You Want Me To Do What?

My name is Laurie, and I am an obstacle-racing mud-running junkie. I haven’t always been this way. In fact this has been an evolution in my life that started about three years ago. I want to share with you my journey so far. Hopefully I can inspire you to take the plunge and try your first race or just help you take that first step towards your goals that are just out of reach.

I have always struggled with my weight and it was something I have never been happy with. I remember always being active as a kid, but I also remember using food for comfort and a way to deal with boredom. As an adult I developed a love for the sodium packed convenience of fast food. And I paid the price for these bad habits.

In-N-Out Burger – A California Staple

Although I had these bad eating habits, I still didn’t feel like I was unhealthy. Sure I was overweight but I still went hiking, swimming, and went scuba diving. So how unhealthy could I really be? I must say that I was lucky enough to come from a family made up of hard working farmers and the women in my family live well into their nineties. Bacon grease and my grandma’s sweet tea was a part of my upbringing and ran through my veins. Although I didn’t have any specific health issues to speak of, I knew my bad eating habits would catch up to me some day.

Daniel and I pre-epiphany

In 2009 I fell victim to a layoff at work like many others. The past 13 years of my life in the banking industry really ended with a bang. It was a scary time in my life professionally. The fear of the unknown was stressful yet intriguing at the same time. With a very generous severance package I was going to be able to take my time before looking for a new job. I really started to reevaluate my life and decided this was the perfect opportunity to really focus on ME. Something I have never, ever done before. This was the turning point.

In January 2009 I joined Weight Watchers. The first step in the new ME was to get rid of some of the “old” ME. Billy Blanks and I became fast friends. Tae Bo was a great way to get in the cardio I wanted to help in the weight loss. I then started doing some light cycling and mountain biking. It was fun, but I didn’t think it was really going to be my passion. In early 2011 I walked my first 5K as part of a Weight Watchers Move It challenge. I felt really good, and knew that I could challenge myself to do more. I decided to sign up for a 5K run that was being held as part of a local marathon in November 2011. I began to train for it and had two goals on race day: 1) Run the whole race without stopping and 2) Not finish last! It was a success! I wasn’t last and I didn’t quit.

Weight Watchers 5K Finishing Pendant

My brother, who had been my exercise buddy so far, decided to up the ante and said he wanted to sign up for a mud run called Tough Mudder. I didn’t know anything about mud runs, and agreed to do it with him. As I began to read more and more about this Tough Mudder, I got scared. Who in their right mind would pay money to jump into 34 degree ice water and then willingly walk through live electrical wires?! My brother, the former marine would, that’s who. So we began training. It consisted of trail running mostly. I then decided that if I wanted to make it through these obstacles I needed to increase my upper body strength. I joined a gym and found some great group classes with an awesome trainer. I did a boot camp class a body pump class that was barbell based strength training. I’m so glad I didn’t just focus on cardio. The strength training for me was just as important.


Here is the official video of the race I participated in

When Tough Mudder SoCal #1 arrived in February of 2012, it was game time! I really had to dig down deep to not be intimidated by the course and the people around me. In the starting pin we were surrounded by lots of twenty-somethings with no fear in their eyes. The excitement from the other participants was infectious. Even before we started in our heat, I felt my confidence increase and the fear went away. There was no greater feeling (except giving birth to my kids) that can compare to reciting the Tough Mudder pledge and hearing our national anthem. This was my gateway drug.

The race itself was amazing. It gave me such a sense of accomplishment and pride to know that I completed every obstacle on that 11 mile course and that I had the mental conditioning to get me through.

My brother Chris and I after completing Tough Mudder

Since then I have participated in many other obstacle races, and keep finding more and more that I want to do. This has become my passion and a great way to stay fit. I love that I can be a positive role model for my kids and show them how to be strong, healthy and enjoy life. I am now over 60 pounds lighter and having so much fun. Some people say move forward and never look back, but I don’t agree. For me it’s important to look back to see how far I’ve come and know that I don’t ever want to be in that place again.

Daniel and I pumped for Warrior Dash

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