Are you up for a CHALLENGE this Summer?

 It’s spring time!  Summer is right around the corner.  The weather is improving and more and more people are venturing outdoors after a long winter hibernation.  What else comes with summer time?  Almost every philanthropy group has some type of 5k run/walk nearly every weekend. 

Along with the 5k’s, 10k’s, half and full marathons, and  triathalons are a growing trend of new, and more adventurous ways to torture yourself all while raising money for a good cause.  They have names like: The Tough Mudder, The Warrior Dash, The Spartan Race, GR 5k Mud Run, Muddy Buddy, and The Down and Dirty 5k just to name a few.

Last weekend, I completed (and survived) the MI/OH Tough Mudder, which was a 12-mile obstacle-course through an old Quarry in Amherst, OH.  Participants from across the country were hit with everything from treacherous terrain, lots of mud, freezing cold water, fire, and even electric shocks while crawling through muddy water.  Let’s just say it was challenging and I have the video and bruises to prove it.

People were spraining ankles, breaking ribs, and wrists, and running on the verge of hypothermia, all to benefit the Wounded Warrior project, which aids wounded Veterans.  One thing that I didn’t expect to see was all of the smiles and fun that people were having in the dreadful conditions that we were running in.

About half way through the race, as I was pulling a fellow mudder over an obstacle, I noticed something peculiar as he came out of the muddy water.  The guy only had one leg!  Just as soon as I pulled him up, he turned around, lowered his artificial limb to the guy behind him and pulled the guy up! 

There I was, freezing cold, sore everything, only half way through this hellacious race, thinking about the pain I was feeling and how far I had left to go and here is one of our Veterans, who gave his leg for our country, completely covered in mud, running this crazy race right next to me on ONE LEG!  That was a turning point for me…  I had a different feeling wash over me.  I no longer felt the pain, I couldn’t complain anymore, I just started smiling and continued on my muddy way.

Later in the course, I encountered a guy with one arm.  He sprinted up a 20 foot quarter-pipe and was able to latch onto someone’s hand and pulled himself up with ONE ARM onto the platform!  Not only was it an amazing feat of strength, but for the people watching, it was motivation for them to get to the top of that obstacle. 

One of my own teammates lost her grip on an obstacle, fell, and broke 2 of her ribs as she hit the platform on her way down.  Guess what…she ran over 5 miles afterwards and still completed the race. (She’s one Tough Mudder)

At one point, my teammates and I, encountered 3 grandmothers trying to navigate a 12 foot wall, so myself and two of my teammates helped push the sweet old ladies over the wall.   They were voiced their thanks and went on their merry way, smiling the whole time.  I couldn’t believe the variety of people that we saw along the course, from 18 years old to people well into their sixties!

The bottom line is, there are a TON of challenges waiting for you out there.  It doesn’t matter your age, athletic ability, or motivation, just pick one, or two, or three this summer and challenge yourself to do something proactive with your health and help out a great cause.  Even if you just walk, you are still moving in the right direction.  You may amaze yourself with what your body and mind can actually do!

Check out the local events list in your area to see what’s available.  You’ll feel better about yourself and also lend a hand to a cause that can always use more support.  If you can’t run or walk, volunteer to help out with whatever you can do.  Either way, you will be helping others as well as helping yourself take a more proactive role in leading a healthier lifestyle.

See you in the Mud!

Dr. Mik

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