Our tendency is to shy away from pain and discomfort. This weekend I came face to face with over a thousand people who thought otherwise. My husband was one of them. Matthew competed in the World’s Toughest Mudder in New Jersey. Nadine and I went to support and cheer him on. If I could recap everything in a couple of words, I would choose: Muddy, Cold, and Stinking Hard. Willingly, they began a 24-hour race stretching 10 miles, dotted with 32 obstacles. The goal: get through as many laps as you could in 24-hours. It started out as quite fun. Beautiful weather, warm gloves, french fries and treats made our spectator spot quite appealing.
Some friends sent us off with a package of treats which we enjoyed immensely Another friend mailed me a package with 24 gifts to open at each hour. We lined them up on the dashboard of our van, and I took a picture of most of them, but once it got dark I put my camera away. I appreciated the toothbrush and toothpaste for when my mouth got “woolly”, and the glow sticks at 9pm were a great hit. The handwarmers at midnight were a lifesaver! Books to pass the time, and other gifts to simply make me smile and take my mind off the shivers. Thank you!
Matthew’s “tent” site, without a tent. Simply a blanket, chair and box of ice-tea and food… everything that wasn’t consumed was frozen solid by night.
My wonderful daughter who kept me company and helped my spirit tremendously throughout the day.
Coming off Everest. One side they slid down, then on the other side of the lap they had to scale it again.
Our favorite guy.
Once the sun started dipping over the horizon, however, things took quite a different turn. The temperature dropped so low that everything wet started to freeze. That basically meant every single surface, since there was mud and water everywhere. My boots no longer kept my feet warm, and I wondered at the wet sneakers of each runner, and how their toes weren’t falling off. I won’t give you a breakdown of every hour, but between the hours of 10pm and 1am, I was at my lowest. The hat and gloves Matthew was wearing didn’t fit him correctly, so he had taken them off, which later made matters worse. His hands were so cold. This was in the back of my mind while Nadine and I warmed ourselves in the van. She eventually fell asleep and I set off to try to find Matthew since we had lost contact with him for 3 hours. At midnight I walked the now familiar mile to the 29th obstacle, to see if I could find him. I did. He was the best muddy sight I have ever seen. Holding back my tears, and while my feet froze in my dry boots, I watched him go through icy cold water and then through some electroshock “therapy”. We walked the last frigid mile together. When we split up, he told me he would see if he could warm his hands and feet. I went to our van to close my eyes for a bit, and the next thing I knew, he was knocking on the window, bags in hand. His body felt physically able to continue, but the cold dominated. He completed 40 miles total.
I’m so incredibly proud of his determination, his courage to face very difficult situations, his stamina, and his wisdom to know when enough is enough. I’m so thankful for the people who rallied around us during this weekend. I’m so thankful that Matthew didn’t suffer any injuries, and that we were able to grow closer to each other through this experience.