Take that, jitters!

For those of you who may be wondering: I conquered the Tough Mudder! I’ve been thinking about the best way to share my experience -- both with those of you who have done Tough Mudders before and for those who choose to take on challenges of the non-Tough Mudder kind.

At it’s core, the Tough Mudder was a fun, fantastic, truly entertaining experience from start to finish. I loved the atmosphere there -- veterans of the course helped newbies over the hardest obstacles, and the event organizers encouraged everyone to see it as a challenge, not a race. The course was just as dirty, messy, and exciting as I thought it would be. Best of all, my husband Marc and I both stashed our phones safely away before it began, which let us have a couple of hours to really be in the moment with this event. (Sadly, this means these are the only two  pictures of us: the before shot and the after shot, and even the after looks pretty clean since the last obstacle rinses the mud off -- sorry!)

The real take away for me had nothing to do with the actual event, but with the drive there. I expected to feel nervous; many of you who have spent a long time preparing for something, whether it be Mudders or presentations, know the feeling of race-morning jitters. But, as I was sitting in the passenger seat, I was surprisingly calm. I remember having the (admittedly-cheesy) thought “No matter what happens out there, I’ve already won.” I felt that I had accomplished all of the goals that the Tough Mudder had helped me to work towards. I had spent months committed to working my body and getting into shape, and I had so much fun doing it. It wasn’t a chore or a burden. So really, getting to run in the obstacle course was icing on the cake. Take that, jitters! Mission accomplished.

I share this because it helped me to frame my thinking about facing challenges. For me, the “why” behind signing up for the event had been satisfied by the fun I was having with my weekly workouts and the great health benefits of pushing myself. What is the underlying “Why” behind what you’re working on now? Is it to get in shape? To learn something new? To brush up on a skill set you haven’t used in a while?  Keep those underlying goals at the forefront of your mind, because accomplishing them is so much more important than what happens on “race day.” If you can accomplish what you set out to do for yourself, then you have already won, no matter how you perform compared to someone else.

So take that, jitters!

Lauren Laitin