My First Tough Mudder Race
Back in 2011 I was introduced to Tough Mudder, which at the time was a 10-12 mile muddy obstacle course that called to me. A chiropractor in my office had done one and the more he talked of the obstacles and what the race entailed, the more I wanted to do one and find out more.
Some of you know, but not many, that I spent some of my teenage years learning about flight and even getting flight experience and working towards getting my piloting license. I wanted to be a pilot in the military. For reasons that will not be explained here, I obviously never went into the military, but still had, and still have a sadness to that. Among other things, I always secretly wanted a boot camp to kick my ass and push myself to my limits. As silly as it sounds, Tough Mudder was going to be the next best thing for me 11 years later.
I was never a runner. I always dreaded any type of run longer than a sprint. The mile run in high school always left me winded and nauseous and I really hadn't run much since. The first training run I did for TM had me gasping for air at a quarter mile down the road, but this was the first time in a long time that I had a physical goal to work up to. I was signed up to do the Philly TM in may of 2012 and began doing P90x every day and gradually working up my running distance. My first P90x workouts were done with 5lb weights and most exercises were modified. My runs started at a mile each. The May 2012 race ended up being postponed because my good friend's wedding ended up being the same day on long island. I signed up for Tristate (NJ raceway park) to take place in October 2012 and continued to work towards improving. By September I worked my way up to doing one 9 mile training run. I also found out that my college roommate's wedding was going to be the same day as Tristate, but it was at night and also in Jersey. There was no way I was going to postpone again. I was going to do both that day.
That first Tough Mudder was an amazing experience. I dragged myself to the starting line, full of nerves and on my own. It was 45 degrees at the start and the first obstacle was the one I had feared the most- arctic enema- basically an ice bath. I got through that and many other obstacles with a new found respect for myself. I remember reaching the walls for the first time thinking, how the hell do people get over these things?? The camaraderie on these courses are amazing. Everyone there is willing to give a helping hand. I failed some obstacles- I couldn't get up Everest and I didn't give myself enough momentum to grab the second ring in hang time, but I kept moving forward. At about mile 6, I became an honorary member of Team Baldy- a group of (mostly) bald men that I was keeping the same pace with. We finished together in about 2hr and 15 mins. I officially earned my first headband. And yes I made it to the wedding that night without issue.