My Muck Story: Nick from MuckFest Dallas
Nick has lived in Dallas since 2009 and been an active member of the OCR community since shortly after he moved to the Lone Star State. Though he initially did other mud runs and OCRs, his journey toward the MuckFest community began on a Sunday morning in March of 2016. He woke up feeling a little off and was numb from the neck down. That day, after six hours of multiple MRIs and CAT scans, his doctors came out to give him the news: He had MS.
Though it took him a while to feel like himself again, he found support from his family and friends, and found a new community with others he met that had MS. Then, he found MuckFest. Finally, his love of OCRs and his desire to support the MS community could be combined! A lifelong fitness journey had all led to that discovery, and to MuckFest. This is Nick’s MS story, in his own words.
Growing up I was never really into fitness, but I did stay active. I did four years of high school marching band each year on a different instrument (alto sax, marching cymbals, bass drum and snare drum) while joining the high school swim team in the off season.
Once I got to college, I auditioned and made a Drum Corps International group called the Carolina Crown, where I marched four summers on bass drum. Drum Corps is known as the “professional” competitive level of marching band so while it may not be considered a true “sport” it did keep me very active each summer. They say that marching a 10-minute show is like running 6 miles! And we did this at minimum every day all summer long. Once I got my undergraduate degree in biology from East Carolina University, my best friend Adam, who I met through Carolina Crown, wanted to move to Dallas. There was nothing holding me back, so I gladly told him I would make the change and call Dallas my home.
Trying to find a job and make ends meet made being active start to take a back seat without me even realizing it. Before I knew it, I gained a bit of weight and was getting antsy not knowing what to do with the little free time I did have. I decided enough was enough and I wanted to start running every morning.
Then, I started getting out and meeting people and along the way was asked to do 5K road races with different friend groups. I started looking into all types of Obstacle Course Races (OCRs) and came across the Spartan Race. Little did I know that I decided on and signed up for one of the most intense races that existed!
This brings me to 2016. My fiancé Nicola and I got a husky puppy late in 2015, knowing full well the amount of time and energy it took to keep them happy. We looked forward to having a reason to go on runs and walks every morning and every night. As you can imagine, after being told that I had MS and not knowing what that meant, there were a few weeks of feeling lost. Losing the sensation in my body through the fingertips and toes, not knowing when I had to go to the bathroom or if I was hungry, only really bothered me when I got home after the hospital stay and I couldn’t even feel my dog the way I used to. He was usually so soft and fluffy. It hit me then and there that I may never be the same again.
I had a huge support structure from my friends and family that I will never forget. They made it easy to keep my head up and keep working toward getting back to whatever my new normal would be. After about 6 weeks I could start to feel sensations at the end of my fingertips. It felt like a long process and losing all my dexterity and hand strength made it hard relearning even the most basic of things like buttoning up a shirt or simply writing with a pen and paper. But thankfully I regained most, if not all, of my strength and dexterity. I do believe I am very lucky in that regard.
It was around this time that I came across the MuckFest for Dallas and I was thrilled! It was my kind of event and the fact that it was benefiting MS (not to mention my favorite color has always been orange) I could not say no. So, I signed up and got a team put together with my friend Tim, who also has MS. The rest is history! I find MuckFest to be a great way to try out an OCR. The layout of the course between mud, water and obstacles is done very well. The event isn’t timed, so you can go at your own pace and you have the option of skipping an obstacle if it seems like too much (although there are always people helping others conquer their fears). Now, I have no desire to do another Spartan race. I have MuckFest!