The World Through My Shoes is my look at living this incredible gift God has given us. As a busy wife, mother and daughter I relish the alone time I receive on my early morning runs. It is in the stillness of those predawn mornings where I often am inspired. Thank you for taking the time to read my words.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mud, Fun & Life

Saturday, June 18th held the promise of fun and dirt.  My friend Joy had signed up with her husband Adam to do the Survivor Mud Run in Carnation, WA.  Due to an injury Adam had to back out leaving her with a spare entry and an invitation to me.  Jumping at the chance to play, I accepted the invitation challenge.

Leaving town at 5:30 a.m. and making the 2 hour drive to the race, I found myself in the car with some of the best people I know.  Joy, Kathy, Karen and I spent the time sharing life and lots of laughs.  It wasn't until the drive back after the race did I realize how much the day's Mud Run correlated to real life. 

Life as well as the Mud Run share some great life lessons.  Here are just a few of the things I learned today.

1.  Surround yourself with those who encourage you.
Kathy and Karen were not participating in the race, but wanted to come along anyway; each sacrificing their Saturdays to watch us in the obstacle course.  These weren't sun shining times, it was a wet and drizzly Northwest morning, yet they were there.  It wasn't a course where they could sit and watch us run by, they plotted and planned which routes to take to ensure they could capture some of our moments on film and shout encouragement along the way.   Being there for us came at a cost, and they chose to be there.  Life is meant to have friends like that.

2.  Count your blessings when you find those who want to go through challenges by your side.
Not many people think running is fun, throw in running while walking on planks, wading through rivers, climbing walls and crawling through mud and the amount gets even smaller.  When you do find those who enjoy the things you do, keep them close and share the journey with them.

3.  Be aware changes are coming.
Life doesn't always give you warnings.  When it does, prepare yourself.  Sometimes you have no idea what is coming, you just know things are going to change.  Accept this and you'll be more prepared.

4.  Teamwork is essential; make yourself part of the team and work together.
One of the obstacles we faced was a long section of bungee cords strung from tree to tree.  There was no running, there was only careful navigation.  Surrounded by others, we quickly learned we could get through the obstacle faster if we worked together.  We talked, telling each other what we were doing; we encouraged others with steps to take; we guided one another the best we could.  And we did it together. 

5.   Life is always better with someone at your side.
Words do not have to be spoken; just knowing someone is there helps you move in a forward direction.  Despite being tired, having Joy at my side kept the running pace strong and we fed off of each other's energy.  Did it change the fact we were tired?  No, but we pushed each other in a way that only someone who knows how you feel can do.

6.  Accept the challenge, despite the fear.
One of the obstacles we faced twice that day was the rope wall.  Climbing up the wall isn't what scares me - it's being at the top and having to get to the other side that does.  I knew Joy was at my side and I knew if I couldn't move, she'd be there to help me.  Swinging my leg over the wall, I was committed.  I would do this.

7.  Celebrate the successes.
Complete joy is how I felt when I realized that I did it.  I had faced my fear and did it; my own strength holding my weight and getting me to the other side.  In that I celebrated.  I threw my hands in the air in jubilation all while hearing Joy, Kathy and Karen give me their screams of encouragement.  They knew my fears, they saw my hard work and they were there to celebrate with me.

8.  There are dark and scary places we must all go, but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
It was dark in there, it was full of muck, it was full of mire and the only way to the other side was to go through it.  With trepidation not knowing what was in there, we went in anyway.  We had to, so we did.  We came out dirtier on the other side, but we did come out.

9.  Don't be afraid to get in the mud.
We found ourselves in a log jam crawling under and over fallen logs.  Deep into the muddy waters we knew the only way to get out of it was to do what needed to be done.  Our feet would get stuck and the water was murky and the encouragement never stopped.  The strangers around us even offered helpful words.  In life sometimes the help we get is from those who don't know what life has been for you, but just happen to be near enough to help.

10.  Be flexible.
Being willing to bend where needed will help the challenge become manageable.  When you let go of your idea of easy and accept what needs to be done there is forward progress.  I am still in the mud, there is still a log in my way, but I have now moved forward because I was willing to bend.

11.  Fill your life with laughter.
When the exhaustion sets in and you are tired from the journey sometimes the best thing to do is laugh.

12.  Face your fears.
Climbing the cargo wall terrified me.  Unlike the wooden wall, I could see beneath me.  Each wobbly step onto the rope ladder allowed me to see how high I was going....and just how far I could fall.  Standing at the top of the wall the only option I had was to get down.  Fear would not paralyze me despite my head telling me to stop.  Fear is real and it is my job to harness that fear.  Fear moved me over the cargo net and conquering that fear brought on the biggest sense of joy I'd had.  Without the fear, I never would have felt that joy.

13.  Life, even with it's trials, is great.
When the trials are over, look around, the people you invest your time, energy and love into are standing right next to you.  They know what it took for you to get there and they celebrate and laugh with you, despite your imperfections and all the mud you wear. 



  1. Okay...can I cry now? This was an awesome blog! Such an outstanding achievement Sis!

  2. Loved it, Cheri! I couldn't agree more, with every lesson learned. I was talking to my dad this morning, and explaining how special it is to have people who "get" what I think is fun- running, and taken a step or two further- running with dirty, sometimes scary, but always fun and exhilarating obstacles! Thanks for posting!

  3. Dear Cheri, once again you have captured the essence of the day! Thank you Kathy and Karen for again coming down for the day. I hope you two will be participating next year!! The course was not easy and am so glad that we pushed ourselves outside of our every day, comfortable zone.