I’m not sure where to start this story! (Happens all the time.)
Last year? When I watched my husband do his first Tough Mudder obstacle course – when I decided, maybe, since it was coming to Buffalo in 2013, I’d do it, too?
With the Dirty Girl Mud Run I did last year? (The post is here.)
In April, when I wrapped up my ECC course and decided I could add running to my schedule without going nuts?
Or 11.5 years ago, when my first post-partum hemorrhage started my body and my health on a slow slide toward fatigue and chronic pain, so you will know this isn’t entirely about me being a badass? That it’s about getting strong again and reclaiming my self, my power? For so long, I felt like one more setback might actually break something important.
The Tough Mudder is an 11.5 mile obstacle course designed along the same lines as the one done by the British Special Forces during training. Or something like that. You can read all about it here. What it means to me is mud, fire, electric shocks, ice-cold water, and running farther than I have ever run in my life. But I paid my money. I trained. (Well, sort of. My husband said if I could run 4 miles without stopping, I’d survive. I could run 5 by the day of the event.) It dawned cool and rainy. We drove to the site which looked like this: mud.
What was I thinking? I’m glad the sun isn’t out so we don’t get a sunburn. Running that far is going to be brutal, but I’m going to do it. That Cage Crawl looks like a mindfuck. Don’t think about it. There is no way I can do the Funky Monkey bars without falling into the mud pool. Not enough upper body strength. Chicken out or do it? Do it. Walk the plank? I haven’t willingly jumped into water in a decade. 20 foot drop. Shit. Do it. Arctic Enema. Hell on earth. I hate being cold, can’t even think about it. Gonna do it. Mt. Everest. Nobody can lift me up for that one. What if…
So, yeah, we got our numbers pinned on, written on our heads, arms, and we went over the wall into the “whipping up” pen – the holding tank where one of the most inspirational speakers on earth got us ready to run. The National Anthem. And then we were jogging. In mud, rocks, mud puddles, and more rocks. Slow going. First obstacles were 15-foot inclined wood walls. My husband, Ben, lifted and Mark, our other teammate, boosted, and I dropped down the other side. Done.
It was good to have two strong guys on my team, guys who would never, ever, leave me behind. This was Ben’s third Mudder, and Mark has run several marathons. I wasn’t worried about them having trouble. I was free to obsess on my own bumps, bruises, burning lungs, 400-pound legs, etc. I kept jogging. Next obstacle was that 20-foot drop into a deep, muddy swimming pool. I’d read Don’t think about it or you won’t do it. Just jump. My husband asked me if I wanted to go first…so I jumped.
It’s not a good idea to scream before you hit water.
But at least my glasses were clean now. I did it!
Honestly, the smaller obstacles and first few miles were just bumps on the road on the way to the obstacles I feared…like the Funky Monkey bars. Which were closed! I was secretly thrilled even though the guys were bummed. Who likes failure? The bars spanned the length of an average-sized yard and they were peaked. Up one side. Down the other. There was not a doubt in my mind I would fall. We ended up getting rerouted and making our way back to the monkey bars later, when I was totally Zen from endorphins and having run at least double what I had ever run before. I did fall. And I screamed again. I felt muddy water go up my nose, and I spit it out my mouth when I broke the surface. Both of the guys made it across, and it was fun to watch them be so strong. I didn’t care about falling by that time. Lots of big brawny dudes fell, too. Those bars were slippery little suckers. (CLICK THE RED BOX BELOW TO READ TIL THE PAIN!) Continue reading “One Tough Mudder”