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Healthy Living: How One Team Member Used a “Tough” Challenge as Motivation for Staying in Shape

As a company dedicated to the fight against colon cancer, we know a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk for the disease. In our second installment of Exact’s monthly Healthy Living feature, Sales Operations Specialist Jeff Conrad shares his experience training for a Tough Mudder.

I first heard of adventure running a few years back but never gave it much thought. Even when I first considered challenging myself to participate, I always found an excuse.

Over time, I kept finding myself involved in various conversations with friends and family about mud runs warrior dashes and tough mudders. The more I learned about these events, the more they appealed to me. I've always enjoyed running but I don’t have the attention span for a marathon, so an adventure race seemed like it might be the perfect fit.

Last Easter, I was talking with my uncle about the Tough Mudder, each of us pumping each other up, and we decided we would run it. Throughout the afternoon we managed to convince several other relatives to join us and participate in training.

It wasn’t long after that afternoon that everyone who was fired up to run with us started to come up with excuses to drop out. One by one, they all ducked out until only my uncle and I were left.

We hadn’t even started to train and we were facing our first big obstacle.

PREPARING FOR RACE DAY 

But fortunately, I soon discovered I enjoyed training because it provided the motivation I needed to exercise. Just knowing I had this race coming up always kept my fitness in the front of my mind.

I participated in a Tough Mudder in Somerset, Wis., in September 2012.  Tough Mudders are adventure races designed by two former members of British Special Forces.

Here in the U.S., the races raise money to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, giving adventurers a chance to put themselves to the test and help a good cause.

When race day came we were quite nervous, fearing the worst. It was a cool fall day in Wisconsin so the idea of crawling through cold mud wasn’t especially appealing.

But I was determined to challenge myself, so I stepped up and prepared for the worst. I’m really glad I did.

SHARING MY RACE EXPERIENCE

Each Tough Mudder course is different, but here are a few of the obstacles I tackled.

One of the messiest was the mud mile, which had me running and crawling through thick deep mud.  As you can see from the photo above, I was relieved to complete that obstacle.

The “Berlin Wall” was another obstacle in the race I ran. I liked this challenge because it required runners to work together. My Uncle and I helped each other out, but strangers were happy to lend a hand as well. Of course, once we reached the top of the wall, we also reached out to help the people behind us.

One of the most challenging and intimidating obstacles is described on the Tough Mudder website as the electric eel. Runners have to crawl through muddy water with live wires dangling above us.

I wasn’t sure which felt worse, getting a face full of cold water, or getting shocked by the wires.

But by the time I finished the race, it was one of the better experiences I have had, and it left me with many fond memories.

I plan to run in more adventure races and I would recommend them to anyone. They are tons of fun and signing up for one of these challenges is a great way to get motivated to stay in shape.

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