I did it. I’ve finally lost it. This past weekend I ran a race–ran is somewhat euphemistic here–and it was, as billed by the event organizers, the “craziest frickin’ day” of my life. Now, I’ve done a lot of races, but they’ve all been road races; this was a three-mile obstacle course. In my blissful ignorance, I tried to strategize. Since the course is only three miles, should I sprint between obstacles? Or should I take the steady approach? The joke was on me.

All thoughts of strategy and running for speed evaporated about twenty seconds after the start of the Warrior Dash. I have never done anything so intensely physically challenging in my life. It was crazy. Water, mud, dirt, ropes, steep grades, mud, fire, ruts, walls, mud, tires, planks, mud…even the most physically fit warriors (and that day, we were all warriors) were forced to walk parts of the course. Nothing else was possible.

Why did I choose to do this race? The main reason is that when I first read about it, it seemed so completely unlike me, and no one would really believe I did it. It looked hard, but kind of goofy. It looked like nothing I would ever do–which is exactly why I signed up. I wanted to test my limits, to know my capabilities. And honestly, part of me wanted to shock people. I’m pretty sure I accomplished all that, having shocked myself more than anyone. I’m shocked that it was so hard. I’m shocked that I stuck with it. I’m shocked that I swam through the mud pit and didn’t even care.

Two days later, I still hurt. Everywhere. I can barely turn up the radio in my car. Lifting my coffee cup is a Herculean feat. But I did it, and I’m proud. I love the remaining physical vestiges of the craziest frickin’ day of my life. The soreness reminds me that I tested my limits and broke through them. It makes me wonder what I can accomplish if I apply the same take-no-prisoners attitude to my career, my household, my everyday life. Would I do it again? Heck, yeah. I’m a warrior now.