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Kentucky Tough Mudder 2017!

(Originally posted on 5 June 2017)

“The idea of Tough Mudder is not to win… but to have a story to tell.” – New York Times

Tough Mudder Pledge 

I understand that Tough Mudder is not a race, but a challenge.

I put team work and camaraderie before my course time.

I do not whine — kids whine.

I help my fellow mudders complete the course.

I overcome all fears.

On Sunday June 4, 2017 I ran my first Tough Mudder in Louisville, Kentucky with my favorite competitor; my old man! My dad first singed us up for this challenge a few months back and we were both super excited! My dad has done 4 tough mudders (including this Kentucky one) and this was my first! I didn’t find out until a few weeks ago that the course was 10 freakin miles! I said, “Dad, you did not tell me that when you signed me up!” Needless to say, I was nervous. I have run two half marathons in the past and they were HARD. I had no idea how I was going to run just short of that distance with a ton of crazy obstacles! I don’t have a lot of confidence in myself, especially when it comes to athletics so I knew this challenge would kick my ass. And my dad would be kicking my ass too because he doesn’t allow walking, complaining, or quitting.

The Tough Mudder was about an hour away from my parents house so me, my dad, my mom, and my sister hopped in the car and headed on our way. I was so nervous, my stomach was doing backflips! I told my dad, “I’m just gonna try not to complain and not to cry. As long as I don’t get any dirty muddy water in my mouth (or straight up mud) I think I’ll be okay (hopefully).” He just laughed at me!

We loaded up at the start line, said the tough mudder pledge (which in the beginning I thought was a little silly but after the race it totally all makes sense), recognized all service members (I was the only female), sang the National Anthem, and counted down…. 10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1… GO!

The challenge started off with a straight 1 mile run, which included awful hills. We hadn’t even made it to the first obstacle (which was the crazy hills) and I was already tired. I was already over it, and I was thinking, “what the heck did I get myself into… this is going to suck!” My dad grabed my hand and basically pulled me up the hill or ran behind me and pushed me up the hill. My quads and my calves were already on fire and we hadn’t even hit mile 1. I was so thankful to have my dad as my teammate, I really don’t know if I would’ve been able to complete the challenge if it wasn’t for him. My dad has also been one of my biggest inspirations, especially in athletics (espcially in running). There is nothing my dad can’t do because he is so mentally strong. He doesn’t let anything stand in his way, he never quits, and he always does his absolute best in everything that he does. While my dad was pushing and pulling me up the that first obstacle I was just reminded again how lucky I am to have him. After we conquered the first obstacle of hills the challenge got so much better. There were obstacles of crawling in a mud bath under barbed wire, climbing over “Berlin Wall”, swimming across the river, Log Carry, Hero Carry (dad carried me both times), Funky Monkey, Mud Mile 2.0, Pyramid Scheme (human pyramid), Everest 2.0, Black Hole, Arctic Enema the Rebirth, the Block Ness Monster, Snot Rocket, and the scariest; Electroshock Therapy!

Dad ended up hurting his leg, possibly pulled a muscle, when we were about half way through the course which was such a bummer! But again, he never quits. He pushed through all the obstacles, kept us on track, and motivated me to keep gong even though he was the one with the injury! I think the craziest obstacle we did was the Arctic Enema- the Rebirth. Basically you slide down this black tube into a pool of FREEZING cold water that has bags, and bags, and bags of ice in it. Then you have to submerge yourself underwater, swim through a little cave and come out on the other side. And then you have to lift yourself up out of the pool. That FREEZING water takes your breath right out of you and leaves your entire body in pain. The first thing I said when I got out of the pool was, “FUCK” and I kept thinking to myself “keep walking, keep walking, keep walking so you don’t become paralyzed”. Dad and I were both like WTF! My dad told me afterwards, “That water shocks your body so badly I think I might’ve peed a little”. And then there was the Electroshock Therapy. My dad told me about this obstacle before we even stated the challenge and I was a little freaked out about it. Towards the end of the challenge my dad kept saying he didn’t see anything that looked like it could be the shock obstacle. Dad and I were both hurting and were heading towards what looked like the finished line when we hit out last obstacle, obstacle 20! I put an explanation mark because we were so excited to be almost done, but my explination mark quickly faded as we approached. The sign read, “First timers —-> Electroshock Therapy and Legionnaire —> Kong”. Which meant I had to do the shock obstacle and my dad didn’t. He was so damn happy about that and I was totally terrified. I waited for my dad to complete his obstacle and then tried to force him to do mine with me as well, he refused. After I finally built up the courage to make my way through a mud pool with electrified ropes hanging all around you, I started my last obstacle. If you want to see the hilarious video of me making my way through, check out my vlog that will be coming soon. Finally, dad and I ran our way to the finish line where we were crowned our headbands, given a badass t-shirt, and collected our well deserved free beer. What an incredible feeling. The both of us were so proud of ourselves and each other and we were both beaming with joy.

I’d like to give a little shout out to my old man, a thank you letter.

Hey Old Man,

First off, thanks for being the best dad a girl could ever possibly ask for. All my life you’ve always pushed me, not to be number one or better than everybody else, but to be the best version of myself. To always put my best foot forward, always give my best effort, and never ever give up. As long as I gave it my absolute best, you were always proud. You have always supported me in sports (even though you still won’t say that cheerleading is a sport), you passed on your love for running to me, and you have always believed in me even when I was unable to believe in myself. And I think that’s what I am most thankful for. For always believing in me. Always encouraging me. Always reminding me that I CAN do it and that everything will be okay. Thank you for yelling at me all those times we’d run together and I wanted to give up, thank you not making too much fun of me when I start crying during those runs! Thank you for setting the greatest example and motivating me to take on any challenge. Thank you for always giving the best advice whether is be related to the Air Force, working out, or anything going on in my personal life. We both know I am hard-headed so you always end your advice conversations with, “I know you’re an adult but I’m just looking out for you. I just want the best for ya, kid.” I have everything in the world to thank you for, and there is not enough time in this lifetime to pay you back for everything you have done for me, mom, Nate, and Pay. Thank you for always loving me even when I’m not very lovable, even when I don’t listen to your advice, even when I mess something up real bad. You’ve always had my back and I will always have yours. Thank you for being one of the most important people in my life. Never lose the positive attitude you carry. And THANK YOU for getting me through my first Tough Mudder. I can’t wait until next year! Love you always old man!

Love, Raye

A vlog of our awesome challenge will be coming soon and I will link it in this blog post once it is finished!

A Weekend Getaway!