I am turning 40 in January (in 64 days), so obviously I had to take complete leave of whatever senses I have left and sign up to do Tough Mudder. Thoughts keep bouncing around my brain like, “What the hell have I gotten myself into now?” or “Who will look after the kids if I am severely injured”. Unhelpful at this stage. Those thoughts would have been more helpful a couple of months ago when I decided to sign up in the first place.
I seem to be missing those people in my life who say negative things like, “Wait, hang on, are you nuts? Don’t do it.” Instead I’m surrounded by those annoyingly positive and encouraging types who like to live life to the full and drag others along with them.
Actually, I do have one sane person in my life, my husband. He regularly tries to talk me out of things. As a result I often “forget” to tell him about decisions I have made in his absence and then try and weave them into conversations to take attention off. I told him I was competing in Tough Mudder via text. I said:
Hey Hon. Doing Tough Mudder this Sunday. Can you take the day off work so you can stay with the kids?
He responded with:
Um, sure. Tough Mudder?!?
He arrived home and didn’t mention it. I thought I was in. Then he cornered me later that night after having done some research on the event and started listing all the obstacles I’d have to face. I looked at him with disdain and then said (manipulatively), “So you’re basically saying that you don’t support me and you don’t believe in me. Some husband you are. Anything else you’d like to talk me out of? Maybe I should just stay home every day cooking and cleaning.”
At this point he backed away with his hands in the air, mumbling something like, “I just wanted you to know what you were getting yourself into” while I began pacing the room covered in cold sweat thinking for the first time, “What the hell have you gotten yourself into now?” and that thought has settled in that place in the pit of my stomach that is meant to warn me not to do stupid things. Often my reaction to decisions I make are delayed.
That was Saturday.
On Monday I emailed *Melanie – the person at work who keeps talking me out of dropping out, and asked to drop out.She reminded me that I originally signed up because I wanted to “challenge myself before I turn 40 in January”, and by the way *Melanie, it’s really annoying how you quote me back to myself. So I end up backing out of backing out and saying, “You’re right”, “Thanks so much”, “You’re the best” and a whole bunch of other platitudes I don’t really mean.
It isn’t really fair to just blame myself (and *Melanie) though. Equal responsibility needs to be given to social media which seems to be filled with all sorts of motivational memes aimed at women, encouraging us to step out of our comfort zones. Well, I have stepped out of my comfort zone. Are you happy now memes? Are you happy?!?
Then there are some valid concerns I have, a list of which I compiled after taking the time to actually research the event and possible hazards I may face. I'm not sure if they are all legitimate concerns, however I have added them on anyway...
Getting sick as a result of the ice cold water;
Getting sick as a result of poop in the mud, and accidentally swallowing some:
Have to skip an obstacle I can't do...more embarrassment;
Ruining my favourite running shoes;
Ruining my favourite running pants;
Not eating the right food, leading to stitches and muscle cramps;
Not drinking enough water, leading to dehydration and collapse;
The very real possibility I will cry during any obstacles involving electroshocks;
Well aren't I just Little Miss Bloody Sunshine, NOT. I'm not someone you want to get lost in the bush with. I'd be no good at any reality shows that challenge you physically and mentally in anyway. I think that's why Tough Mudder appealed to me in the first place. I was originally on a team however most have switched to next year and then there are two work colleagues who are doing it at the same time as me who are travelling in together who I will probably never find in the crowd.
It's just going to be me, almost-40-year-old me, facing down one of the toughest manufactured mental and physical challenges I will ever face.
There are positives.
I'm thinking that after I complete Tough Mudder I'll pretty much be able to eat whatever I want for the rest of the day. That is after consuming all of the free food and drink on offer. I've heard rumours of bananas, gummy bears, energy drinks, protein bars and beer at the finish line. I don't drink, including beer, but will be making an exception methinks.
I only started training this week. I meant to start earlier. My relationship with exercise is complicated. I'll diligently exercise every day for three weeks and then stop for a month with no warning, for no reason. I don't hate exercise. Sometimes I just don't want to do it.
It's not ideal. According to all the Tough Mudder related articles and blogs I have read I should have started training quite a while ago and I should have included things like rock climbing and monkey bars. Instead I am just doing my usual workout DVDs, short jogs on even surfaces and inadequate sessions on our cross trainer. I should be doing all-terrain running. I should be doing pull ups. I should be having icy cold baths.
I should, I should, I should.
In the movie Last Holiday, Georgia Bird believes she is terminally ill so she base jumps. I have let this movie influence me too much.
My preparation is much better in terms of recommended diet. All the advice states an increase in carbohydrate consumption in the week proceeding the event and as I have been a devoted consumer of carbohydrates all my life, I've pretty much got that part covered. I even know what I am having for breakfast on the morning of the event. Apparently I should have a little bit of carbs with a little bit of protein. An egg on toast it is. I'm not meant to have coffee, but will do anyway, and just counteract the effects of the caffeine by chugging a bottle of water afterwards.
As I work hard to push the panic down, I keep thinking about one moment. I keep thinking of that moment when I am done and I am rinsing off all the mud. Hopefully I'll just be tired, sore and mentally broken as opposed to being in the first aid tent waiting to be transported to hospital for knee replacement surgery.
I'm wondering if anyone thought to use the kind of mud that's good for the skin, as an added bonus for those brave enough (stupid enough) to be competing in the event. They must have. It's a no-brainer. Why wouldn't you?
I suppose this is the part where you take some time to wish me luck and give me some advice based on your experiences. A few of you may suggest some less challenging challenges I could have signed up for ahead of my 40th birthday like bungee jumping, trying a new food, City2Surf, going on an adventure holiday.
Next year, definitely.
*Melanie is not her real name, although I was sorely tempted to name-and-shame.