Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Venimus, Vidimus, Vicimus

The gods of recreation smiled on Sunday.  A light shower in the early morning kept the temperature relatively cool as “The Raptors” stepped into the muck and mire under an opal sky.  I formed a team with work colleagues to participate in Minnesota’s annual Tough Mudder, an eleven-mile military-like obstacle course carved out of hilly farmland just over the border in Wisconsin.  The event raises millions of dollars for the Wounded Warrior Project, a charity that supports injured members of the U.S. military.  This was my second go at it, as I had been part of a Tough Mudder team last September with soldiers from my Army unit.

Build it and they will come.  Oh, they came, in the hundreds, adventurous individuals wanting to test their stamina, mettle, athletic prowess, and whatever else they got.  Our team, the aforementioned Raptors, met the week prior to the event to train as a group.  Getting through the course would hinge on a collaborative effort.  We climbed over walls, waded through a vat of ice water, received mild electric shocks, crawled through tunnels, leaped mounds of mud, jumped bales of hay, carried logs, plummeted 15+ feet into blood-red water, sprinted up a greasy half-pipe known as “Everest,” and the list goes on.  Mud had saturated our very essence.  Yes, we became one with the sludge.  We could taste it.  We could feel it.  In fact, by the end, we could no longer tell where we began and the mud ended.  I can pleasantly report that this latest team of academics were in much better shape than the Army team from last year.  We did more than survive the gauntlet of 20-odd obstacles.  As we crossed the finish line, we felt like Julius Caesar, who upon victory in battle is alleged to have uttered (and I paraphrase): Venimus, Vidimus, Vicimus.  We came, we saw, we conquered.