Yep! It’s the time! The Tough Mudder post has finally come! I know it’s what you have all been waiting for!
Earlier this week I had a whole ton of ideas of how I wanted to write this post, what I wanted to write about and even had little phrases that I wanted to include. Annnnnnd then I forgot it all. So! Instead, I’ll do my best to include things that I originally wanted to include, but for the most part, you’re just going to have to sit and read about our whole day of sheer exhaustion. Yay for you!
Let’s start from the beginning, shall we? **Warning: This has potential to be the LONGEST POST EVER**
It all started at the end of January when Brad was watching a video on YouTube and an ad came on for Tough Mudder. He was, as any guy would be, so into it. He called me into the library and showed it to me. My reaction? I laughed. And why the hell would anyone want to do that? He said something about us doing it and I laughed again. Because again… Why the hell would anyone want to do that? So I walked out of the room and as I did the idea of doing a Tough Mudder completely escaped my brain. But within an hour I was thinking about it again. I kept asking myself why would anyone want to do that? There were some girls but not a whole lot, but it looked so hard. There was a whole training program to it and what do you know? There was one in Indiana in June. Hhhmmmm… so I let it go for a little bit, but by the end of the day, when we were sitting at a bar eating some fattening dinner and drinking beer, I opened my mouth (I can’t remember exactly what I said, but went something like it):
Me: “Hey… remember that Tough Mudder video you showed me this morning?”
Me: “Uhhhh maybe we should do it. I need to get my ass into shape since I gained a whole bunch of weight and I feel like this would be perfect.”
Brad: “Yea, I think this would be a great way to do that. You’re not fat though. But I think it would be really fun and really good for us.”
And for the most part… that was it. And so either that night or the next morning, we paid our $150 each, printed out the exercise routine they had, taped it to the wall in our workout room and welll… got to work.
For the most part, we did weight training every other day (most weekends we took off, let’s be honest) and ran (oh god, the running) on the other days. May I just state this early: I’M NOT A RUNNER. I HATE RUNNING. Ok, phew, I feel so much better now. In the beginning we ran like 2 blocks then walked like 2 blocks. I was horribly out of shape and didn’t have a positive “let’s go for a run!” mindset…. actually, I never really got that mindset. I will always just dread running.
Anyway, eventually we were running down all of Main Street here in Speedway (which is technically 6 blocks, but it feels so much longer than that) and that was quite an accomplishment. By the end we were running about 4 miles with a few walking breaks. I started off with 5 pound weights and moved to 10 pounders, which again, with some of the moves you have to do, 10 pounds is pretty freaking good for me. I started to drop some weight and gain some muscles. I caught a nasty cold somewhere in there and wound up with food poisoning as well and the whole month of May really set me back with, well, Brad being out of town and the race and all… but whatever.
Fast forward to Saturday morning at 5AM. The damn alarm clock goes off and instantly my stomach was in knots. I couldn’t stop thinking about everything that was ahead of me that day. (Hey, did I ever mention that I’m a little dramatic??) There was going to be running, ice water, heights, monkey bars, barbed wire, electric wires that shock you, 12 foot walls, mud… oh there was going to be SO much mud… and everything else. I couldn’t help but constantly wonder in my head if I was ready. Was I? I mean, we trained, but did I always give it my all? I guess I was going to find out!
As we drove the hour and fifteen minutes up to the Badlands I tried to not think too hard about what kind of pain and exhaustion I was going to go through. Instead, I tried to let my mind drift and think about how proud I was that we were even driving up there and that we were going to participate in this silly, crazy event. Other participants started to pass us on the highway, I could tell they were participants because of the stickers on their car, or the fact that they were wearing headbands or I could see all the extra towels and clothes shoved up against the windows. At that point, I was getting excited. Really excited. All these people were driving from (apparently) all over the Midwest to take part in this event and we were too. The knots slowly started to untwist and I was starting to get a little amped up at that point. Only, my heart wouldn’t stop racing…
We pulled up, parked our car, got all our stuff in our bag and walked up to see “The Base” which is as you would expect, where everything was. Holy shit this was real. And holy shit, this was really organized! We got our bibs, got our numbers written across our foreheads and arms, stuck our wristbands on and went for a lap around the tents. We bought a couple t-shirts and a sticker and stood in the longest bathroom line I think I have ever seen. We got our shoes taped up, drank a bunch of water and got all stretched out. And then somehow, it was go time.
Let me say that whoever the guy is (in the blue shirt) that gives you the speech before you start is the coolest guy ever. And I would love to steal his job. I would love to spend all day encouraging people and helping people feel more at ease with what’s about to come. We swayed our hands, we took a knee, we yelled out some chants, we were warned of how difficult the day will be, we listened to the National Anthem and we took our pledge. And then we counted down from 10 and we were off. Off for about a mile run (yuck).
About 1/4 of the way through the whole thing I couldn’t believe how tired I was. I was confused too. I had spent all this time training and I was still tired?? COME ON!! The running killed me. It wasn’t just running on pavement like we had been doing. It was running through the woods, with rugged terrain, little hills, big hills, giant hills with fine gravel that you sunk in or slick mud that you just slipped all the way down in. And they wore.me.out. Completely. So much that I made Brad walk with me the entire rest of the course. I just couldn’t handle the running.
But! I could handle the obstacles! I am proud to say that I tried everything. And really, I couldn’t complete only THREE obstacles (out of 25)!! The Berlin Walls were harder than you would think. They were 12 foot straight up walls that you literally have to have 2 people help you get up. But once you flipped over to get down, if you’re arms can’t handle it, you’ll drop down every into for those 12 feet into gravel. Luckily, my arms only gave out once while going down, so I was ok. Those walls were at 3 different parts of the course. And they took everything out of you. But I am so thankful for all those guys (including Brad) that helped me get my ass up there!
The Arctic Enema (a dumpster filled with ice water, no literally, ice water and a wooden wall in the middle that forces you to go underwater) was a little underrated in my book. It literally takes your breath away. I couldn’t breath. And my legs wouldn’t work. But lucky for me, Brad was able to hoist me out of there while another guy pulled me up. Did I mention that the whole theme of this thing is TEAMWORK!?
We ran, crawled, walked and pulled our feet out of more mud than I have ever seen. It blew my mind how it sucks you right in. Thank goodness we taped our shoes up! The mud was actually fun though! I never once complained about getting dirty (at least I don’t think I did). At times it was hard to get through the mud and up some of the muddy little hills, but all you needed was someone to pull you up and there was someone always there to do that.
Let’s see, there was a GIANT water slide that I didn’t know about, it was pretty cool though. The Walk The Plank was crazy. That’s where you jump off a platform some like 20 feet from the water. I got scared when we got up there, but Brad grabbed my hand and we jumped together. That helped a lot. There were tunnels that I was worried about, but the ended up being super easy and not even close to being as scary as I thought they would be. Crawling under the barbed wire was a little hard, but thank goodness we had been doing planks! The balance beams were hard and I screwed myself on the length of my steps. But that’s ok. I fell in the water and got right out! The monkey bars were hard because they were so slick, I made it about 3 in and was done. But I tried! Brad made it across all of them! Running through fire was a breeze (wait, there really was a breeze for that part! haha). Climbing the rope net was only hard because my whole body felt like rubber. But it was really even that bad. Running (ok, walking) through the creek and swamp was fun. I liked those parts.
When we got to Everest (the quarter pipe that you run up), it was the second to last obstacle. And when we got up there, I was shaking my head and telling Brad that I just wasn’t going to do it. I was so tired and I felt like nothing in my body worked. We got in line though, and he ran right up there and got pulled up by a couple guys. Then I was by myself. A couple girls went before me and weren’t able to get up to the top. They just slid down. I started to move around to see if I could find an easy way to get around the thing without everyone noticing, but there really wasn’t. No one would have made fun of me, but I just felt bad that I wasn’t going to do it. But then something hit me. Wait… I paid all this money and spent all this freaking time training and I’m going to skip an obstacle?? No. Plus, I couldn’t be any worse than those girls that went before me. So I got back in line, pointed to the two guys that I elected to help me and started running. I ran right up and was shocked when my hands met theirs. Holy cow! I made it pretty high up there! The guy on my left told me to lift my leg. He grabbed it, Brad grabbed my left hand and another guy had my right. They all pulled me up and when I stood up I almost couldn’t believe what I had just done. I screamed “I DID IT” probably 6 times, yelled “thank you” to the guys that helped and climbed down the other side. All that came out of my mouth was “I DID IT!!!!” for the next 4 minutes.
And then there were the wires. There was an obstacle with the wires earlier on and I got shocked pretty good by one so I was a little freaked out to run through them again. For the record, these weren’t little baby shocks, these were 10,000 volt shocks that go through your whole body. They didn’t feel good. I ran about 1/3 of the way through, got zapped and froze. And then I heard a ton of people yell “KEEP GOING!! KEEP GOING!!” and so I did. I tucked my arms in, lowered my head and ran like I was running for some donuts. No, I’m kidding. Donuts would have been gross at that point. I just ran really fast.
Brad was waiting for me at the end of the wires. He grabbed my hand and we ran across the finish line like that. Me crying, him laughing, but holding hands. They threw a headband on my head, shoved a thing of deodorant in my hand and guided us to pick up a Clif Bar, a t-shirt and a beer. And that was it. We finished! We finished a 12 mile course with 25 ridiculous obstacles. Something I would have never imagined I would do in my entire life.
I’ve been on and off beating myself up about our sucky time (even though they have no clock to keep your time because your time doesn’t matter) and the fact that I walked the whole thing. I swore about 30 times throughout the course that I would never do this again, but I can’t help but think… I can do so much better than what I did. And so what are we doing? Well… I think we are going to do it again.
I’ve been reminding myself that not everyone finishes and most of all, not everyone TRIES to do this. Some people would laugh at the idea of completing a Tough Mudder. Much like what I did when Brad first told me about it. There’s a reason though for why they call it a Tough Mudder. Oh yea.. because it’s freaking TOUGH. It’s physically and mentally draining. When you don’t think you can move another 10 feet, an obstacle pops up, or you see a mile marker for mile 8 (really? There’s FOUR more miles!?). It’s not something for everyone and to be honest, I wouldn’t have thought it was for me. But I did it! I finished it and quitting was never an option. I tried everything, which was my ultimate goal and I FINISHED it. There were scary parts, there were hard parts, there were parts where I thought I had literally lost my mind, but I did it. And I will forever cherish my bright orange Tough Mudder headband. And I’ll never ever let anyone, not even myself, take what I did away from me. Because I did it. No one did it for me. And Brad and I did it together. We trained together, we started together and we finished together. Let me repeat that… we FINISHED together!
Now we just have to decide when to do it again. . .