So, You Wanna Do A Tough Mudder?
So, What exactly is Tough Mudder?
Tough Mudder, eh? Hmm, where do I even start? It’s a 20km (12.5 miles)
racechallenge with military style obstacles throughout it.
Or, in the words of the website, “Tough Mudder events are hardcore 20 km-long obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. With the most innovative courses and half a million inspiring participants.”
How/When/Why did you sign up?
After having lunch with my two cousins (through marriage) ages ago (third day in Australia!) and hearing all about it, it didn’t take much to convince me.
I loved the idea of the “team effort” and “camaraderie” that Tough Mudder represents. It has a ‘no man left behind’ attitude, which I loved.
Also, I had no friends when I came to Australia, and doing TM meant obvious friends (WIN!), as well as a goal to work towards (always good). I never blogged about it because I was SO TERRIFIED of failing at it.
Did you have to train hard?
No. And yes.
There are two portions to TM: running and upper body strength. I trained for the running portion - having run 16k last weekend, and I’m up to date for my July 1st marathon schedule, but the upper body strength? not so much.
I’m actually incredibly weak when it comes to my arms and core, which was a big reason why I started swimming last month. But when it came down to it, I didn’t go to the gym and lift weights like I should have/ wanted to (truly because I am too self conscious to go to my gym - but that’s a story for another post), which meant no, no I hardly trained for the obstacle portion.
Was it hard?
Just as expected the running wasn’t too bad (lots of breaks throughout the 20k course with lineups and water stations), but the obstacles? My God some of the obstacles… they were hard. There is absolutely no way I could have done some of the obstacles without my AMAZING team members.
What were some of the obstacles?
There were 28 obstacles total. Some were okay (running through tires), and some were not. Here the ones I remember, but I swear I may have blocked out some of the really hard/horrible ones:
Berlin Walls: There were a total of six Berlin Walls. Each one increased in size throughout the course. (If you click on the link there, that is the first one - the smallest one.) The walls were the thing I was most scared of (hello tubby girl getting over a wall? I don’t think so), but they weren’t actually that bad- due to the support around me (my team and others), of course. My hands got really hurt heaving myself up though - huge bruises still on my hands from this.
But trust me, you could have got over the walls too - everyone helped/boosted/lifted/pulled everyone else.
The Electric Eel: Yup, it’s as awful as it sounds. It was a big thing of *freezing* ice you had to go into - and put your whole head under the middle part due to the barbed wire in the middle. I wasn’t scared of this, but my God I should have been, it was soooooo horrible!! The feeling of the ice-cold water hitting my system completely winded me. I nearly panicked and called for help. This is the event that makes me not ever want to do TM again…
Walk The Plank: A 5 meter jump into the ocean. I wasn’t scared of this one (no fear of heights or water), but once I got up there it felt SO HIGH. Also, swimming in running shoes was really hard - it felt like my shoes weighed a ton!
Cliffhanger: A really muddy slide, which sounds fun, but the speed you get and with all the people going around you it wasn’t as fun as advertised.
Greased Lightning: My whole team agreed this was physically the hardest challenge. It looked easy; get your team up a muddy hill, but because of how slippery it was, it took your entire body strength and them some to get up the hill. We were stuck on this obstacle for at least 1/2 an hour.
Firewalker: Despite this obstacle obviously having fire in it I wasn’t that scared of it. C’mon there is no way they’d let people get burnt… right? I should have been scared of it. You run between smoke and holy hell the smoke. I gained an even greater respect for firefighters after this obstacle. The white smoke blinded me and I could not breath. A firefighter had to escort me out - there were tears and I nearly bailed right after.
Everest: This obstacle was INSANELY hard. It was half a half pipe. The goal? get to the top. Add mud and water being sprayed over everyone and the half pipe became nearly impossible. This is the only obstacle I didn’t do - physically there is no way I could have, but I will admit not doing it makes me wanna do TM again next year to tackle it!
Electroshock Therapy: This was the final event. The photo explains it best - but what we had to do was run over mud and hay bails with lots of electric zapper things around you. A cord wrapped itself around my neck and zapped me (ya… I know). A lot of the obstacles actually had a electric shocks in them - I got zapped at least ten times throughout the day.
Could I do one?
Personally I don’t think someone could do it if they hadn’t touched a gym or running shoes in years, but this event is not about extreme fitness; it’s about team work and helping people out, so yes, I think the average person could struggle through it assuming they have have a great team to do it with them. And you guys, it’s seriously SO. MUCH. FUN. so sign up!!
The distance between obstacles varied from a few meters to 3km.
I (and most people) wore simple running stuff, but if I could do it again I’d wear running pants that covered my knees and bring gloves with me (which they do recommend). Also, make sure you wear old running shoes because holy hell there is lots of mud.
It took my team start to beer in our hands 5 hours. But note that was with a lot of lining up for obstacles. One of our friends did the event on Sunday and came 4th overall. He did it in 1h 40 minutes, but then again he’s 6’4” and is in the Oz air force (think Top Gun), and works out like it’s his job. He qualified for the Word’s Toughest Tough Mudder event; a 24 hour event that takes the top 5% of Tough Mudders and has them compete - insane/incredible!
On that note I should also say how impressed I was with some people’s fitness levels, like whoa. People are incredible. Watching the strength of some of the guys and girls there blew my mined. Oh, and the ratio I feel was about 9 guys to 1 girl… so girls - go do it! :)
Is there one near you? Probably! It’s a huge event that is now world wide - check out all their locations and dates here! And if you have more questions ask away in the comments! :)
All my photos are posted on Picasa, but here my favs!
not only is that barbed wire above us, but it’s also electric
The 8 of us rented a beach house for the weekend - this was our well deserved steak dinner.
The night ended up getting incredibly messy after playing kings (seriously - the “boxhead" card is genius) and then beer pong. I got the last King Card which resulted in a very-very-very drunk call to Matt (Dear Matt, I’m sorry I’m not sorry).