Wow! What a fantastic day!
I don’t know where to start to describe my experience at Tough Mudder. I could begin with the parking and end with the showers, or I could just start yabbering about how tough I am because I survived an electric shock. Maybe I will start with my fails.
I failed to complete the Funky Monkey – an incline overhand monkey bar.
I got half way, was going strong and then suddenly ran out of puff. Where the bars had been equidistant, suddenly the next one along seemed to be longer than my arm span. My hands wouldn’t move to the next rung, and I was stuck. Kicking and struggling to wake myself up out of this paralysis, I slowly became aware that my fingers had started to uncurl and I was falling into the water below.
Then there was ‘Walk the Plank’ – a jump from a 15 foot platform into water. Fine. Fine for anyone who isn’t petrified of heights. I climbed up, confident, and was prepared to jump straight in. But then a guy in front f me looked back and asked “does anyone else want to go first”, and my resolve melted.
It took me several minutes to jump out. My body resisted, even when I tried to make my mind go blank. I ended up holding hands with my team mate who was also just as scared as me, and we counted to 3… and nothing happened. We did it again, and suddenly were falling into the cool refreshing water.
The Arctic Enema wasn’t really a #fail, but it was incredibly challenging! We jumped into a dumpster full of ice and waded to the other end. First the first half, I was literally thinking “oh this is EASY”. Here is a still from the video I took… right at the moment my breathing starts to become panicked. The video ends with me screaming “f***” over and over, and just generally like the dubbing track for a badly made porno.
Right near the end, my legs started to freeze and cramp. Even after I had scampered out of the water, I was in agony while I willed myself to move my legs instead of curling up into a ball of pain.
There were a number of obstacles that were HEAPS of fun. Crawling through a muddy underground trench, clambering over muddy hillocks and in muddy furrows, and jogging, jogging, jogging through the heat, over hills and along raceways.
There was a bit of frisson along the way when one or 2 of us wanted to go faster (note – it usually wasn’t me). But we held the team together, and ran hand in hand across the finish. That is such a great memory.
Afterwards we drank our free beer (even though it was VB) and it tasted good. We hung around in the sun for … no idea how long. Then ventured into the “showers” – garden hoses suspended from a rig in the ceiling of an open-sided shed. I tried to just wash my clothes, but ended up taking them all off. I stripped down to the undies and even then, every time I brought the hose over them, more mud streamed out.
Heading barefoot back to the card was a supplemental challenge: HOT asphalt and then BINDIES. Now, I survived electrocution, but being stuck in a bindi patch had me squealing for someone to come and rescue me.
Then there was pizza. A LOT of pizza. And more beer.
And THEN there was a visit to San Churro where I spoon-fed myself a glass of gloopy chocolate sauce they were calling a ‘drink’.
The first thing I thought on finishing Tough Mudder was “maybe we can come back tomorrow”. I enjoyed myself so thoroughly. I remember remarking over and over again “wow this is awesome!” and “this is SO MUCH FUN”. I’m sure my team mates wanted to gag me, but happily they didn’t!
That night, however, I started to fog up. The next day was pretty lazy. We went to a children’s party and I ate ate ate aaaaaallll the lollies. For about 3 days it felt as though my appetite for sweets and calorie-dense foods would never go away. Heck I even ate Twisties!
I also felt very down and depressed. As though I had hit a wall, and possibly my life of fitness was over and I would never ever run again. I went to the gym and felt like I wasted my time. After Monday’s workout, I re-packed my bag because I didn’t even get sweat on my clothes.
Not much cheered me up – not even being hit on at the train station (by an unusually young and attractive bloke this time!). That usually works wonders for my self esteem. I spoke to one of my team mates and she reported the same kind of feeling – general grumpiness and hunger. At least that put me in the range of ‘normal response to physical challenge’. I would just have to ride it out.
I bucked up, took it all in stride and tried not to snap at people. It wasn’t their fault that I was constantly looking for a way to sneak off and have a nap with a chocolate bar in my mouth.
8 Days Later
I am finally waking up by myself (and not sleeping through multiple alarms). My food willpower is returning – chocolate-covered cows are once again safe to wander around me without molestation.
I loved doing Tough Mudder. It was fun, it was sporty, unusual and a great day out. I love the focus on teamwork – that really got us through it. Its a great approach to sport and life in general. If you are thinking about it, GO FOR IT. This one experience has taught me heaps about how teams are formed, and about my own personal limits, and how I can rely on my team to help me overcome them.
Was it worth it?
Cost-wise, the Tough Mudder might seem pricey. However, I would easily spend the entry fee on a nice day out. And I had a nice day out! And a t-shirt! I got months of entertainment out of Tough Mudder. Preparing for it mentally and physically. Gathering with the team to do weekly bootcamp and practise our leadership/teamwork skills. Laying awake wondering whether I would be equal to the challenge. Lying in the twilight of consciousness after I had proved myself equal – my mind between the satisfaction of completing the course, the highlight reel of memories and the dull ache in my legs.
Was it worth it?