Mud Run Diaries: Savage Race Hits Central Florida
On Sunday, March 29th, Central Florida became the birthplace of hundreds of “Savages.” Savage Race was held at Little Everglades Ranch, about an hour away from the Tampa area. People of all shapes, sizes, ages, and fitness levels gathered together and embarked on a race that promoted teamwork, strong self-determination, and conquering your fears.
What seems like the ultimate form of torture for most was this crowd’s idea of a “Sunday Funday,” including for your author and 5 of her classmates from the USF Exercise Science program. We teamed up for a day filled with mud in our shoes, cement block pulls, quarter-pipe climbs, ice-water plunges, and about 7 miles of terrain to run. We were lucky to also have another fellow program member volunteering and waiting for us at the finish line.
This was an unforgettable experience never lacking in excitement and filled with encouragement leaving me with battle wounds that I can’t help but be proud of. A race like this, or something more lengthy like Tough Mudder, can be intimidating for most, but I can assure you that experiencing such an adventure is nothing but rewarding and empowering.
You Don’t Have To Be An Ironman
Maybe you can run 10 miles straight, maybe you can barely run half a mile. Maybe you can whip out 10 pullups straight into a muscle-ups superset, maybe you have a hard enough time getting yourself into the gym. You’re fitness level does not limit you in an event like this. Everywhere you turn, a participant will surprise you. You may see a triathlete to your left, and a 60 year old to your right. I’ve even seen a man in a wheelchair during Tough Mudder. Thses kinds of races are not about being the best or being the most qualified, it’s about doing YOUR best and proving to YOURSELF how capable you are. All you have to do is push yourself as far as you can.
You Don’t Have to Do Anything You Don’t Want To Do
No one is running behind you with a whistle forcing you to jump into a pool of water when you can’t swim. If you don’t feel comfortable doing an obstacle, simply run around it. The test is seeing how hard you can push yourself to conquer your fears, whether that be: heights, water, or getting down and dirty. But, if this fear is crippling or you just aren’t capable of completing a task, no one will be screaming at you, calling you a failure, or making you do burpees as a punishment.
A Taste Of Failure Pushes You More
If you happen to try something for the first time and fail, something about that moment is more empowering than you’d anticipate. That moment you lose your grip or balance may feel like an ultimate let down, but you leave that obstacle knowing something even better: you TRIED. Better yet, you were CLOSE. Ricky Bobby’s “if you ain’t first, you’re last” is far from applicable here. Stepping away from an obstacle that may have won that battle just amps you up for your next attempt. You’ll get the drive to train harder, go back, and whoop that obstacles ass.
You’re On More Than One Team
I think the best part about participating in one of these events is the sense of teamwork. Not only do you go in with immediate team members (or on your own), but you end up helping out others to get through the course. Whether it be a simple “you’ve got it” or a helping hand up a tall wall, you willingly become a member of a team of Savages. Strangers become both friends and motivators. I think sometimes we forget how important it is to turn to others for help, and this experience is the perfect opportunity to realize that because, well, it’s impossible to get through without a helping hand.
Hopping on the mud run bandwagon may seem like a terrifyingly bad idea at first, but I promise you, it is such a thrill. It’s extremely exhausting and painful at times, but it’s so damn rewarding. You cross the finish line knowing that you just conquered something truly difficult, and that it’s because of your own drive that got you there. If you don’t do as well as you’d hoped to, you’re left feeling more motivated to train harder. Savage Race took Central Florida by storm, proving to so many that they are stronger than they think.