Several weeks ago I had the privilege of torturing myself through a 3.5 mile and 35 obstacle US Marine style course called the Goodwill Mud Run. It was a blast considering the cuts and pains, the fact that I was not in shape for it, and the mud in places I didn’t know mud could go.
As I look back on that experience I’m reminded of a few financial relationship principles we need to keep in mind:
Sometimes It Ain’t Pretty
The crazy thing for me about the mud run is the obstacles weren’t the hard part. I was fine as long as we were on an obstacle. I can push right through that sort of exertion. It wasn’t the cuts and pains or even the mud that made it difficult for me (although I did get about a gallon of it in my mouth on the very first mud-hole). Where I struggled the most was during the running from one obstacle to the next.
I hate running for the sake of running, so I just don’t do it enough. There’s really only two things that effectively motivate me to run – Shawna (when she is running), and playing ball (usually basketball). When it comes to the constant and steady pounding of the leg muscles for running long distance, I suck.
Needless to say running 3.5 miles with zero training before the event was not pretty for me. It didn’t matter that I had mud in my bleeding cuts and every time I spit there was as much mud as saliva. I felt like my lungs were refusing to absorb oxygen in protest of what I was putting my body through. My chest had that awful cold feeling you get after running hard in cool weather for about four days after the event. It was terrible.
Sometimes working through life’s challenges is going to be ugly and we’re going to have to do things we don’t like to do because it is necessary to reach the goal.
Finishing The Race Eventually is Better Than Not Finishing At All
The Mud Run is very much like a Marine training course. They even have real Marines in uniform out there yelling at you all through the course. I don’t know the background on the Mud Run, but I guess in the spirit of the Marine way you don’t run this race as individuals – you do it in teams.
My team was awesome. I was not. My friend organized the team and must have either thought I was in better shape or he wanted to get me in better shape – all at once.
I was the slowest runner on the team. What little ground I was able to make up by going through the obstacles faster than my teammates was quickly lost by running so much slower than them from one obstacle to the next. I tried my best to keep up but about halfway through I realized if I didn’t slow down to a pace I could sustain my legs might give out, I might hurl, or worse (my family has history of heart issues and I already have the cholesterol).
It didn’t feel good knowing that I couldn’t get there faster. I could have pushed it and might have been fine, but I had reached a level of pain that was as far as I wanted to go. It felt like as much as I could bear at the time.
Sometimes we need to push ourselves harder, but sometimes we need to accept that reaching a goal is going to take longer than we want it to. It’s better to get there eventually than to not get there at all.
Finish The Race Together
My three teammates knew we had to finish the race together, and they were very good sportsman to me – the team anchor (not in the good sense – like I was an anchor they were having to drag ). They challenged me to push myself and they encouraged me to keep going. That helped me more than they know. If it wasn’t for them I might still be out there meandering my way through the course and asking myself “Why am I doing this?”.
Surprisingly enough my friend who invited me to be on the team asked me to do it again in the Spring. That is either true muv (man-love) or he doesn’t know anyone else dumb enough to say yes. I accepted the challenge and promised I will be in better shape for it next time (maybe a lighter anchor).
It matters that we have accountability in our lives. It matters that we have support around us. It matters for whatever goal is in front of you now and whatever the next goal is after that.
Work through the ugly stuff, make steady progress toward the eventual goal, and finish together.
Question: Have you ever participated in a mud run or other race and had a similar experience as me? Will you hold me accountable to getting in better shape for next time?