Beep, beep, beep!” My ears ring from the piercing alarm. I wonder how deep of a surge of motivation I must have been in to willingly set an alarm for 7 a.m. on a Saturday. Wait, Saturday – today was the long awaited MUDGIRL race! I jumped out of bed and ran downstairs. My mom and I drove to Conroe, talking about our expectations for the three 5K, 17-obstacle run. When we arrived, there was a long line of cars, but we eventually found my mom’s friends and daughters. We eagerly ran towards the start and began to warm up. There were crowds of women in pink, many wearing t-shirts dedicated to a loved one who experienced breast cancer. MUDGIRL Houston is not only a fun challenge but has donated more than $300,000 towards breast cancer research.
Within minutes, a voice shouted, “3, 2, 1...Go!” Off I went with my friend Kianna Vaz by my side, realizing quickly that our mothers would not be able to keep up with us. Everyone seemed to be doing the obstacles at their own pace, as if they found running, climbing, and being submerged in thick mud to be relaxing or even therapeutic. Every grunt was followed by infectious laughter as mud covered our bodies. Some groups showed solidarity by speed walking instead of running to stay together, but I ran through the obstacles on my own. After passing a group that had started before me, I naively thought, “This is so easy, I could do it twice.”
This was my mindset until I came upon two giant mounds of slippery mud. They clearly couldn’t be crossed alone. It required teamwork. Many people stood on someone else’s hands, as they were given a boost to the top, where they would link arms and reach down to help the next women up. When I got through this obstacle, I realized it was more fun relying on a community of strangers than attempting the climb by myself.
When I reached the finish line, I talked to newfound friends about our hardest obstacles. When my group arrived, we laughed about the best and worst parts of our journey. This trial helped me see that life’s difficulties are easier and livelier with a community.
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