I could never do that! But on second thought…
I know many of you have thought that exact thing at some point! Just over two years ago I stumbled into my first mud race. This was a 3-mile mud race that definitely seemed intimidating at the time. Looking back at it now, I laugh and smile when I realize just how far I’ve come. The question is now raised however of, where does it end? Or does it ever? After every race, I now find myself searching the Internet regularly for the next bigger, longer, and tougher endurance challenge.
After that 3-mile mud race I felt a sense of personal accomplishment. In the midst of challenging myself physically, I found that I was happy. Now, as the more extreme the challenge becomes, the happier I am. I’m pretty certain this is the only way to achieve success in endurance events. If you can find a way to maintain happiness throughout the misery, you can achieve glory. The more I struggle and challenge myself, the happier I become. While most people will give up when they start to struggle and feel pain, I embrace it. Most endurance athletes seem to feel the same.
There seems to be a natural progression in my psyche. While the level of the challenge is hugely different from two years ago to the present, the thought process is still the same. It goes from, “I would never do that!”, to “I could probably do that!”, to “I did that!”, to “What’s next?”. As the cycle returns to “I would never do that!”, the process continues to the next bigger, longer, and tougher endurance challenge. The end result is always, “I did that!” so the positive reinforcement definitely helps. Sure, I look back on some of the events I’ve done and think that I could have gone faster, done better, and been stronger. Sometimes I am self-critical but it’s always about enduring the challenge, becoming a better person, and being happy. You never know what race day will bring. A perfect combination of planning, training, hydration, nutrition, and happiness will bring the desired results.
That natural progression in my psyche actually caused me to go from a 3 mile obstacle race to Tough Mudder, to the Spartan Ultra Beast, to World’s Toughest Mudder in less than a year in my first year of racing. My second year of racing, I finished two half Ironmans, a full Ironman, the Summer Death Race (Bib Finisher), Spartan Ultra Beast (two time finisher), and World’s Toughest Mudder (two time finisher). With that being said, I remember distinctly saying, “I would never do the Winter Death Race!” Guess what? Now, I’m not only registered for the Winter Death Race but I’m doing the Peak Death Race Challenge and am doing three Death Races in 2014 (Winter, Summer, & Team). I’m also registered for another full Ironman and plan to add Goruck Selection to the mix.
So, if you are reading this, you are probably like me challenging yourself and pushing your limits. The questions still remain. Where does it end? Does it? Or do we just keep going to the next bigger challenge? As long as I’m happy and healthy, I’m going to just keep going! Always remember to keep pushing and challenging yourself to see what other amazing things you can accomplish if you keep the right mindset!
Written by Matthew IronBeast Dolitsky. Matt is a sponsored athlete for Team Mud and Adventure, VPX Team Xtreme, Team AL1VE Magnetics, and is a Reload Fitness Ambassador.