In the interest of catching up over the holidays…it’s time to talk about Tough Mudder….

We went as a team of 16 to Poplar Bluff, MO back in October to complete our first Tough Mudder experience…there were highs and lows to be sure but an unforgettable experience nevertheless…

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Turquoise Headband, and yes we are all wearing make-up!

It was foggy, damp and cool outside…perfect for the saga of insanity we were about to embark on…pictures of the event were sporadic as it wasn’t exactly spectator friendly throughout…

Berlin Walls...
Berlin Walls…

A set of Berlin Walls were the first obstacle we encountered, at this point you feel confident, riding the waves of adrenaline…by mile 11 when you circle back around for the second time on the Walls your perspective changes drastically…

The race over-all, like many of the activities that fitness junkies engage in, is a test of your will and the ability to overcome fear, exhaustion, fear, physical pain, fear, the elements and…did I mention fear???  You also learn the absolute necessity of team work out on the course, competing as a team and finishing as a team.  The terrain in Poplar Bluff, while not officially one of the 26 or so obstacles we encountered, was daunting…if I had to guess I would say we ran in ankle to waist deep mud for at least half the race.  Each step becomes a new challenge, pulling your feet from the sinking mud with every step sinking mud…and this wasn’t just any mud. Missouri has the most putrid smelling ‘mud’ I’ve ever encountered…but they end of the day we told ourselves that the smell MUST BE sulfur, that’s what we hoped for anyway…

There are moments of terrifying fear as you walk off a 20ft platform plunging into the murky depths below, drown yourself in an ice bath or get hit with electricity…but at some point, in every race there is that moment…heart pounding fear rises up your spine and YOU KEEP GOING ANYWAY

'Walk The Plank'No time to think...just JUMP
‘Walk The Plank’
No time to think…just JUMP
Electricity Round 1
Electricity Round 1
Reborn after the ICE!
Reborn after the ICE!

This picture actually made the front page of the Sunday Paper in Poplar Bluff, I’m sure their circulating copies are somewhere in the millions…but it was an unexpected surprise that is crystalized in time as one of the most hellacious moments of my life…with the exception of appendicitis and kidney stones…

There are also surprisingly exciting moments like this…

South of the Border Hottie in the Wounded Warrior Carry
South of the Border Hottie in the Wounded Warrior Carry

This latin gentleman was more than happy to carry me instead of the 6’4 buddy he was racing with…and I was happy to let him…

Spider Monkey
Spider Monkey

And this is my one brag from the day..aside from finishing the thing which I never doubted…I made it up EVEREST on my first attempt…after slamming my knee into the second set of Berlin Walls, I committed to only one attempt at EVEREST, assuming that if I hit the same knee again I might not walk out of the race under my own power. So I ran as hard as I could and held on for dear life…and it worked, please ignore the painful looks of exhaustion from the poor guys that are pulling the the rest of the way…

At the end of the day, the entire team was simply in a daze, dirty, hungry and questioning our sanity.  Tough Mudder takes some time to process, aside from the fact that our bodies felt like they have been beaten to a pulp the next day, it takes some time to let the whole experience sink in.  Right after the race all you can think about is food, we all said we would never do it again….then we got some rest and 24 hours later the consensus was that while we hurt everywhere it really wasn’t THAT bad…by recovery day 2-3 we were all looking for our next TM in 2013…after all ‘stupid is as stupid does’ and were gonna do it again!

Word of Caution: Good luck explaining a Tough Mudder to your coworkers, parents or non-athletic friends…they will simply stare at you like you are completely crazy…especially when you mention the electricity and the ice.  You will suddenly feel slightly crazy yourself realizing that it doesn’t seem as normal to everyone as it does to you, but then again…extreme/endurance challenges don’t make sense to everyone…but I promise it’s empowering and addicting…

Tough Mudder reminded me to never take my body or my ability for granted…not that I am an exceptionally talented athlete..but I do have the ability to sign up for a Tough Mudder one week before the race and never question whether I’ll finish. However, I had the privilege of racing with friends whose journey to a Tough Mudder started years before for the event and hundreds of pounds ago.  For me it’s just another event, for others it’s a bucket list day…and those are the folks who actually deserve the respect for completing such a physical challenge.  Hats off to my Bucket List Friend, who beat obesity, depression, complacency and naysayers to change her life…it was an honor to roll in the mud with you!

This is what it's all about...
This is what it’s all about…
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