So, I’ve signed up for a Tough Mudder. It’s in three months – ARGH!
It’s only a half – I can’t afford a full one, never mind survive it! I’m not worried about the run bizarrely, it’s the obstacles which are making me feel pretty squiggly. I’m fairly confident in my cardio, that should be fine – right? It’s the upper body. Okay, I’ll say it – I am terrified of the monkey bars. So, I have decided to do my research early, and be prepared to face my worst case obstacles (they only tell you which obstacles you’ll have a few days before the event).
I’ll be with my brother (ex-army) and sister (pretty hardcore and not too heavy). I swear, when I told my mum I’d signed the three of us up for this, she nearly cried.
Side note: I’m heavy for my size, so I should probably do my team and fellow Mudders a favour and actually put some extra work in for this. Nobody needs me as a dead weight here.
Anyway, here’s the run-down…
The ones I’m (naively) not too worried about
Arctic Enema 2.0
Summary: Ice bath with a submerged beam to duck under. Don’t get me wrong, it sounds horrific. But it won’t last too long.
Tactics: Wear the right clothes, survive. MOVE.
Summary: This is basically a commando crawl under a water-filled liner.
Tactics: If I stick to the edge and work on my planks, this shouldn’t be a big deal – right? Let’s not even think about my mild claustrophobia. Denial should help me through this one.
Summary: This sounds a bit like an inverted Birth Canal – with a fence above to climb along backwards while mostly submerged in water.
Tactics: Calmness and denial.
Summary: Peppermint-y heavy mist by the sound of it. In darkness.
Tactics: Keep my eyes closed as much as possible. Stay calm. Don’t get stuck in a traffic jam.
Fire in Your Hole
Summary: Water slide, through flames and back into water
Tactics: Water, fire, water – really not worried about this. Famous. Last. Words.
Summary: Run through fire. Then some more fire. Then over some fire until you land in water
Tactics: Who knew I wasn’t scared of fire? Just go quick, breathe sensibly (which may mean not much if it’s smokey) and then jump. Done.
Hold your Wood
Summary: Pick up a log, carry it, drop it.
Tactics: I think any additional strength needed for this (on top of what I have now), will be covered by training for the other obstacles. I’ve carried stuff before. Not worried. Sniff.
Summary: Dark, twisty trench, following other “Mudders”. I am worried about heads or hands up bums. Just sayin’.
Tactics: Keep calm, leave my self respect outside of the matting, pick it up at the end.
Summary: Balance beam. Fall off and you’re in the water.
Tactics: Calm, core, balance, keep moving. Maybe don’t look down. Look at the finish point, not where I am – think U-turn on a motor bike (that’s another nightmare to explain some other time…)
Walk the Plank
Summary: A bit like a diving board, 3-4 metres high.
Tactics: Firstly, I’m not going to do the height conversion from metres to feet (there’s a strong theme of denial in all of this…). Secondly, I’m just gonna run and jump – I’m not going to look. Watch out below!
Mildly worried about…
Balls to the Wall
Summary: 15 feet, climbing up a slippery rope. Hmmm. Honestly, this could go either way. I’ve never (successfully) climbed a rope…
Tactics: Upper body work. Try to climb some ropes!
Summary: I don’t completely get this. It sounds vaguely like a cross between Hang Tough from Gladiators (oh the 90’s…) and that hoppy, jumpy over pegs thing from…what was that Richard Hammond obstacle course show…Wipeout!
Tactics: I need to understand what it is and I need to focus on my upper body strength and stamina. Not to mention my hands – I need to be able to hold on!
Summary: No water (so that’s something), running through a spaced-out 70’s door streamer thing where each streamer could give you an electric shock
Tactics: Get it done as fast as possible and protect my face
Summary: Slippery half pipe, usually near the end of the course so you’re knackered
Tactics: I think I’m going to do puss-in-boots eyes for this one. Let’s face it, I’ll need all the help I can get. If I can ditch my self respect, I may attempt running around some skate parks in the rain to see how many teeth I can knock out. But, I might not.
Just the Tip
Summary: Horizontal 2×4 plank that you have to hang from and climb along. With occasional planks at foot height for a “rest”
Tactics: Monkey bars and pulls ups I think? And gloves. Hmmm. I may have put this one in the wrong category…Denial!
Summary: This is a wall at a 45 degree angle (the hard way). You have to try to grab the edge and heave yourself over. Hmmm.
Tactics: My future self who has done lots of pull ups and looked up what a “muscle up” is, isn’t too worried about this. I may have to move this one down the list nearer the time…
Summary: Climb a diagonal wall using pegs put into holes. It’s difficult to explain. It reminds me of a children’s board game in reverse but I can’t think what it is…
Tactics: Future self is calm. See “Skidmarked”.
Summary: Um, electricity, water, commando crawling. It all sounds like a pretty bad idea to me?
Tactics: Fast. Forward. Don’t cry.
Summary: Two slippery 10-foot-high walls. With little or no traction available on the wall itself.
Tactics: I’ll be going for sympathy again I think. I’m not even 5.5 foot. I’ll do my pull ups and my tuck jumps, squats, etc. as preparation, but basically – there’s no way I’m getting over those by myself. If by some miracle I make it over one, I think I’ll be half dead before I get over the second. I’ll be climbing nearly twice my height. Yeeks.
King of the Swingers
Summary: Swing from a fixed pivot arm, let go, attempt to ring bell placed unachievable-y high, fall into water.
Tactics: Survival and denial. Those are my only ways through this. I’m not good with heights. This will be a problem here because I’ll be able to see the gap to the ground. Really, I’ll need to focus on letting go of the bar more than any hope of ringing the bell. The TM advice says to keep your whole body tense – I don’t think that will be a problem!
Funky Monkey 2.0
Summary: Monkey bars. Ascending, moving, trapezing, then a moving pole? And if you fall, it’s into ice cold water.
Tactics: You’ll find me at children’s playgrounds doing the monkey bars. I’m also going to have a go at bouldering. I am taking this one seriously. I will almost be disappointed if it isn’t on the course. Apparently it’s all about grip, momentum and the right posture.
Summary: Rings (we are back to Gladiators again), moving, over water. Not “as bad” as Funky Monkey 2.0, but still in the same danger zone for me.
Tactics: As with Funky Monkey really. Maybe with gloves. I should probably do some pull ups…
I need to focus on upper body stamina. I don’t think this is necessarily about strength. I think it’s about being able to hang on and keep going.
I need to make sure I have the right gear on. I should be able to scrape most of it together, but I hadn’t even given this much real thought – like, I’d have probably just put normal knickers on (under everything else) and ended up with a soggy, chafing bottom issue after 5 minutes!
I’m surprised by the amount of innuendo in the obstacle names…or does that say more about me than the Tough Mudder??
I’m still looking forward to it, but I need to make sure I actually become that future self, and not just waste my time leading up to this. I’m competitive (mostly with myself), so it should work…
…I guess I should do a run or two before…?