So we ran the Classic Tough Mudder on Saturday. Unfortunately, as many of you know, I came down with either food poisoning or the flu early Friday morning. Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling up to running nearly 10 miles coupled with 25 obstacles by Saturday morning. I debated heavily and almost decided not to go as the race drew near. I put out an Instagram poll, asked a few friends (one of whom is a doctor), and ultimately decided to at least try to run the race given everyone’s encouragement.
It’s amazing what our bodies can do with limited sleep and an empty belly (besides a few crackers and swigs of Gatorade). While I was certainly lethargic, I was completely capable of finishing the Tough Mudder. I even made it through the upper body obstacles, which hung over pools of water and/or mud, without falling in. 🙂 Aka- I had enough strength stored up to perform relatively well despite how I felt. My way of letting Brittany know I was still going to run the race was pulling up a clip from Michael Jordan’s famous playoff “Flu Game.” After all, if Michael could do it why couldn’t I at least give the effort?!
I’m not one to get dirty if I don’t have to. I probably wash my hands more than most. I definitely don’t like drinking or eating after others. I’ve been referred to as a germaphobe by a plethora of people close to me. As you can imagine, jumping into pools of muddy water that thousands of others passed through that same day wasn’t exactly “my jam.” The first obstacle was one of the muddiest ones, naturally. The discomfort of running in wet shoes/socks, soaked clothes and being caked in mud was certainly prevalent throughout the event. I remember laughing several times at the ridiculousness of this “adult obstacle course.” I eventually found JOY in getting dirty, rolling around in the mud and helping others accomplish obstacles they couldn’t achieve on their own. Teamwork is certainly an element of the Tough Mudder, which made it more fun. We army crawled through pitch-black tubes 1/2 filled with water. We swung across monkey bars and rings, scaled pegs and so much more, typically while suspended over muddy water. We were literally forced to plunge into freezing water. We climbed thirty foot nets. We even ran up and scaled ramped walls. Eventually came the final obstacle however…
Why wouldn’t someone intentionally run through an alley of hanging wires individually charged with up to 10,000 volts?! Aka- “Electric Shock Therapy!” Wait….say what? Yeah, that’s right… Tough Mudder is known for this final challenge, and it’s THE ONE that I was dreading since signing up. Brittany and I found ourselves staring at this last beastly obstacle along with 4 others. Evidently one gentleman in our group had done several Tough Mudders and made it seem easier than it inevitably was. We gripped tight, clenched up and attempted to all run through together. WHOOPS!!!
The mud had to be over 6 inches deep. Two piles of haystacks lined across the alley full of electric wires. You had to walk or jump over the haystacks, so not getting shocked at all was seemingly impossible since the wires hung nearly to the ground. We slipped and crashed hard right after entering this “field of horror.” I took two shocks that I can remember, both to my head/neck region. The first was enough to bring me to knees as I shrieked in a pain never felt before. I dove over the first stack of hay and attempted to get up again to head over the second. BOOM- LIGHTS OUT! I blacked out completely, followed by what felt like “waking up” as I regained consciousness. I was delusional, hurting and absolutely terrified.
I quickly realized that this electric minefield wasn’t something any logical human being would remain in. After all, I didn’t know if my brain/body could withstand another shock. I literally began worrying about my health. Fear took over and I immediately started to crawl out the side of the obstacle to prevent further damage.
I remember reminding myself as I nearly exited the side of Electroshock Therapy that many others had experienced the same torment and fear I was experiencing in that moment. I heard stories of others being struck and blacking out. I heard stories of this painful part of the race from so many, yet they all still finished. I even watched others get through this obstacle right before me. I reminded myself that I was already halfway through this last obstacle and had every ability to finish if I chose FAITH OVER FEAR.
Those that know me can attest that I don’t give up easily on a challenge. My hands and head were safely outside the shock zone as I crawled out the side, quitting the final challenge. I soon realized this meant not completely finishing the race. A mere few hours ago I decided to run the race despite flu like symptoms and barely being able to hold down a few saltine crackers. I then drove an hour, got disgustingly muddy and went through 24.5 obstacles to quit this close to the finish line? I THINK NOT! Fear had me crawling toward the edge, yet faith had me turning around to crawl back in. I pondered how I’d finish without feeling the torment of another blow to my head. I didn’t know how, but I needed to press on! I simply had to finish!
My mind was a blur to say the least. I vaguely remember diving over the second set of haystacks that crossed my path. The wires must have hung from about 8 feet above to about a 15 inches off the ground. I decided the only way to approach the final 10 feet was to slither my way through the mud beneath the wires, which is exactly what I did. I wasn’t taking a chance on standing back up and putting my head at risk (or even kneeling). I swam slowly through the mud, being cautious not to raise any part of my body. My hands and face were so muddy I couldn’t even wipe my eyes clean after finishing. Literally my entire body was caked in mud; that’s what it took to finish, so that’s what I did.
We showered off and verified with the medical attendants that what I experienced was “normal,” considering the ridiculous circumstances. They verified I would be okay. Evidently depending on where you’re struck on the body (head or neck especially) people often experience blacking out. The day was a breeze compared to those last 25 feet of horror. I am happy to say I finished. I’m also happy to report that I’ll never do that obstacle again, PERIOD! Here is a pic after we sprayed off. I wish I would’ve gotten one all muddy!
The name “Fearfully, yet Faithfully Forward” came to me shortly after finishing the race. We all experience moments in life that obviously have nothing to do with electric shocks to our head, yet very much have to do with making decisions in faith, even if scared. I was certainly worried about my health as I laid in the mud, while determining whether to crawl out or keep going. I was relatively confident based on stories and research that I would be okay if I pressed onward, even if I was struck again (thank goodness I wasn’t). I think FAITH AMIDST FEAR is some of the most powerful FAITH we can have. FAITH when things are easy isn’t as hard to muster up as FAITH when life gets hard. Situations have a way of bringing us to our knees, hopefully in a more mild/graceful manner than what I experienced Saturday. That’s when our FAITH is truly tested and refined. We’ve all experienced terror, fear and/or crazy bouts with anxiety- even if only momentarily throughout our lives. These moments absolutely require FAITH. These moments require FAITH-IN-ACTION! These moments require COURAGEOUS FAITH!
Life isn’t always easy. Moving toward our fears can be crippling. Facing fear directly is something many of us choose to avoid, even if freedom from healing is on the other side. I had a choice on Saturday: to quit and escape back to comfort, or press forward and potentially endure more pain. I chose to press on because I had faith. I had faith because others came and endured before me. I had faith in the process. I allowed for faith despite my fear.
I choose faith over fear as much as I can. I still have bouts with anxiety, especially around hypochondria and future worries. The enemy doesn’t just leave us alone because we move past something one time. We need to continuously defeat our fears! We all have weaknesses and often times fear, anxiety and worry are tied to these areas. We can make a choice: courageous faith knowing that Jesus paved the way; or staying in a place of deflection, incompleteness and fear while letting the enemy win. We have to press forward through hard times. We have to press forward even when afraid or hurting. We have to muster up courageous faith because we are not alone and nothing can stop us from completing the race that God has set before us!
Hebrews 12: 1-2 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, AND LET US RUN WITH ENDURANCE THE RACE THAT IS SET BEFORE US, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – NKJV
I hope everyone is having a great holiday season. I pray you choose to press on through fear, regardless of which race you’re currently running, and regardless of what stands in your way!
For more pics and to fully experience the journey follow @surrender_project on Instagram! In the meantime, I pray you’ll continue to SURRENDER LIFE TO GOD!