Tough Muddering Progress (or not…)

OK, so we have (counts) 11 weeks until Tough Mudder. I’ve started my running training. You know, that running training I wasn’t going to do.

As I said, I’m doing the TM with my sister and brother (both older). The other day, I was having a chat and a cuppa with my brother who planted the seed that my sister has been running and is super fit…

Background: She’s signed up to do a marathon later in the year. She’s been training since January.

Now, my rational mind says she’s training with road running. When I run, I run in the mud. We live in very different places! She is up to 10k in 55 minutes. I’m up to 2 miles in 18 minutes. This means our pace is roughly similar (even if we have UoM inconsistencies!), if we assume I can get my head to let me keep running for 5 miles. I find running so ridiculously boring. I do not understand how walking can seem more interesting when it takes longer to get places?!

My rational mind also tells me I’m stronger than my sister – or am I?

So, this weekend’s project is to build a pull up bar. Either using something we already have (preferable and quite realistic – we have A LOT of all sorts of things lying around. We probably have some scaffold pipes somewhere…), or by buying one and mounting it somewhere.

To be clear, I am not competing with my sister here. My goal is to be able to competently complete the TM without being a burden on my team. I just want things to be balanced. The last thing I want, is to be the slow runner who is heavy and difficult to drag over an obstacle. I need to close some gaps.

I’m also secretly optimistic that running will be the answer for my knees. I know, I’ve changed my tune.

This post is a bit all over the place, sorry

I’m not worried about my brother. There is no point in even trying to measure up to him. He’s in his forties, but ex-army and is definitely the most active guy of his age that I know. He cycles, skis, and is in the TA. And those are just the headlines that I know about. If I think I’ve found something new and exciting, he’s always like “oh yeah, that’s great, I did that 5 years ago, try this…”.

It’s all good, he’s a team player, and I’ve learned a lot from him. About 7 years ago, he was living in Cyprus (life is tough, ya know?). I went over there with my mum for the three of us to do the bay-to-bay swim which the army was putting on. At the start line, I was focussed on the time we’d complete it in. Scratch that. I was thinking about me. My time. I didn’t care about any of these other losers. I was there for me.

About half way through, my mum had a panic attack.



More background: In these days, I was swimming three times a week, 6 miles a week. My mum was doing the same frequency, maybe completing 4 – 5 miles. We had different paces, I raced her a lot and was quite unfair. At the time, I felt a bit guilty about it. Looking back, we both see it as a really healthy period of competition. I don’t swim anymore (2 year olds are a deal breaker for sneaking out at 6am to jab elbows with strangers in a shared bath). My mum does still swim, but her time has slipped significantly.


Un-pause: So mum had a panic attack. Not because she couldn’t swim, not because she had a sh*t ton of looming, dark water beneath her. No. Because she could see the desolate, golden sand 30 feet beneath her. I guess it was a bit like being afraid of heights or something? It’s the distance that’s unsettling, not the unknown.

My brother stopped with her, treading water, talking calmly and quietly and maintaining eye contact to focus her. I was impatient and thinking about the time. They both told me to go on. I thought about it. I nearly did. And then I thought about how the story would be re-told. My time would be better, but I wouldn’t be in the story. My time would be meaningless, and they’d have something I’d chosen not to be a part of. So I stayed. We had to stop with her two or three times, but we did it. And we were probably only 10 minutes behind what our best time would have been as a group. We finished in the first 100 (of about 300). And we weren’t swimming with just regular people – these were army people – DOUBLE WIN!

I don’t play team sports, but that day, I caught a glimpse of that feeling, achieving something together and sharing it. We’ve not done anything like that since. I made the right call.

The other thing I learned, was watching how he calmed her down. How good he was at it – and I found a whole new pocket of respect for him because of it.

So, I’ve already decided this isn’t about competition within our group. This is a team effort.

But wouldn’t it be freakin’ awesome if my sister and I had to haul his ass across the finish line…!

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