At The Forge we like to think we are hot on our health & fitness. Holly and I love running, I play in a netball league and Holly is often up early seeing the dawn in with her sun salutations… This week is Women’s Sports Week – a time for women in sport to celebrate, raise awareness and increase the profile of women’s sport across the UK – so we thought we’d do our bit!
A little over a week ago, I crossed the finish line of my very first Tough Mudder – 10 miles and 22 challenges. Yes a unisex sport, but lots of women take part and run and be challenged alongside men, so this firmly fits the bill for this week. And besides this is the moment I get to harp on about how much I loved it, how I want to do it all over again and provide you with details of my seriously cool war wounds and how the ‘arctic enema’ was no walk in the park.
But I also want to share with you the exhilaration of feeling part of a ‘hundred-if-not-thousand-strong’ team and how the kindness of strangers pretty much lifted me through and left me thinking that the ‘Pledge of Tough Mudder’ should be rubbed off into everyday life.
So a week later it’s safe to say my ability to lift my arms and type at speed has returned and only a slight pain remains in my underarms as I roll on my deodorant. The bruises on my legs are subsiding and my toenail has stopped throbbing and feeling like it’s going to fall off. Yep, you come out like a bruised peach, but for me, also a little wiser and a little stronger.
Tough Mudder has been set up to challenge you physically and mentally; it will push you to your limits and test you to do and accomplish things you never thought possible. But with a little teamwork, achievement is made possible.
Sliding into a skip full of dirty, muddy, stinky ICED water to being electrocuted with vaults that send you flying are by all means, no small feats. It’s your team that gets you through – the encouragement, the after challenge banter, the hugs and high fives, the arm around the shoulder and the looks and glints in the eyes that silently say so much. Thanks girls!
What I found amazing was that it wasn’t just teammates helping teammates, but teams helping other teams. It was like a chain, the team in front helping the team behind and so on. We were all connected. Helping each other. Spreading words of encouragement. Stopping to help someone you didn’t know to see if they were ok.
Tough Mudder is not a race, it’s not about a 10 mile PB with a few obstacles thrown in; it’s a challenge where people get together, unite and test their physical and mental ability. It doesn’t matter how fit or unfit, how strong or weak, how fast or slow you are, whether you’re male or female; Tough Mudder is an eclectic bunch of people who are all trying to achieve something…together.
For those thinking that Tough Mudder is full of testosterone fuelled men, think again. It’s FULL of women too all wanting to test their mental and physical capability, it’s about camaraderie – teammates and even strangers helping and supporting each other. This is so important in sport; whether it’s a crowd watching or a team supporting a teammate.
After the Tough Mudder, not only was I inspired to do it again and in the meantime work on my weaker areas (upper arms!) so I could achieve more next time, I was also left wondering about the kindness of strangers and how wonderful it would be if all of us were to ‘up’ our camaraderie / teamwork skills. We’re not going to change the world, but the power of making someone smile, feel loved and supported is overwhelming…it’s also a little infectious.
So go on, try a Tough Mudder. Do it for all the women out there, but do it for yourself and those around you.