Dirt in your skirt blog

Day 128… Tough

Posted on October 14, 2011 by Margaret Schlachter

This post has been one brewing for a long time, maybe it finally came to the surface after the past weekend I have had. Maybe it has something to do with a certain races title I may have coming up in December. Maybe, it has to do with another event I have done which proclaims finishers by this word, maybe it is none of these reasons. Maybe I am just tired and need more sleep.

Recently the word “tough” seems to have crept into many of the activities I do, I am GoRuck Tough, I am a Tough Mudder, I am doing World’s Toughest Mudder, Hang Tough, Tough as Nails, Tough it Out, Tough, Tough and more Tough. Tough seems to be all around me these days, as it becomes more and more prevalent in my life the more I question it’s relevance and meaning.

The dictionary describes “tough” as:
tough |təf|adjective(of a substance or objectstrong enough to withstand adverse conditions or rough or careless handling • (of a person or animal) able to endure hardship or pain; physically robust • demonstrating a strict and uncompromising attitude or approach involving considerable difficulty or hardship; requiring great determination or effort • used to express sympathy with someone in an unpleasant or difficult situation • [often as exclam. used to express a lack of sympathy with someone:

As I have gotten deeper into the world alternative sports I find people constantly people talking about how “tough” they are. I admit I use to think I was pretty tough, yes I thought finishing some of these races made me the definition of tough. As I have grown back into an athlete again I find this word makes me grimace. The more I hear people talk about how “tough” they are the more it makes my skin crawl. Maybe I have become jaded to the word, or maybe just maybe I have realized for as “tough’ as you think you may be someone out there is always “tougher” than you.

No, I think in the end the word tough as many people use it can really be replaced with stubborn. Because really stubbornness is what it is all about. When you show up at a race where everyone is trained it is the most stubborn, that will to be the last one standing, out dog the last dog and make it to the finish first. It is the one who turns off all the BS in their head, looks the other way when pain tries to engulf the brain. Stubborn, some might even say stupid is the person who will continue in a race after everything is saying it’s time to stop.

To me “tough” doesn’t exist it just doesn’t. Tough is surviving cancer or some other life threatening disease, losing a loved one and continue carry on with life each day knowing they are not around, those things are tough. Racing some of these races might be difficult, taxing, challenging and force you to go to places you didn’t know existed but it doesn’t make you tough, it makes you a competitor.

If you want to show how “tough” you are, stop talking about it, please! Just go out there put in the work day after day and if you do it long enough and put in the hours you will no longer have to talk about how “tough” you are. Your actions will radiate and words will no longer need to be spoken, the “toughest” people I know never utter such a word, they don’t need to they have transcended it.