Letters to my Son - Tough Mudder 2012

Today is the Tough Mudder event that I've been planning to complete for over a year. A big part of why I wanted to do this is to prove to myself that, even with a heart condition, I can still live my life and love being active.

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After this, I won't be making any more unknown risks to be sure that I can be around while you are growing up.

If anything funny happens and I just don't make it out of this day, I just want you to know that I love you and that you can do anything that you want in this world.

This is a calculated risk and I believe truly that I will have you in my arms when I get home tonight.

I love you.


Well, I made it. I finished the Tough Mudder with my team of 7 guys, including your Uncles Bone and Gus. It was indeed tough. I expected that the most difficult part would be the obstacles, but it was really the distance that was much tougher. We covered 17km and 19 obstacles. I think if the terrain was flat it would have been pretty easy, but we were running up and down a ski hill all day long. I wore a heart rate monitor to keep my heart rate in check. The doctor gave me a limit of 130-140 bpm. That pretty much limits me to walking briskly, never mind climbing up and down ski hills.

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Since I took the stress test and had no strange rhythms up to 169 bpm, I gave myself a hard ceiling of 160bpm for the duration of the event. This was enough that I was able to walk up the hills and get a full run on during the gradual downslopes. Out of the group of us, I would fall behind on every uphill and then run to the front on each of the downhills. I skipped one of the two electricity obstacles, the Electric Eel, because I figured that I was cutting my risks from electric shock in half. There was no way that I wouldn't be running through the final obstacle: Electro-Shock Therapy.

Overall, it was a really stupid thing to do given the hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, but I set my mind to it and wanted to accomplish it to prove that my athletic life wasn't over.

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Leading up to the Mudder, I was able to lose a couple of pounds by eating better, build up some cardio by doing a lot of walking with you at the park, and I was able to get quite a bit stronger by doing more pushups each day than the prior day.

I am glad that I was able to finish the Mudder. I'm proud of myself and it definitely helped to get the need to do something athletic out of my system. The last year has been tough on me because I really loved being active and I really miss it. I really miss playing basketball, which I used to do a few times per week as an adult.

Back in high school, basketball was my life. I would get up early every morning, eat a quick breakfast, then head to school for 7:00am. The janitor would show up to let us into the school and unlock the gym. We always came prepared with a change of clothes and a basketball so that we didn't need to rely on getting access to any of the school facilities. We would play for 2 solid hours in the morning and then play at lunch for 45 minutes. Gym was every afternoon and sometimes we would even play during class. After school, I would play ball from 3:10pm to 4:00pm, then head to track practice from 4:00pm to 6:00pm every weeknight. Dinner was always ready when I got home from practice and, after doing the dishes, your Uncle Damian and I would play ball in the driveway until the sun would go down. Man, I miss those days.

Now, the doctor recommends nothing more strenuous than a brisk walk. It depresses me to no end.