It was the end of the year and I was feeling like a stuffed turkey. My clothes hardly fit and my energy levels were running low. I knew something had to change. I’ve always worked out, but with all of the eating and drinking through the holidays – I was struggling.
My trainer and I decided to do Tough Mudder, one of the more difficult obstacle races We knew it would get me in better shape, and it offered the opportunity to raise proceeds for the Wounded Worrier Project.
I had seen the event promoted on Facebook and started to do a little research. I went to the website and talked with a friend who had recently run it. Tough Mudder is a 10-12 mile run with 22 military style obstacles throughout the course. You are covered in mud and dripping wet from start to finish. We picked the Atlanta event happening the last weekend in April, giving us a solid four months to prepare. I stepped up my training and was in the gym 3-4 days a week before 6am. I worked on all areas but focused on upper body and running. About 3 weeks prior to the event, I stopped drinking and really ate healthy. I was certain I was ready.
Then the big weekend came and I was a little nervous. There were five people on our team,all with their own reasons to run. We flew in Friday afternoon and checked into the hotel. We thought the best way to get prepared for the next day was a light dinner and a nice relaxing night at the movies.
Walking to the theater I spotted a Maggiano’s. I convinced the crew that we should just stop in and eat there. I knew that they would have healthy options and thought I could fight the temptations. An hour and a half later we came out of there barely able to walk with bags of to go food! We waddled back to the hotel and decided to rent a movie instead….while laying in bed eating our take home deserts.
We all got up early, did some serious stretching and put down a good breakfast. The event was about an hour drive from the hotel, but it gave us all a chance to come up with a strategy. We talked about the obstacles we feared the most and how we would stay together working as a team. We arrived at the location and I suddenly realized that this was real and that it was too late to turn back. There were hundreds of people all getting pumped up and the energy levels were high. The course was set up on a farm and I could see right away that there was going to be a lot of hilly trail running. We got checked in and headed to the starting line. We were the first group to hit the course and it was intense. There is a guy standing over the crowd with a microphone getting you all psyched up. There is smoke and lots of loud music coming from the huge stage. Then the gun fires and off you go running into the woods.
The course took us about 2 1/2 hours to complete. It was hard, but we did it. The obstacle that I would like to never see again was the Arctic Enema. You jump into a large dumpster full of ice water (mostly ice) and wade through to the other side. There is a board half way through that you must go underwater to pass. The water is 34 degrees and they are constantly shoveling in more ice. When you climb out the other side, your body completely locks up and the pain is unmanageable. I would rather light myself on fire then to jump back into that ice pool. The other obstacle that gave me the most trouble was “Electro Therapy”. Not being a big fan of being electrocuted, I tried to skip that one, but one of my meathead friends wasn’t having it and threatened to drag me though if I didn’t “Man Up” and do it on my own.
All the obstacles were tough and the 11 mile hilly trail run almost killed me, but the experience was worth the pain. I can honestly say that if I didn’t have an Army Captain, a Marine and a personal trainer on my team, I might not have pushed my way through the entire course.
Tough Mudder is coming to St. Louis this October and I will probably run it again. My one bit of advice to anyone embarking on such an event – train, train and train!
Thank you Tony, Jerome, Jeff and Lori for the great time.