Happy Monday everyone!
I hope you had a great weekend. Mine was certainly eventful.
On Saturday, I participated in my first ever MUDGIRL Run.
MUDGIRL is an outdoor 5k obstacle course with over 17 challenges and runs annually in selected cities across Canada. The Toronto event took place in Uxbridge at Dagmar Ski Resort, which is located in the Oak Ridge’s Moraine. Over the course of the last few years, I have found that when the weather gets warmer, I enjoy taking my workouts outdoors. In the sun, I feel more energized, motivated and happier. And if there is an opportunity to participate in something fun that doesn’t feel like exercise: SIGN ME UP!
And I’m so glad I did! The MUDGIRL run was an adventurous experience that reinvigorated my motivation to become STRONGER. While I was definitely not the fastest, this experience did more for me than just give me a swift kick in the ass. What? Exercise is good for the mind, body and soul? What a concept!
Here are 5 things I learned from participating in MUDGIRL.
I was pushed out of my comfort zone.
My normal gym routine is simple: half hour of cardio and a half hour of strength training. Doing the same thing over and over is not only boring, but I was starting to really “phone it in” and more specifically, the intensity of my workouts were waning. At MUDGIRL, I was participating in challenges like hiking up steep hills in the woods, climbing 8 foot structures and crawling through muddy water. At times, I found myself out of breath and unsure if I was going to be able to make through. In the past when I got to that point, I would stop because of fear. Fear of falling, fear of passing out, fear of failure. So I gave myself a thirty second rest and then pushed through. And when I got to the top of the hill, I looked at what I accomplished I felt amazing.
I was able to focus.
Without my phone, I had no access to time, music or any distractions. I couldn’t take any workout selfies, text with friends or scroll through my social media feeds. When I workout, I love listening to music or podcasts to not only distract me from the workout but to help “pass the time”. Without my phone, I found myself listening to my mind and body, which came in handy when navigating the obstacle course and navigating the hills. And as much as I love my phone, there was something to be said about connecting with nature. Those trails in the woods were actually quite therapeutic. I felt a great deal of peace within myself, something that has been absent for a while.
You are in a competition with yourself.
For most of my life, I’ve allowed fear and negative experiences to hold myself back from wanting to change. Before MUDGIRL, I can recall having the same fears: I’m going to be last, everyone is looking at me/judging me, I’ll never finish. This is going to sound very Pollyanna of me but who cares if you’re last? No one is looking at you because they are too focused on their own progress. And yes, you will finish, but it’s up to you. At the end of the day, the biggest challenge of doing an event like MUDGIRL is getting stuck in your head and allowing negative thoughts to hold you back. I’m still not up to doing a major run like the Scotiabank Marathon or GoodLife but I have my eye on a Disney Princess 5k one day!
I discovered my strengths and embraced my body.
I am a natural climber! While running doesn’t come easy for me, I found myself able to conquer the climbing portions of MUDGIRL with a surprising amount of ease. To be fair, at 5’11, my arms and legs give me an advantage but you’re still required to use your strength to pull yourself up which is often easier said then done. While I’ve had poor body image for most of my life, I was extremely thankful to have strong arms, shoulders, and legs to help me through the climbing portions. While I won’t be climbing Everest any time soon (and that opening scene from Cliffhanger completely scarred me for life), I’m definitely going to check out a rock climbing class.
I rediscovered the value of play…for adults.
When’s the last time you rolled in the mud? Gone through a slip n’ slide tunnel? Went down a slide? Jumped in a bouncy castle? Getting muddy and doing all of those things had my adrenaline jumping and I couldn’t stop smiling. It’s easy to forget that play is ageless. We’re constantly told the benefits of play for kids (builds creativity, social skills, resilience…to name a few). But guess what? Adults need to play too! In this crazy complicated world, it’s very easy to lose our spirit of fun but there’s something to be said for setting aside your inhibition and get in touch with your inner child.
So there you have it! This experience was absolutely life changing and I’ve already signed myself up for another challenge in July: The 5K FOAM FEST! Instead of mud, this event contains 22 obstacle courses through 2.5 million cubic feet of foam. I can’t wait to share that experience with you!
So what do you think? Are you planning on taking your workouts outside? What are some of your favourite activities to do outdoors?
I love hearing from you guys so please comment below!