Brisk mountain air fills Cody Peterson’s lungs as he scans the timber for elk. It’s his sixth bow season and he’s anxious to fill his limited entry tag after eating tag soup over the last few years. Bow in hand, his eyes dart across the sky, watching Vs of geese as he listens to bugles across the Utah canyon. Peterson is ready: the long-time athlete and marathoner has the endurance and strength necessary to pack out a monster bull and his freezer is waiting to be filled with wild game.
“I ended up being unsuccessful on that hunt,” says Peterson. “And I was super frustrated because I could hear bugles, but because of my hearing loss, I couldn’t tell which direction they were coming from.”
Peterson first noticed something was wrong with his hearing when he was twelve years old, but doctors didn’t seem concerned and he lived with the impairment for the last few decades. However, that frustrating bow season in 2019 was the catalyst to finally bring him to the door of an audiologist to be fitted for a hearing aid. But that appointment didn’t go according to plan. After a brief consultation, he found himself at a specialist who ordered an MRI immediately and then he headed to the ER.
“They found a tumor the size of a baseball behind my right ear,” says Peterson, who was whisked into emergency brain surgery that lasted 19 hours. “Thankfully they were able to remove the whole tumor.”
Peterson then faced an uphill battle to regain his physical strength and mobility. He had to rely upon his own mental toughness and sheer determination that not only brought him home within a month after surgery, but also resulted in his ability to tag out on a near-record mountain goat nine months later.
“I remember the doctor saying to me, you have three kids and if you don't recover from this, you’re not going to be able to play with them,” says Peterson. “And that was one of the main reasons why I wanted to get better.”
Peterson has always strived to be as strong as he can – for himself and for his family. This means pushing hard to reach goals that can seem unattainable at times like recovering from brain surgery in enough time to tackle the hilly terrain where mountain goats roam.
“I only wish I had discovered MTNTOUGH sooner.”
Why Cody Peterson is MTNTOUGH
Peterson found MTNTOUGH in 2021. He was searching for a new way to workout that would incorporate the routines he loved, but with more of a finite focus on getting mountain ready for bow season. Married with three kids, Peterson notes that, after his family, his biggest passions are hunting and fitness.
Peterson considers himself lucky to have not only survived life-threatening brain surgery, but to still be able to push himself to his limits doing what he loves. Last year, he climbed Kings Peak, the highest peak in Utah with an elevation of 13,528 feet, with his wife from top to bottom in one day, starting at 5 a.m. and ending at 11 p.m. He also ran a 50K and had bowhunting success during last year’s elk and deer seasons.
“I love how each MTNTOUGH program builds upon the next,” says Peterson. “The workouts really cater to getting me ready for the upcoming season. The more in shape you are, the better chance you have at success.”
This summer, he has registered to run a 50-mile ultramarathon. And he has plans to expand on the species he bowhunts as well as where he plans to do it.
“I really want to hunt bears and branch out to other states when I’m able,” says Peterson. “And fitness-wise, I want to complete a hundred-mile-ultra.”
While he acknowledges that sometimes he feels as if he’s living on borrowed time, he also knows that he plans to make the most of it doing what he loves and staying as strong and fit as he can so he is ready for anything.