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Tough Mudder…they named it right!

August 25, 2012

Yep – I got myself an orange headband! It is a hard earned accessory to my training attire, that being my standard wrinkled, mostly black, t-shirts and shorts. I did dress a little flashy, for me anyway,  for the run, sporting a bright red spandex shirt. Otherwise it was my standard black shorts and my faithful old Merrills!

Only  a couple photos of the run itself unfortunately. In fact, I’m not even in one of the 200+ photos posted on the official website. Maybe I’m so short they missed me!

The run was fantastic. I really think my training by running hills with the weighted vest helped me a lot because the whole event was based on a ski resort. Big hills…humongous hills…gigantic hills. OK, OK, you get the picture. The obstacles were challenging and well placed, but it was the monstrous mountains in between them that took their toll on everyone’s legs and cardio.

A few things about the whole event stand out in my mind.

1 – The camaraderie. As soon as “I” stepped down from the shuttle-bus it became “we”. There was chatter and back-slaps and laughter from the get go. This continued on through out the course where I was helped by complete strangers and I also did my best to lend a helping hand.

2 – The energy. There was a buzz in the air and it wasn’t electricity or birds. It was just the pure energy flowing from the runners. It conjured up images of how many positive things that could be accomplished if people worked together towards a common goal.

3 – The passion. People there were really involved and determined to complete and help others complete the course. As they were singing – Tough Mudder;  No quit…in here!  – they meant it and and it was an emotion that swept through the crowd.

4 – A personal sense of pride. People were proud of themselves just to be there and especially at the finish. I saw a lot of laughter but I also saw tears of joy at the finish line. I got hugs from people I never even saw on the course. It was awesome.

5 – An unexpected feeling of National pride. I don’t know if t hey do it at every event, I would guess they do, but they played ‘O Canada’ before each heat started their run. What touched me most was how many people stood at attention, faced the flag  and sang along. That was really unexpected. There must have been people from 100 different ethnic backgrounds but there they stood, singing ‘O Canada’, getting ready to run like maniacs and pledging to help each other along the way.

6 – Finally…my bib number was the same as my wife’s birthday! How cool is that?

Highlights of the course.

A shocking turn of events! Zapped 4 times.

  • The starting corral. We had to climb over a six foot wall just to get into our starting groups. It was there mini bonds grew quickly. The MC did an amazing job of getting people pumped up and ready to run.
  • The Arctic Enema. Yep – you read it right. Up to my neck in crushed ice and water having to duck under petitions and wade 30 feet to the end and crawl…shiveringly… out. My voice went up a few octaves there for awhile.
  • Mud trenches. These were really cool and there were 10 of them. Deep, slippery, muddy trenches you had to slip, slide or jump into and then slither out somehow. They were much more challenging then most people expected.
  • The Berlin Walls. 3 of them – 12 feet high with only a small step to help you up.  Many of us came to a complete stop at first sight…then we just went for it. A lot of helping hands at this obstacle
  • The Electric Eel. Slip and crawl through mud and water while being jolted with electrical shocks from the wires hanging down.  As sick as it sounds it was crazy fun. The trick is – go fast!
  • Mount Everest was cool to watch. People running up and sliding down this giant skateboard half-pipe. But be it luck or my trusty Merrills, I ran up to the top without too much difficulty.

Toughest Challenge

That’ll be the Funky Monkey. Swinging across water on rings. They were wet and slippery. On my first attempt I was in the water by the second ring. But you know me a little by now – I went back again..and again, until I got across. It was the slipperiness more than upper body strength that caused me problems.


A happy camper at the finish!

I’m already signed up for both runs here in Toronto next year!!

Training has started already! More hill running is necessary and better core strength.

I’ll figure out how I plan to do that and let you know in my next post.

Until then, take care – see you on the trail…smiling of course.



10 Comments leave one →
  1. August 26, 2012 1:23 pm

    Awesome! Tough Mudder looks like a brutal course. For me, the tunnels, one is supposed to creep through look awfully scary for those who dislike small spaces. Perhaps one day I’ll take the challenge.

    • August 26, 2012 4:24 pm

      Hey – thanks for popping by. The tunnels scared off a lot of people. Especially those big tough guys! It was funny to see the big muscle guys peeking into a tunnel like it was a bears den. It wasn’t really brutal – tough sums it up pretty good. My advice…which I’m taking myself…start running up hills; big hills.
      Maybe see you on the course.

  2. August 26, 2012 7:51 pm

    I saw a race recap on the recent Mudder in Toronto on youtube. Yes, those hills were crazy!! Something perhaps on my bucket list. I was told, if you aren’t up for a challenge, you can in fact bypass it. Is that correct?

    • August 26, 2012 9:46 pm

      Correct – you can bypass it. I saw people back away from the tunnels and the electric eel shock obstacle. Most people walked about half the hills. Several people said the ills were even bigger than Whistler in Vancouver. However…after preparing alllll year, and looking forward to calling yourself a TOUGH Mudder. are you really going to back away? Not you for sure…I’ll push, pull drag or carry you to help you finish!

      • August 26, 2012 10:38 pm

        Yeah, I’ll try a lot of things for sure…give it my all so to speak. But if I try it, and don’t succeed, after several attempts, of course…I’d have to forego it. It’s just that one obstacle that bothers me. Really not a fan of small enclosed spaces. I wonder if anyone ever had a panic attack in one of those. There’s no way out if one really needs it. Eek!

  3. August 27, 2012 1:54 pm

    Nice work, Doug! I agree with everything you listed about the Tough Mudder events. And those are the reasons I have two on schedule for next year. Hoorah! 😉

    • August 28, 2012 8:31 am

      Thanks Betsy. Now why am I not surprised you are signed up for two events? You tough girls are going to kill me eventually trying to keep up with you! Run on young lady run on!

  4. August 27, 2012 9:10 pm

    I AM SO JEALOUS!!! The Mudder doesn’t come my way until October…so I guess I just have more training time… I am laid up right now with an ankle injury, so I am very glad I could live your mudder experience vicariously through your article! (btw, I am already signed up of course, first day, first wave…been that way since Jan)

    • August 28, 2012 8:29 am

      Jealous? The one who is called MuddyJ? I hope your run is as challenging and as much fun as mine was. One guy I met was doing TM #15…yep fifteen. He said the hills on this course were the toughest he has come across.
      So rest the ankle pal – then get down and get dirty.
      My ribs are feeling much better so I’m back on the hand stand push up challenge.

  5. Daniel permalink
    November 9, 2012 9:06 am

    Always something new. Congratulations.

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