I am not an athlete. That’s the third time I’m saying that in these blogs so far. It’s not because I’m out of ideas. It’s because I really want to make it clear.
Despite this, there’s a lot of physically challenging items on my Bucket List. I have to admit when I first put it together I doubted if I could physically manage them. I mean, run a marathon? I hadn’t ‘run’ for about 6 years at that time. So my plan was to try and lose a bit of weight and take on one of these challenges. If it was too much, then I’d probably take them off. I decided to choose ‘enter tough mudder‘ mainly because a friend of mine egged me on to do it with him. I figured doing it with someone and also doing one with a fun twist might make it more enjoyable. I can say without a shadow of a doubt it was fun but good god was it a challenge.
My place was booked about 8-10 months in advance. Mainly because I knew I was in no condition to do this (refer to my previous statement about no running for years). I started hitting the gym and dieting for the first 3 of those months. I actually lost a bit of weight and started feeling better about myself. The friend I was planning on doing the event with even started getting me out every Monday for a run around the town. After about 3 weeks I started to find my stride. By the time of the event, I was definitely in better shape than when I booked it. However, I’ll be the first to admit, I could’ve been better if I applied myself. It wasn’t just my body I needed to get sorted. I needed to suit up! So I did what everyone does when they start a new fitness journey. Got a running kit, sweatbands, and headphones. Before I knew it I was at the starting line, getting hyped up by the Mudder Nation. The timer hit zero and the first physically demanding aspect of my Bucket List began. After 30 seconds I realized two things:
1) I was going to get very muddy
2) All the preparation I did was incredibly inadequate for the next 4-6 hours of my life.
Ok, so what obstacles did we face? The course didn’t waste any time getting us on our bellies and dragging our bodies under some barbed wire, followed by rope climbing over a tire pyramid. Those weren’t too bad in hindsight. Then came the walls. Four walls, each one taller than the last. You had to take a run-up and get your arse over the top and onto the next one. Luckily my friend was quite tall, so with his helped, I just about managed it, but in the end, I was on my back cursing every wall in the world. It’s at this point we learned a good lesson about doing a Tough Mudder. You need friends, or you need to make friends during the event. We ended up helping a couple over the walls and getting to know each other as we jogged to the next obstacle. That friendship then grew at every turn and to this day we remain friends. I think they even had a baby recently so congratulations guys if you’re reading this.
What followed after that was a bit of a sweaty blur. However, I’ve been told that I:
Carried my friend on my back (it was a challenge, not because he was tired)
ran up a steep skateboard ramp and it took four people to pull my arse over the top.
Slid down into an ice-cold vat of water
Tried to swing on a cargo net across muddy water
Dragged myself under a net with all but my face submerged in water
Climbed a ladder up a tube with water gushing down
Crawled underground with tear gas pumped in
Carried a tree
Climbed over a very very high pyramid
Waded through a muddy puddle with hidden trap holes
Climbed through a tube before jumping into a pool back first
Attempted to monkey swing (failed miserably)
Tried to pull myself over four turntables
and so much running/jogging/walking
That's the killer for me. The obstacles were all fun and games, but between each one, you had to run through several fields and forests. If it wasn’t for the free banana the event gave you every now and then around the track, I’m pretty sure I’d be dead right now.
Then I saw it. The finish line. The only thing left that stood between me and completing my first physical bucket list challenge was…Suspended electrical wire! That’s right, the final challenge was to maneuver or wade your way through a live electrical wire. I chose my timing carefully and managed to get away with only a slight spark on my right bum cheek. However, some nutters just run headfirst into it, and boy did that look as it hurt!
As I crossed the finish line, I was given snickers, a beer, a sweatband, and a T-shirt. Totally worth it. Weirdly enough, when it was over I didn’t find myself tired right away. In fact quite the opposite, I felt like I could do another hour. We posed for some pictures and shared contacts with our newfound friends before returning to the car. The second I sat down, the pain began, the shoes came off and the groaning started. It honestly took me about four days to fully recover, but I was smiling the entire time.
Overall, tough mudder is muddy and tough. You must prepare your body and I’d focus more on cardio than anything else. Make sure you go in a group of at least four or be a people person so you can make some new friends along the way. I’d recommend you take advantage of the mudder nations tips and free workouts published online.
Ultimately it was one of the best tick-offs I’ve ever done and something that I am immensely proud of myself for doing. Will I ever do one again? Let’s see if I can conquer some of my other physical challenges first, but never say never.