The Rugged Beast of Emotion

I am going to preface this post with a bit of disappointing news. Due to a technical difficulty, there is NO personal camera video footage of the race. Oh well. It happens. The good news is that I DO have race footage. It will come from the helmet cam that I rented. However, the footage will not be sent to me for TWO WEEKS! Doh! Oh well. Hang in there folks. It will be good when it does get here. I hope…

Yesterday I ran my first 5k race. Ever.

It was the Rugged Maniac Mud Run at Boone Hall here in beautiful Charleston, SC. It is hard to put into words how awesome I feel about it, although my knees are cut, burned and scraped all kinds of up and down.

This race was a lot tougher than I was expecting. Both physically and mentally.

I have a treadmill 5k PR of 29:15 so I was really thinking that I would be able to finish the mud run in 45 minutes or less. You know, I can say this because of my ridiculously large online ego. I really don’t know what I was thinking though. A 30 minute treadmill 5k in no way relates to a 5k mud run, mainly because of, well, the mud. It fails to account for roots, holes, hills, tunnels, tires, barb wire, walls (both short and tall), cargo nets and other climbsticles (obstacles in which you have to climb (yes I made it up)) as well.

There were several points where I did not think I was going to be able to continue. I had mud coming out of parts of me that I didn’t know could contain any sort of matter, be it liquid, solid or gas. My clothes felt like they weighed more than I did. As soon as the mud dried on my hands we would hit the water again and it would turn back to slime. I could feel the sludge in between my toes with every step. When I tried to wipe the sweat out of my eyes, I just wiped more mud in. I totally was out of breath after the second obstacle.

But I kept going.

I ended up with an official time of 50:58 and I am stoked about it.

Choosing a mud run for my first ever race may seem like a non-well-thought-out choice, but I am BEAST and I like those kinds of challenges. Or so i thought. Man, I wanted to give in. Not bad enough to actually do it. But bad enough to keep thinking about it.

My team was awesome though. They kept encouraging me and took turns running with me (most of my team could’ve outpaced me by a longshot.) Team BeastFace was a great team however and I could not have had a better group to run with!

A 5k mud run. And I finished it. And I finished it in a decent time.

This is something that NO ONE will ever be able to take away from me. This year I have run the Rugged Maniac Mud Run and last year at this same time I was denied access to rides at Disney World because I was too fat.

I know that some of my more fit friends are reading this thinking, “It was JUST a 5k. No big deal.” But just the same, I also bet there are are a handful of folks who are struggling with their own weight and/or fitness level who think this is beyond them. I always thought this kind of thing was beyond me…

Here is the part where I get emotional.

330 lbs of me in April 2011

Once Deetz and I got to the car yesterday, and the adrenaline started to wear off, it started to dawn on me what had just happened. I started to feel really overwhelmed as the magnitude of what had just occurred really set in. I NEVER thought I would EVER be able to do something like that. I mean come on! I am not lying when I say that I was too fat to ride the rides at Disney just last year. I remember watching my friends play soccer when I was in high school and thinking to myself that I would only ever be the fat guy and I would never be able to do athletic things. I started to get really emotional right there in the car and I may have even blubbered a little bit to the wife. Sorry Deetz, I know I am an emotional wreck anyway. I am sure that I was even worse yesterday… I was trying to fight back tears, but in all honesty I just wanted to let flow an emotional Niagara falls. Not tears of sadness, mind you. But just an overwhelming feeling of HOLY SH!T I CAN’T BELIEVE I ACTUALLY JUST DID THAT. I am actually getting a bit misty just typing this. It is hard to explain to someone who has always been in shape or who has never had a fear of needing a seat belt extender. But I have accomplished something now that I have fought hard over the past year to be ABLE to do.

And I did it.
Holy sh!t.
I did it.

I am going to go lock myself in the guest room and cry myself to sleep now.


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14 comments to The Rugged Beast of Emotion

  • You definitely should be very proud of yourself for conquering the Maniac yesterday! I watched the Spartan Sprint in Charlotte yesterday and those obstacles were no joke either. Your knee looks exactly like my husband’s, chewed up by the crazy obstacles! Recover well and keep up the great work!

  • Wee Wifey

    I am soooooooooooo proud of you! It makes me want to be able to do a 5K so you can be as proud of me as I am of you. Because I am both cheesy and needy like that. 😉

  • Janice - The Fitness Cheerleader
    Twitter: fitcheerldr

    Way to go!! That takes so much courage to enter the race, nevermind actually doing it! You’re awesome! I’m thinking of entering my first mud run/obstacle race (Spartan Race) this summer – got any tips/pointers for me?

    Ok – totally off topic, but is the guy in your last picture smelling his armpit?

    • hank

      I think that he is flexing. But he might be trying to sniff his pits! My advice on running a mud run is some sort of knee protection for when you have to crawl under things. Other than that, go hard!

  • KymberlyFunFit
    Twitter: KymberlyFunFit

    You are THE BEST OF THE BEAST BUB! What great insight into your journey.

  • Chris McCulley
    Twitter: chrisamcculley

    YOU ARE THE MAN!! Way to go dude! I’m just trying to be able to run a regular 5K minus the mud so kudos to you my friend.

    As far as the mushy part, I relate so much in every facete of what you said including not fitting in rides and having to use a seat belt extender. I just about had my own emotional breakdown today after running, but I was able to hold together; we shall see what happens when I actually run the 5K.

    Thanks for continuing to inspire..

  • Molly Nitka
    Twitter: MollyMFNitka

    Congrats on the completion of your first 5k! I did a mud run but it was a 5 miler and it was hard but so fun. I cant wait to see footage from your helmet cam. Once again, CONGRATS!

  • Christine @ Oatmeal in my Bowl
    Twitter: oatmealbowl

    Love the photos! But now you scared me. I am running a 5K Mud Run next weekend! And Monica at Eat, Run, Repeat was talking about scrapes and cold mud, too. eeek. And what do I wear??? Sounds like my birthday suit would work best to keep off the clothing weight. 😉

    Congratulations Hank! I think a Mud run was perfect for your first 5K!

  • Mud Run Maniac
    Twitter: Mudrunmaniac

    Hey man, great story on your journey to conquering the Rugged Maniac. I’m doing one in July with a big team in NJ. Really though, your post is really inspirational and says a lot about how a mud run can be a catalyst in conquering your bigger goals. Great job, again. I’m going to post your story on my FB page to share with my readers. Cheers!

    Keep mudding!

  • Jess
    Twitter: _J2

    Hank, I’m super excited for and proud of you! “just a 5K” and ” only 3 miles” are crazy/arrogant phrases! As someone who is training for a 5k, and just ran for 25 minutes straight for the first Time, you are a huge inspiration!

    This weekend I ran the 5k race course I’m doing next month, and discovered it was entirely uphill! THAT was challenging enough for a new runner! Your first race sounds difficult but you rocked it! A year ago would you have been able to imagine having the strength to pull yourself up and over obstacles?!

    Great, great job! You have every right to be emotional, your reclaimed your life & totally changed in a short time!

  • misszippy
    Twitter: misszippy1

    A huge congrats! That is really fantastic. And think of what a stud you are to do your FIRST 5k that way–will impress the masses for sure!

  • Amber Hanna Forbes

    Congrats! You totally deserve it!

  • […] Since I am participating in a Mud Run this weekend, I thought it might be wise to add more cardio to my routine this weekend. Not to mention because I will be trudging through sludge {Hank offers this great recap of his first 5K Mud run). […]

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