(This was written/posted originally in May 2017.)
People get into the monotonous motions of life and get comfortable and just stop experiencing new things. There isn’t anything wrong with having a comfortable life, that’s not what I’m saying. But when was the last time you did something for the first time?
I can talk about the Tough Mudder for hours. Just ask my friends. It’s a little funny because there is a joke about how you can tell that someone has completed a marathon… Do you know how? Well, you don’t have to worry about knowing how because they’ll tell you.
You know how you can tell if someone has completed a Tough Mudder? Because they’ll encourage you to do the next one with them.
I will never say that the Tough Mudder is easy. It’s not. It’s called a challenge for a reason.
And even though it isn’t easy, I believe that anyone can complete it with effort, determination, and a good attitude.
Things I learned during training for and completing Tough Mudders:
- One of the most important things that I acknowledged when training for my first Mudder is that I would struggle with the distance. Y’all, I HATE running. It is not my forte and I have accepted this. That being said, I continue to work on it. What you need to know about the Mudder is that you can walk the whole 10-12 miles and no one will say a word about it. All you have to do is just keep moving.
- It’s really important to know your strengths. I can carry and lift heavy things all day, as long as we are not talking about lifting my own body, using only my upper body… Looking at you, Skid-Marked. But you get me in the Mud Mile and I can pretty much throw people over those humps and into the next trench.
- The good news is that not every obstacle is like Electro Shock Therapy or Funky Monkey. Some are simpler things like Hero Carry, which is pretty much giving/receiving a piggy back ride, or Log Carry, which is self explanatory.
- Sometimes you don’t complete the obstacle on the first try, or second, or third… Or the fourth. Or the ninth. And that’s okay. And walking around isn’t the end of the world, especially if you gave it your all every time you tried. I’m a firm believer in trying at least three times. Mostly because I made it over Mt. Everest 2.0 on my third try last year.
- Talking about trying multiple times… When fellow Mudders see you struggling they will offer you hand. Believe me, this will happen. And it will happen often. Because Tough Mudder isn’t a race… Unless you signed up for Tougher/Toughest Mudder on accident, and in that case, good luck and God speed. Mudders love two things: Mud, duh. And to see other Mudders succeed.
- Since we are on the subject of help, offer a hand when possible. But referring to #2, know your strengths and where you will be the most helpful. I know that I wouldn’t be a lot of help at the top of Berlin Walls or leaning over the edge of Mt. Everest. But I am really good at giving a lift up from the bottom and I enjoy the chance to keep the block spinning in Blockness and getting others over it.
- When you pack your bag, remember this is it until you get back to your house/hotel/trailer/campsite. Don’t feel bad about carrying a duffel through Mudder Village. My bag the first year was one of those drawstring top bags and pretty much only had a towel and change of clothes in it. My bag my second year had two towels, a box of baby wipes, a change of clothes, a box of small and scented trashbags, a change of shoes, extra socks, a whole toiletry kit, sunscreen, and Noah Galloway’s book.
- There is practical advice here too. What to wear: From the bottom: Trail running shoes that fit properly. To the middle: Compression pants and a moisture-wicking shirt; cotton is the enemy and you don’t want to be trying to keep water-logged pants pulled up. And on top: If you are worried about the sun, wear a hat or bandanna that you won’t be mad about maybe losing.
- I really think the most important advice I can finish with is this: Do it. Sign up for it and do it.