You hear a lot about mud runs like Spartan Races and Tough Mudders, mostly about how crazy you have to be to do one. Now I’m a rather fit looking individual, that does not mean I am in great shape however. Stairs and I have a not so friendly toleration of each other. When my friend suggested we do a mudder this year, I agreed but was pretty resigned to dying on that course. If there wasn’t that really cold beer at the end of the 11.6 mile, 2,000ft elevation change route, I probably would have.
However, let me tell you about that feeling you get halfway stumbling under that Finish arch and getting that silly orange sweat band put over your sweaty, muddy head; especially since you’re still recovering from the electroshock therapy obstacle 10 feet away. I have never felt so accomplished in my life. There’s the accomplishment of writing a 12 page paper on Arthurian Myth and impressing your tenured professor but this is a little bit different – little bit. I’ve never pushed my body the way I did that day and it actually still liked me the next day, thanks body! Being healthy and strong is a pretty awesome feeling and one that I want to feel again and again.
I am lucky enough that the university gym is part of my semester fees and I get access to it almost any time I want. Mudder found me exhausted and weak, but next year I plan on overcoming all the obstacles – or at least attempting to – and still finish in a better time. 5.5 hours is a long time to be on a course and I want to beat that time because it means more beer at the end. Oh the things I will do for a free beer!
If that feeling I’m describing doesn’t seem like enough to pay $100 and beat yourself into the ground, let me tell you about the people! I’ve seen a lot of people come together at different times in my life. Tough Mudder was no exception, they actually stood out above the rest. Many runners are solitary achievers, we have our own personal goals to beat and others have theirs, we can help motivate but it’s our own battles. Yet when a group of random strangers picks your butt up and carries you to the side of the course when you cannot and then proceed to help work out charlie horses in both your legs, that’s powerful. The entire mass of mudders, the nation or legion they call it, are a single team. They will haul your butt up a wall when your arms give out or pour all their water into your eye to remove the mud when the next station is over 2 miles out. I bet if I did keel over on that course, someone would be there making sure I crawled or rolled into the outstretched hands of that headband holder.
That my friends, is what Tough Mudder is. And that is why I got done with one and needed to sign up for next year’s within the same day. I will get stronger, not just for my personal benefit, but for the people who also helped out when they didn’t have to. Tough Mudder is an addiction, one that I welcome even more than coffee; which is saying a whole awful lot. Probably a cheaper habit than my caffeine habits….hmm.