What is a sufferfest? This is basically your household Spartan Races (although they’re much funner), Tough Mudders (notable obstacles: Arctic Enema & Electro Shock Therapy); and then there are the upper echelon sufferfests. I’m talking about the marathons, ironmans, ultra-marathons, anything that involves you pushing yourself, like Amelia Boone does, to the absolute limit.
Amelia Boone quoted, “I love pushing my body to the point whereas I’m suffering.”
A gentleman at a restaurant in Sedona, Arizona saw my shirt and asked me about Tough Mudder. However, unbeknownst to fitness, he made claims like, “why would people even do that?”
As some of you know, one of my greatest failures in life happened back in 2005 – Southern Nevada Sunrise Regional Track & Field Championships where I was suppose to finish in the top 2; conversely, I fell apart 125 meters into my 300m intermediate hurdle race and finished dead last. This failure right here is music to my ears and I keep it with me everyday like a little girl keeps that teddybear by her side when she retires at night.
When I’m getting ready to give up on a Tough Mudder Course, or any workout in general, that point of suffering arises. That moment when I crossed the finish line, collapsed, and wept at the Regional Championships. That point of absolute defeat drives me everyday of my life, and it’s not in a bad way, either. This greatest defeat has carried me more than 50,000 miles across the world since then and I’ve become the success I am today because of it.
What a sufferfest does, like I told a doctor from Cincinnati, Ohio yesterday, is it destroys the mind. It destroys that habit….the thing that controls your life everyday. It breaks the comfortability bubble that you’re in everyday. A Tough Mudder could be anywhere from 10-20km (6-12 miles), but your body is only capable of being trained for the first half of that race. I learned the hard way in Australia.
My first every Tough Mudder was beyond fun. People, of all walks of life, were throwing each other over mud hills, laughing and dancing. At the time, I thought I was at the 15km mark. However, we reached a sign that first said 10km (halfway through) and then a course that said ‘Gorilla Hills.’ Then the moment followed…..that moment when the mental barrier and the word “quit” was beaming at me. These ants, which were people, were making their way up these mountainous hills. I’ve never seen anything quite like them before in my life. I was thinking about cutting the course, taking a go-cart up the hill, quitting, so many things were going through my mind. My upper back was in a state of pain, knees buckled, shoes were torn with little pebbles scattered throughout – killing my feet even more. At this time, everything I ever been through in life, in terms of pain, came before my very eyes. The suffering I endured throughout Thailand, my family, the trials and tribulations of everything came…..that’s when I stood there and looked at my reflection and said, “if I give up now, it will continue to conquer me.”
After walking….3km past; 4km past, 5km past – next thing I know the Arctic Enema was there and I almost went around. Nope! Since I’m already suffering, I need to get a reward from it, right? That very day changed my life
These are why suffering fests are important for human beings. The only way the growth will take place in the most uncomfortable situations is when you’re in the middle of nowhere and quitting is not an option. The body is completely destroyed after a certain mark, and when the mental part kicks in, you begin to control the mind and tell it what to do. Once you do that, you can start taking control of your life.
This is why they’re vital.
2.5 Tough Mudders later and a Spartan Race approaching in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I simply can’t get enough of them.