Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tough Mudder

I am a Tough Mudder finisher. 
To do ten + miles is accomplishment enough, but add to the fact that 75% of those miles were in ankle deep mud with 22 obstacles along the way, and I say hell yeah. 

I hope I never see or walk in mud again. It seemed to take days to get all the mud out of each and every crevice of my body. But I’m glad I did it, if nothing else so that I know I never want to do it again. Okay, I said that and meant it the day after the event when everything but my face hurt. In the month and a half that’s followed, I’ve convinced myself that I could do the event better if I trained harder. Somebody shoot me.   

So, what does it mean to be a Tough Mudder? Well, the events consist of a 10-12 mile grueling course with a variety of obstacles, such as the Electric Eel, the Arctic Enema and Everest. The proceeds benefit TheWounded Warrior Project. That alone made the whole thing worth it. 

Part of the team - before picture.
It’s not a race. Your only competition is yourself. How hard do you want to push yourself? What fears do you want to conquer? It’s all about teamwork and with the right team, like mine, no man is left behind. 
So did I reach my own goals? If I compare myself to how the rest of my team did, I’m disappointed in myself, hence the need to do it better. I’m not use to being the weak link. When I compare it to anything else I’ve done in my life, when I compare myself to other participants, most who where 10 to 20 years younger than me, then I’m extremely proud of myself. I’ve never done anything like this. I completed 10.5 miles and attempted 14 of 22 obstacles. I was exhausted. I kept going.

Me jumping in the Atrctic Enema
Do I have regrets? Yes. There are three obstacles I wish I would have tried, but didn’t either due to fear or exhaustion. The Electric Eel—I realize now that I could have done it and wish I had tried. The Boa Constrictor—flat out, fear got me on this one. And Everest−while I have some concern over my knee, I wish I had tried at least once to make it to the top.  
Unfortunately, the main obstacle that I was determined to do, I ended up not doing, but I do feel I made the right choice. Walk the Plank, a 15 + foot drop into water. I am not a strong swimmer and I’ve never liked to go into water over my head. That fear was bigger than I expected. I had gone through two other obstacles prior to Walk the Plank that put me in water over my head. I felt a sense of panic I didn’t expect. Both times, I pushed through the fear and kicked my way to the edge to get out. But by the time I arrived at Walk the Plank, I knew I didn’t want to risk it. After 9 miles and 18 obstacles, my body was exhausted and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to push past the panic or even be able to swim. So I opted to walk around.

The team - Mud Mile 1
With that said, in the weeks that followed a sense of confidence seeped into me, a sense of accomplished, but, yes, there was also acknowledgement that there was a lot of room for improvement. I’m just enough of a competitor to need to prove to myself that I can do better. I recently learned that Tough Mudder is coming to Wilmington, OH in the summer of 2014. I plan to be ready.