Talking to my physical therapist last Friday we discussed the up coming Tough Mudder challenge that I had signed up for months before my accident. Should I run Tough Mudder or not? He looked at me like I was slightly crazy and I was wondering the same thing in my head. Later that night I was still conflicted as the first of two couples running the event with LO and I arrived at our house. We had a primal dinner and catching up it was great, but I still couldn’t make up my mind if I should run.
Then the next morning the second couple rang my door and promptly walked in with open beer bottles in hand. I can always count on them to make things interesting, with that my mind was made up and I opened a beer as well. I signed up for Tough Mudder as a fun thing to do with friends and I was not going to miss it. I did agree to bypass the obstacles that either I couldn’t or shouldn’t do and we piled in the powerstroke econoline en route to the Mudder!
We made good time taking back roads knowing traffic would be bad, but it all came to a halt about 2 miles before the event location. Then we spent the next hour crawling like a snake with our fellow mudders (and maybe a few unlucky residents). It felt like forever and we even discussed aborting early and jogging to the start. We decided to just carry on (which after the race seemed like the right decision), we were in good spirits a little longer in the van wasn’t torture! Being in the van for so long did require one of the team members to run out into the brush and keep this in mind. If your spotted by the slowly (very) passing cars while your taking care of things, just smile and wave back as she did! It’s only polite.
Now we’re at the Mudder and getting checked in, the excitement is growing. This event was massive, over 24,000 people signed up over the two-day weekend. It was fun to watch the pull up competition and you could even get your head shaved into a Mohawk just in case you needed some extra style for the challenge. There was so much going on prerace I’m sure I missed a lot. Our heat time was up and we gathered towards the start and braced ourselves, after all it is dubbed the toughest challenge out there.
I wont go step by step through the course but what I do want to go over is my feeling walking away from Tough Mudder. I’m glad I decided to run the race even if I had to bypass some of the obstacles. Is it the hardest physical thing I’ve done? It doesn’t even come close but with that said it was one of the most fun physical things I’ve done. Tough Mudder calls out that it’s not a race but a challenge and that’s for a reason. Most of the obstacle you need help concurring and it built such a comradery among the runners and not just the ones in your team. I had people I didn’t even know reaching out to pull me out of the mud soup ditch and over the berm. Then I turned around and did the exact same thing for the people behind me. It gave me such satisfaction, helping people achieve was more fun than me achieving.
In most races you want to beat the person your competing with. In Tough Mudder you want to see or help everyone around you complete the obstacle. If you saw a Mudder struggling you chant “Lets Go Mudder!” it was about helping raise them up to keep going, and whether they made it or not you would celebrate the effort! I was in pretty bad shape for this event but it didn’t matter that I was running slower than I normally do or that I couldn’t complete some of the obstacles that I knew before the injury would have been cake. What mattered is that I was there and I was giving it what I had and giving back what I could.
It’s a big event and it had logistical problems (traffic, parking, beer tent to small) but Tough Mudder won me over Saturday and I will be back next year to join my fellow Mudders for another day of sweat, team work, pain, laughs and memories.