Sunday, August 16

Tough Mudder 1

After last year’s Tough Mudder, we decided to go big this year and sign up for two Tough Mudders and a Warrior Dash. Knowing that there would be three mud runs on the calendar was a big motivator, and we both worked out throughout the past year with the goal of being even more prepared for this year’s events. Naturally, the TM people met our effort with efforts of their own – they revamped a slew of obstacles, making them twice as hard!

The Funky Monkey Obstacle (photo credit)
Our first TM this year was August 1st at a site we’ve done before and enjoyed, and we were delighted to get an early start time on the first day of the (two-day) event. The earlier you start, the fewer people there are on the course and the less waiting you’re likely to face at each obstacle. As an added bonus, the water is still dyed electric orange! (By the end of the event, it has usually faded to murky brown on account of the sheer amount of mud participants have carried into and through it.)

They’d redone the course route and, in addition to a few obstacles we knew and loved, there were a selection of new and reworked challenges to face. For example, last year I aced the Funky Monkey (monkey bars); this year, I didn't make it. The new format - regular monkey bars for the 1st half, then a swinging bar to bridge the gap to a long pole running perpendicular to the monkey bars) - was beyond me. I didn't gather enough momentum to make the jump to the second half.

Coming off an obstacle - covered in mud!
Despite failing to conquer all the obstacles this round, I was immensely proud of myself for keeping a much better pace than I did last year. I'm pleased to know I still have one more Mudder this year - another shot at proving myself on the obstacles I couldn't do this time. And I'm grateful to the TM crew for upping the ante so that I have renewed motivation to train and push myself between now and next summer! 

The other thing that I really loved this year was the Fruit Shoot Mini Mudder - a mini TM course for kids/youth - and the "obstacles" in Mudder Village (open to participants and spectators alike). As someone who grew up hating sports and disliking my athletic classmates because they appeared uniformly snobby and clique-y, I am thrilled to see young people being introduced to physical fitness and challenging themselves in an environment that is 100% positive and encouraging. Tough Mudders are about working with others - whether they're on your team or you've never met them before - and about not leaving anyone behind. They're not about racing or competing, except against yourself. What better way could be possibly hope to introduce the next generation to taking care of their bodies and facing hard things than by offering them a shot to push themselves in a safe but exhilarating environment? 

It was amazing to watch a father lift his son (guessing the boy was about 9 years old) up to the Human Hamster Wheel and cheer him on as he screwed up his little face in determination and had at it! A friend and I were just talking the other day about how little the current generation of children gets taught (or allowed) to challenge themselves and work through hard things on their own. Kudos to you TM for creating a unique and awesome opportunity for both adults and youth alike to dig deep and rock out!

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