn't. That disappoints me. But...

Lets keep it in perspective. The Tough Mudder was a HUGE goal for me. From the beginning I worried it was over my head. And although I trained very hard for it, I knew it wasn't hard enough. Life prevented me from being where I knew I needed to be. And that happens sometimes. I am not one of those in shape even when I'm out of shape type of people. Being a mom and wife and running my tea company took its toll on me. I did my best with the time I had, but at the end of the day my limited time was NOT enough. Unfortunately this is real life and that is what happens in real life-we are not always as ready as we need to be.

These are not excuses though, just facts. I didn't succeed at the Tough Mudder YET-but the experience was not lost on me. I learned TONS about myself. I learned that I like belly crawling though mud and gravel. I learned that, through will power alone, I can submerge myself in ice cold water. I also learned that I know when enough is enough. I know my limits and I know when to call it a day. Sometimes it is better to live to fight another day.

The single benefit of failure is that I will use the experience to succeed at my next Tough Mudder. Yes-I am not finished. I said that I would finish the entire thing and I will. I wasn't successful two weeks ago but that doesn't mean I just throw my hands up. It means that I get even MORE ready and I try AGAIN until I succeed.

Because that is what perseverance is-never giving up.

Failure is only failure if we let it stop us. Failure becomes power if we let it motivate us.
And trust me. I am feeling pretty motivated right now.

Here is my last I climbed up the mountain in Snow Valley two weeks ago surrounded by other Tough Mudders along side my wonderful teammates (and friends) I thought about my girls. I was cold (ridiculously cold) and wet and really starting to doubt my ability to make it to the end. Mentally I was struggling as much as I was struggling physically. I felt overwhelmed-the altitude, the cold, the wet, the incline, the distance-it all seemed beyond my capabilities. But so did losing my girls three years ago. Grief is a tough mountain to climb too. I never thought I'd survive it.

Yet here I am.

The Tough Mudder was TOUGH. Super tough. But hands down, grief was (is) tougher. And I had to be carried down the mountain of grief more than once before I finally made it to the top. I broke down countless time convinced I just couldn't go another step. But I refused to give up. I had failures. I had set backs. I faced things I didn't even know I'd be facing-things I wasn't ready for. But I didn't let it stop me. I let the failure teach me how to succeed the next time around and I tried as many times as I need to...

I'll be stronger the next time I step on that mountain, any mountain.

So I guess it wasn't as much of a failure as it was a set back. And in the scheme of things, it was a privilege to be "set back"- I am stronger for it.

I'll keep you posted on my next Tough Mudder adventure. I will earn that orange head band soon enough.


  1. I love this post, and it is exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you <3

  2. Good luck, Rachel! :)
    Don't be too hard on yourself!

  3. This is Dee from What a WONDERFUL blog post, it nearly brought me to tears. I admire your perseverance so much. I wish you the best of luck in all you do! God is faithful! Look forward to seeing you with that orange headband. God bless<3

  4. I don't think you failed at all, Rachel! It sounds like the event is really tough. And you deserve a lot of credit for even doing it when so many don't!!

  5. But still, you join and your one of the participant in Tough Mudder race. And still you made those courses, the courses in Tough Mudder are really hard. Thanks for sharing this to us, but still you deserve my Congratulations to you Rachel !


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