UR Life

Kapuskasing's "One Man Wolf Pack" Team at Toronto Tough Mudder

Kevin Stewart

By Kevin Stewart

This past August 18th I had the opportunity to participate in the first ever Tough Mudder event in Canada. There was something appealing to me about a race consisting of thousands of people with mohawks in funny costumes racing through a 10 mile obstacle course. I signed up in January as a New Year's resolution, knowing that having this on the horizon would inspire me to take my workouts to the next level.

To prepare for the event I had to go beyond my typical "home gym comfort-zone". I began running in May, initially on a treadmill then later starting running "the loop", increasingly adding mileage. The first time I was able to run the entire loop I felt pretty amazing.

A few weeks later I signed up for the Moonbeam Canada Day half marathon. I was a little intimidated to be taking on the 21km run. Urged on by my family and friends and all the amazing runners on the course I finished with a time of 2 hours 30 minutes. Over the next two months I improved my 21km time to one hour and fifty-eight minutes and even ran from Kap to Remi Lake.

My training was intense and included running, weight lifting, and a 300 rep cardio program. I had the chance to do two bootcamps in the park hosted by Discover Fitness with Kate Durst where I met a few of the amazing local fitness buffs our town seems to have in abundance.

While most participants in Tough Mudder events run as part of a team I opted to go solo. This gave me a bit of an "uphill" disadvantage since it meant I would not have team mates to cheer me on during my training succeses, nor get me moving off the couch. I knew that during the actual event one miscalculation while jumping off the "Berlin Walls" or a misplaced ankle on the course would be the end of my journey since I would not have team mates to shoulder my weight and carry me on through to the finish line. Luckily, I always had the encouragement and support of all the positive people around me. My friends, family, and others I met during the course of my training became my "team".

I am truly grateful to have had my cheering squad come out to support me for this event. We looked wicked in our matching "One Man Wolf Pack" outfits that my sister in law had designed for us. There is great access at Tough Mudder events for spectators and my support crew was at every possible obstacle cheering me. The atmosphere was very energetic and positive and all the participants were ready to slow their race pace in order to help others.

Along the course there were many obstacles designed to make us "face our fears". Obstacles which I thought would be difficult I completed with the most ease. Some of the ones I had intially overlooked seemed to be the most daunting. I had completely written off the "Walk the Plank" obstacle, nothing seemed too scary about jumping twenty feet into the water below until I was standing at the top. With people behind me ready to go and and my friends cheering me on below I closed my eyes and took the leap. It was a very invigorating experience.

As I approached my most dreaded obstacle, "Mt. Everest", I had already been zapped, plunged into ice water, scaled cargo nets and crawled through narrow pitch black tunnels. I knew at this point that I would be finishing with a better than average time and that this was the last "true" obstacle between me and the finish line. I commited myself to running up the giant, greased-up, quarter-pipe, let out a scream and sprinted full tilt up the ramp, trying to grab the hand of a participant at the top who was leaning over to pull me up... I missed and went falling back down. On my second attempt a moment later I nailed it and standing at the top of the quarter pipe I felt pretty great.

I feel very humble and inspired to have had the opportunity to take part in this great charity event which is a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Kevin Stewart
One Man Wolf Pack Team

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