I Wish that I Could Be Like the Muddy Kids, ‘Cause All the Muddy Kids, They Seem to Fit In

I have crossed the Tough Mudder full Finish line 6 times.  I completed 15 miles at a Toughest Mudder.  My bench press PR is 225.  My 10K PR 1:33:23.  I train 5 days a week.

More often than not, I do not consider myself an athlete.  Most often, I consider myself a fraud.  A farce.  A pretender.

According to Merriam-Webster the definition of an athlete is: a person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise.

I am surrounded by athletes every time I step up to the start line at Tough Mudder.  I look around and see people who are WAY more qualified to do this than I am.  I look around and wonder who’s going to fall to the back of the pack and will likely become my buddy to get through this.

When I talk to people about Tough Mudder, I often wonder what they think of me.  I wonder if I’m one of the people that others say are ruining the sport because I take too long or can’t finish certain obstacles.

I wonder if I should even step up to that start line at World’s Toughest Mudder.

This morning I had a very frank conversation with a good friend of mine.  She was talking about how she doesn’t feel like she should call herself a ‘runner’ because of reasons X, Y, and Z.  The reasons don’t matter, what matters is that she is a runner.

She commits the time to train.  She does the races.  She does the thing.  And she does it well.

She is a runner.  And I told her as much.

Then I told her about my own struggles with the term ‘athlete‘ and my feelings of being a ‘fraud‘.  And she responded: ‘I think that you are the face of what Tough Mudder is.’

This hit me in a way that I can barely describe.

As someone who spent most of her life on the outside looking in, I’m used to not being included in groups.  It’s a little ironic because I’ve been blessed with friendships and being part of groups that I learned later were considered the ‘cool kids’.

I was never a cool kid though.  I was always the fat girl in the back of the class chewing on her hair.

And sometimes I still feel like that girl.  But more often than not, the women that I am now pushes my way forward and is willing to get out there and talk to strangers and make friends and join in on conversations with people I don’t know.

While there will always be someone faster, stronger, quicker, a million ‘-er’ things than me, I will still continue that steady forward march towards my goals and my finish line.  While it’s very unlikely that I will ever podium at any event I participate in, I am still an athlete.

I am not a fraud.  I am not a farce.  I am not a pretender.  I am an athlete.

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3 thoughts on “I Wish that I Could Be Like the Muddy Kids, ‘Cause All the Muddy Kids, They Seem to Fit In

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