I did another #Tough #Mudder this past Saturday. My first one was in Indiana on June 16th. It was about 90 degrees that day. I had a team of six, me being the only girl. The guys were all late twenties except me and another guy who are 36 and 37 respectively. As a whole we looked pretty fit and bad ass. Our pre-run picture was worthy, it looked like a team who would finish with a smile.
My only goal for the that Mudder was to NOT be the weakest link. As long as I wasn’t holding the five other guys back, I didn’t care. And since the guys managed to drag my ass over all the walls, I wasn’t holding them behind because endurance-wise I was easily prepared. As far as strength went, well put it this way… I did Yoga for my training.
But let’s face it, except for the gynormic walls, the monkey bars and the swinging ropes, the Tough Mudder is more about pain tolerance and nerve. Dunking your body into an ice bath doesn’t take strength, it takes a serious set of balls.
My team last Saturday looked a little different. There was only four of us and it was bitterly cold.
My Husband: extremely fit, weight lifter, been biking for 5 months, runs 2-3 times a week but can’t go more than 5 miles without foot pain or shin pain. He had me concerned.
Me: #Run, #Bike, or #swim every day. Endurance is high, muscle strength (useful muscles anyway) is low. Extremely determined but feeling exceptionally fat and bloated at the moment.
Kris: Fit male of #Asian decent and undetermined age. He has been running with my run club for a few months and seems to be right on track as far as training goes. He does pull-ups at the park and is up to running eight miles no problem.
Hal: Hal is fifty-something. He is a good friend and been in my run club since it’s infancy; over five years. He has been known to run a marathon on four weeks training and yells out things like, “Pink Clitorous” without provocation when referring to a Ford Taurus. He hasn’t been running much lately and he hurt his back so bad 2 weeks ago that he needed assistance rising from his chair.
We looked like a gang that rides the short bus.
The beauty of dunking your already-shivering body under ice water is that the outside air actually feels warm when your body shoots back out gasping for air. When you start running again you feel suddenly alive…until you start getting cold again.
90% of nerve at the Tough Mudder is made possible through the herd mentality. When everyone around you is roaring like beasts, then diving under barbed wire into water surrounded by dangling electrical wires, it just seems like the right thing to do.
The first of us to show signs of pain was Kris. His hamstrings started cramping around mile six, making it nearly impossible for him to walk with straight legs. He wasn’t alone, at the top of every hill there were no fewer than 12 husky men laying on the ground rolling while grasping their legs (and whining like a bunch of sissys).
As we trudged on, he no longer looked Asian. With a metallic Mylar blanked wrapped over his head, his slumped over carriage, and a smear of grey mud on his lips and most of his face, he looked more like an old indian man walking the Trail of Tears.
Danny, my husband, surprised me. I assumed he would be the first to complain of pain. But instead he ran ahead in full force, yelling and cheering others on. He was the leader of our gang up until mile eight, when he suddenly seized up and began walking like a penguin.
Hal wavered. At first he had a hard time keeping up with us. He spent excessive time fumbling with his knee pads and rubber gloves. But he kept plugging away like a champ and in the end put us all to shame.
I was feeling fine endurance-wise. My body didn’t like the cold and it was shaken with bouts of shivering as the miles passed. Each water obstacle became harder and harder to do. I don’t think you could call me a complete sissy until about mile nine, when I did a face plant in the mud and nearly broke my nose. Grace has never been used to describe me but at the Mudder it wass even worse. For the last 3 miles I was conservative (read wimpy).
We approached Mount Everest, the mountain sized half-pipe that requires (for mere mortals anyway) someone on top to catch your flailing body to get you over it. My hyperthermic body ached as I stood in line, watching as people made half-assed efforts, slamming their bodies against the wood and ending up like Mr. Bill.
Hal made one good run for it before deciding without question he would not make a second. Kris, nearly dead at this point, made a single heroic dash at it and made it with the help of some bystanders. He put us all to shame with his bravery. Strong warrior.
We walked up to the finish line, which is on the other side of thousands of dangling live electrical wires and a pool of water/mud. We would have to run as fast as possible while getting shocked, scale a mud ditch and make our escape. Everyone did it with class, except me.
I ran hard, imagining the beer waiting for me on the other side. I took my shock with pride, scaled the mud bank then slipped backwards, slamming my body down with a thud and a bounce as the announcer said, “oh, that hurt.” (this photo is not of me btw, but it shows the situation so well I had to use it.)
And now, three days later, the pain is nearly gone. And yes, we are looking for the next Mudder we plan to attend. This time however, it will be during the summer. I’m not ready to get the tattoo yet, but I will say I have plenty of scars to prove my dedication. That gives me an idea for my next blog post. Do you care to see my scars? I bet mines bigger than yours is:)