When I agreed to run Tough Mudder, I was woefully unprepared.
It’s a course I’ve had on my to-do list since its inception in Australia a few years ago, but every time it comes around I find myself doing something else (like… fossilising my couch).
This year, I had no choice. I was invited along, and I had no excuse to say no.
Still, I had concerns. I go to the gym pretty regularly, but my routine doesn’t exactly involve anything intensive. My upper body strength is… shall we say, limited. I’m also petrified of monkey bars.
But despite now nursing very sore shoulders, I had a freaking ball of a time. Here are nine things I walked away thinking.
1. You get mud in places you didn’t know possible.
This one sort of goes without saying. Mud gets everywhere and it will begin to feel like your feet will forever squelch. For a moment I genuinely feared I was going to get an ear infection but that was just the hypochondriac on my shoulder talking.
Soon enough, you embrace the mud. Heck, you might even smear it all over your face. And you’re just fine.
2. Gosh darn, humans are awesome.
You quickly learn that Tough Mudder is far from being an individual race. It's all about camaraderie. And in the end, the obstacles that are heavily team-based are the most memorable.
It's pretty wonderful when you realise you can chuck a bunch of strangers into a group and they'll quickly band together to help one another. You'll be pulled up by the hand, you'll hoist someone up by the bum. And most importantly, nobody is left behind. The humanity is beautiful enough to make you weep.
3. You really, really don't want to have your period.
Okay this only applies to vagina-owners, but goodness gracious this was uncomfortable. I'm on the pill, and my biggest mistake was not better planning the timing of my sugar pill week. Because running around with what feels like a drenched tampon threatening to plop out is rather comfortable. Funnily enough, I was one of several women in this 'red zone' (yes, it was discussed). But I'd also argue that makes us the Toughest of Mudders.