A couple weeks ago my brother in law dangled an idea in front of me and I was just crazy enough to agree to it. He participated in a Tough Mudder last year and apparently enjoyed himself immensely but was lamenting that he didn’t really have anyone else to run with and he wanted to do another one. Foolishly, I agreed to participate with him in the December 1st edition of this event in the Tampa area. He sucked me in when he offered to help raise pledge money for the Foundation at his gym.
For those of you not familiar with the Tough Mudder it is essentially a big muddy obstacle course with a lot of ice cold water and you get to run and jump and crawl and climb and swim and have a great time as you make your way through the 10 to 12 miles that the course covers.
I am a challenge-oriented person, I need things to work towards and this seemed to be just about the perfect opportunity to get motivated and stay motivated in my quest to get in better physical fitness. High blood pressure is one of the big risk factors for stroke. While stress and genetic predisposition do impact your blood pressure, being physically fit and leading an active lifestyle can also help you keep blood pressure within normal limits. A good exercise routine can also help deal with stress, so there are lots of benefits here.
When my father was sick my daily routine was changed dramatically, my days were spent at work and then at the hospital or nursing home or rehab facility, leaving little time for exercise or a whole lot of anything else. I noticed though when I would spend time with him, particularly when I would visit him by myself that it was some of the mentally quietest time I have ever spent. My brain is normally zipping from thought to thought, uniquely bad idea to clever scheme. When I was with him there was a lot of clarity. Things seem a lot less important when you’re talking to your father, telling him about your day, and he can’t respond because he’s suffering from locked-in syndrome.
My exercise routine, what little there was before he suffered the stroke, was put on hold for a year and a half while he was ill and then longer still as other things always seemed more important than getting out for a run or a bike ride. Well here I am, exercising again, getting ready for this very interesting event with my brother in law. Look forward to many more updates on my progress as my weight goes down and my fitness goes up.