Five things you learn while desperately gasping through a Tough Mudder.

It hurts to type this.

I don’t mean emotionally, I mean physically. My arms are so sore that my typing rate right now is about 0.3 words per minute. This paragraph took over nine minutes.

But this pain was worth the gain.

I did ‘Tough Mudder‘ on the weekend. Me, the girl so lazy, I write articles about it.  Me, the girl who once drove to the gym, read her book in the car for an hour, then drove home. Me, the girl who’s already taken two naps by this second paragraph.

An 18km, military-style, mud-filled, wet-shoed, death-defying, so-exhaused-I-might-die obstacle course. I did that. Why? I don’t know, really. A combination of peer pressure and hope. When I first agreed to do it, I thought it would ‘give me something to work towards’ for a few months at the gym. Lol. Rofl. Hardyhaha. You have to go to the gym for that to work.

Thoughts I had doing ToughMudder: – This mud makes me look tanned. – Shit. Def should’ve trained. – Blister tape’s doing NOTHING. – My teeth look so white rn. – Oops. Got mud on teeth. – I wonder what fitness feels like? – HOW THE F ARE WE ONLY HALFWAY – Human bodies are amazing. – Sorry body. – Maybe those people will carry me if I fake a heart attack. – Legit though, having a heart attack. – Sorry again body. – I could be at a winery rn. – Or napping. – Can’t wait for victory cider. – I’ll call it my “never the fuck again” cider. – Almost done? Oh. – Pretty proud of myself. – Self, you have permission to eat hot chips every day forever. – Yeah. High five. – Though, maybe less hot chips would’ve made this easier. – That rock looks comfy. – Finish line!!! – Oh. Get electrocuted first. – Fuck it. Couldn’t be in more pain. – Oh. Could. – Can’t drink cider. Mouth too far away. So glad I did it. So glad it’s over. #ToughMudder2016 #ImAToughMudder #fuckingdead

A photo posted by Lucy Gransbury (@lucygransbury) on

With absolutely no preparation, except a mellow yoga class one week before, and five days straight of watching Netflix and eating muffins, I got up on Saturday morning and went through four hours and 18km of high-energy torture.

And I’m so glad I did. Here’s why:

5 Things You’ll Learn Doing Tough Mudder

  1. Your body is capable of so-ooo-ooo-ooo much more than you realise.

This isn’t a “wow I just added another five kilos to my squat press” kind of revelation. You dig so deep during this course, you almost pull out another person (also covered in mud). Usually, I can’t jog for one kilometre – after 300 metres I slow down to a jalk (jog-walk: looks like stumbling from exhaustion but a little bit faster). But somehow I jogged 18km this day. And hoisted myself over walls, and belly-crawled through mud, and swam through ice baths. I don’t even know how I did these things. My body has strength and endurance I’d never seen before.

2. When enough things hurt, you don’t hurt anymore.

In the first quarter of the course, my ankle was hurting, my wet shoes were rubbing, and I had a scrape on my elbow. From about 10km and six obstacles in, everything was so sore that it sort of balanced out. All your joints are wrecked. Your entire body is aching and blistered. What’s that? My knee is bleeding? Meh. Rub some mud on it and LET’S MOVE OUTTTTTTTTTT.


Check out some snaps from Tough Mudder over the weekend. Images via Facebook. (Post continues after gallery.)

3. Humans are amazing.

At the start line, you take a pledge to put camaraderie and teamwork in front of personal gain or fast finishing times. And boy, do you need it. A stranger will invaluably help you, and you will invaluably help a stranger. At one point, you have to scale a massive, slippery quarter-pipe wall (like the wall of a skate ramp) by taking a run-up, grabbing hands of people leaning over the top, and swinging your legs around until they can heave you up vertically. Strangers grab other strangers in intimate places, then slap each other on the back with gratitude. If I’d had more energy, I would’ve cried watching all the beautiful humanity.

4. Getting dirty is delightful.

Squelching, slippery mud wouldn’t normally be my idea of a fun time, but somehow, this course beats any princess-sentiments out of you from the first obstacle. Within five minutes, the front of my body was covered in mud from an army crawl under barbed wire. Within ten minutes, I’d been in my first shoulder-deep mud pool. And even though I’m still getting mud out of my ears, I gotta tell you – being filthy is fun. I did not care once about my chipped nails or the mud cakes forming in my hair. Pigs are onto something: mud is awesome. (Except, also true: best shower of my life when I got home.)

5. Whining gets you nowhere.

I learned this one while jogging up the fifteenth bloody hill in a row. Complaining out loud achieves NOTHING. Complaining in my head achieves NOTHING. I mean, it feels good to acknowledge the mud-covered, exhausted elephant in the room (me. I am the elephant) but whinging about how tired I was did not get me up that bloody hill. In fact, it just wasted my extremely valuable oxygen. Sometimes you gotta shut up and do it, because nobody else is going to do it for you.

Listen to our own wellness podcast all about exercise. And, one of our hosts hates it. (Post continues after audio.)

Now yell this to yourself: YOU can do this. You CAN do this. You can DO this. You can do THIS.

There were people on that course who are three times as heavy, twice as old, ten times as unfit, etc etc. There was even an amazing guy in a wheelchair. Tough Mudder or Spartan Race or a marathon or a fun-run – there are so many endurance events that you could be doing.

The awesome man who completed it in a wheelchair. Image via Facebook.

If you've been toying with the idea, or even if you haven't, form a team and sign up to an event. Hell, you could do one tomorrow with no preparation, and you'd be about as qualified as I was. But this feeling afterwards, this overwhelming pride combined with 'I can't believe what I just survived' awe, is indescribable.

Do it.

Now excuse me. I gotta go lie down on some ice-packs.