fitness

9 things you only know if you've done Tough Mudder.

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.

tough mudder
The camaraderie is a massive highlight. Image: Supplied.

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.

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4. Monkey bars are an abomination. But it's okay.

I haven't done monkey bars since I was about seven-years-old, and even then the last time I climbed them I ended up falling and winding myself on another bar lower down. It wasn't pretty, but luckily monkey bars aren't a common occurrence in adult life. Until, of course, you do Tough Mudder.

I literally managed to make it to one bar before I failed. I hung there like a sad sloth, flailing my legs trying to swing backwards to the platform. It didn't work. I splashed straight into the muddy water below.

Plenty in my group made it across because they are strong specimens (congratulations). Others didn't.

And you know what? I still had fun.

5. You laugh. A lot.

I'm beginning to think partaking in this was one of the best decisions I've made this year. Yes, you scream a little. But mostly, you laugh. Which is surprising, considering how soaked and muddy you get. I truly was not able to wipe the grin off my face.

For a few hours you basically get to be a big kid. Tough Mudder is like a jungle gym for adults. And during, you get to forget about all the emails buzzing on your phone.

6. Scaling walls is too much fun.

No, seriously. I need to think about taking up parkour or something. Tough Mudder teaches you that your body is capable of so much more than you thought.

There was no better feeling than sprinting up a ginormous skate ramp, and grabbing someone's hand so they can yank you up the last little bit. If I could start my day everyday like this, I would.

7. Suddenly, you love running.

Because it helps get you dry. Those muddy pools are far, far colder than they look.

8. You need (decent) fuel. 

Doing Tough Mudder after a night of crackers and dip for dinner like I did is a baaaaad idea. The smartest thing I did was join the rest of the Mudders in grabbing a quick pick-me-up from sport supplements brand Bulk Nutrients on-site.

9. Mud is really bloody slippery.

You probably look at a mud barrier, eye up its relatively short size, and conclude that clambering over it will be easy. Mark my words: IT IS NOT.

So, did I nearly die? Yes. Would I do it again? Abso-bloody-lutely.

Tough Mudder was held in Melbourne this weekend. It will be held in Sydney on November 17-18 and in south-east Queensland on May 18-19.

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