That was Tough...What's Next


A few months ago, George and I committed to doing a Half Mudder, the little brother of the Tough Mudder. It seemed reasonable: 5 miles and 13 obstacles. After all, we were division one athletes at one point, right? Read why I chose to do the Tough Mudder here.

Well, sure. But that was a year ago (two years ago for George). We aren’t working out every day. We aren’t pushing ourselves to the point of throwing up, passing out, tearing muscles, or all of the above anymore. We are the same as everyone else. I’m on the train by 8:00, home by 6:00, and have academic and career goals to pursue. We watch Friends on Netflix (ok, we don’t have to… I know George wrote about prioritizing time). Needless to say, these things got in the way of training, and I didn’t feel prepared for the Tough Mudder going in to Sunday. If I hadn’t paid for it, I probably would have skipped it. It was a goal I really wanted to get on board with...until life happened.

While it didn’t exactly go as planned, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. George’s goal going into it was to finish the 5 miles in 1:30. My goal was to just finish. Well, we did finish (in 1:24) and it ended up being just over 6 miles according to our watches. Now we are sore, bruised, and not once had we run over 2 consecutive miles before the big day. Still, we are realizing we could have done more. We probably could have done the full (George wants to do the Spartan Race next weekend… I’m vetoing until we actually train).

This weekend taught me all I have to do is try. I didn’t do nearly enough in preparation for the race, and that completely tore down my confidence. All I wanted to do was finish, and I ended up being the second female to finish the Half Mudder. I set my goal too low because I held myself back before the start.

So, why didn’t I take my training seriously? This can go either way. One is overconfidence. The mentality that I used to be an athlete, and always will be. The other option is what I think happened; I didn’t invest a lot because I did not want to fail. What if I did all of this training and still couldn’t finish the course?

Often times, YOU are the only one doubting yourself.  YOU are the only one holding yourself back. Self limitation destroys confidence and gives birth to an ugly cycle of self-demoralization, not trying, failure, and more self-demoralization. I believe one way to overcome that is community - a team. People to give you the go ahead to try (and fail). People to lift you up. People to hold you accountable. Prior to the race, I had no one holding me accountable. I went to the gym every now and again to “train” because I knew George would slow down if I felt I had to (what a good husband!) This was all too comfortable, all too familiar, and all to easy to not give the challenge my best efforts in training.

I like having someone, or something, holding me accountable. Perhaps I didn’t give this last challenge my all. So I am going to try something different. One thing I hate doing is letting people down. So we are going to let our friends, family, and followers select my next goal. That way, y’all are holding me accountable. I am giving myself 8 weeks to achieve this goal - we’ll announce on November 1st  what my challenge is, and I’ll test it out New Year’s Day to start the year off right. Here is what you can choose from and why:

2x BW Deadlift : The best I have ever done is 1.5x.  This is pure strength.

6:00 Mile: Best I’ve ever run is a 6:35 mile, but I don’t even remember the last time I was under 7:00.

Peg Board: All the way up & down. The farthest I’ve gone up so far is 1 peg. There are 10.

10 Hand Stand Push Ups: Currently at 0.

Beep Test: I’m kidding. NEVER AGAIN.

If you want to take on the challenge with me, send us a message and we’ll get a program out to you. We are in this together!

Sarah Cullen