Team Wild took on the Tough Mudder this past weekend at Road America in Elkhart Lake. After 10 weeks of training, our team was prepared to cover 10.5 miles of muddy, rugged, and obstacle filled terrain. The weather was perfect with temperatures in the lower 70’s and sunny. Energy and enthusiasm was at an all time high. Team Wild and all the Tough Mudder participants were filled with excitement and anticipation of the days events. “This is not a race, it’s a challenge” was the announcement at the beginning of the Tough Mudder. This statement accurately describes this muddy event. Tough Mudder is not about leaving people in your dust, it’s about teamwork and fun. Team Wild ran, walked, climbed, jumped and slid our way through the course. We laughed, complained, cheered and closed our eyes to get through the toughest moments. We met many Mudder participants through kind words of encouragement, sharing jokes and reaching out a helping hand. Tough Mudder was not on my radar of things I wanted to accomplish. As a runner and multi-sport athlete, I was not intrigued by this muddy obstacle course. As a competitive person, I always enjoyed toeing the line and seeing how fast I could finish. But this year, I became a Tough Mudder Coach and the opportunity presented itself to participate in this event. Being a spectator would not be enough to coach Team Wild. I needed to be out there every muddy step of the way. So I signed up for my first Tough Mudder and… I LOVED IT! Tough Mudder is pure fun with your friends. Yes the obstacles and distance are challenging, but there is no pressure to finish in a certain time or compete with others around you. Just fun, camaraderie and a sense of accomplishment is what you feel when you do the Tough Mudder. I’m an outdoor girl, so the Tough Mudder was right up my alley. I loved being on the trails, in the woods and out under the bright blue sky. Up at the top of a hills I enjoyed view of the surrounding woodland scenery. Covering the 10.5 miles on trails and grass is great for the hiker and the trail runner. I had flashbacks of childhood play at many of the Tough Mudder obstacles. Jumping of a plank into a pool of water reminded me of braving the high dive during summer swimming lessons. The “Pole Dancer” and “Funky Monkey” resembled hanging and swinging on a jungle gym. These obstacles invited a playful attitude to just try and attempt something that we usually don’t have exposure to in our everyday lives. Going to this event with friends or a team is what makes it so special. I felt so proud when I would complete an event. But even more exciting was seeing Team Wild and the other Mudders around me hang tough and get through an obstacle. No joke, when we all got through “Electricshock Therapy” my eyes filled with tears that they all made it. That was a proud coach moment. You take the journey as a team and finish as a team. You meet many other Mudders throughout your day that are kind, encouraging and helpful. There truly is no Mudder left behind. Tough Mudder is about facing your fears and the self doubts that hold you back. I found myself standing in front of an obstacle asking, “Can I do this”. Instead of thinking too much, my philosophy was to just go and see what happens. I thought this was the perfect analogy to life and how often we let fears hold us back. Sometimes we just need to trust, go for it, and see what happens. You could complete the obstacle and surprise yourself. You could also fall into a pit of muddy water and just move on. So I bet your are wondering if I would do the Tough Mudder again? The answer is “YES” and I would encourage you to try it as well. You do need to train and be prepared. Don’t take the 10 to 12 mile course and obstacles lightly. But if you do the preparation, I have no doubt in my mind that you will be able to call yourself a Tough Mudder.