USMC Mud Run 2013: Team Building and a Little Hazing

It's been a few years since I've been out of the Marines. But sometimes you just want to know if you "still got  it". Well recently we attended the Marine Corps Mud Run in search of the answer.
Working out requires dedication. Dedication is sometimes difficult when you have no set goals other than physical appearance. Everyone wants to look good, however physical appearance goals are slow or hard to notice on themselves. With that, they will most of the time lose the motivation to the point of stopping their workout routine. People that are looking to make themselves healthy or "in-shape" for an actual event will push themselves harder- like a mud run, 5k, or similar challenge.

There are a few things I enjoyed about this event; one being the teamwork it instills. In this event you must have a "fire team" (USMC term for 4 man team). Each team must work together to navigate 36 grueling obstacles over the course of 5 and some odd miles. Your muddy, cold, and working hard throughout the course. What I learned in the Marines about Camaraderie, is that when people go through the same sucky situations they tend to become tighter as a unit. There is no whining because everyone else is dealing with the same crap as you. Arduous situations tend to unite people. Think back to 9/11; America was united to comfort one another.
Even when your tired, wet, and cold- you suck it up and push on because the guy to your left is still pushing forward. There really is no better motivation than not wanting to let your team down.

When we got to this river there was no running. It was filled with holes. But again we operated as a team and pointed the holes and sunken trees out to one another. Keith was brave and took position as point man during this leg.
I do have to give Keith an honorable mention. In the beginning of the course he aggravated an old shoulder injury but kept on strong. At one point we were "punished" for not completing an obstacle (I didn't see any participate complete may I add) and had to do push-ups, side straddle hops, push-ups again. Typical quarter-deck type stuff (Marines know what I'm talking about). Keith knocked out one-armed push-ups since the rest of the team had to do them.
So you ask how does this relate to survival. Well I would say a lot. Can you push through austere situations?Put your own misery aside to work as a team? You can have all the gear in the world, but can your body handle the stress of a survival situation? Can you run for your life? Can you pull yourself up and over an obstacle to get yourself out of harms way? Can you overpower someone in a struggle trying to hurt you? You may not always have your weapons or survival gear with you.
If you think about it- whats the first thing you are assessed on when joining the military? Physical fitness. It doesn't matter if your a non-infantry soldier you still PT. If you are a Marine, Ranger, Navy SEAL, or Green Beret you must meet a standard. This is because being fit relates to overcoming physical stress and survival in combat.
In the end we finished. With my shirt a different color than when I started (it was white). Through all the mud and blood (yes we shed some blood) it was fun. It was a challenge that we started and finished together. I encourage you to challenge yourself with a physical fitness goal. Find something to prepare for. There are plenty out there: Tough Mudder, GORUCK Tough, and even local 5K's. Either way-find a goal to make yourself better.

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