Should you do a Tough Mudder? Yes, you should. It was one of the greatest events I've ever participated in.
If spending a morning running for hours, getting dunked in ice water, jumping over fire, climbing walls and getting shocked by 10,000 volts of electricity sound like even remotely your thing, don't hesitate to sign up.
Oh wait, you're still hesitating? Keep in mind, you can walk most of it, you will have thousands of fellow mudders to help you through the obstacles, and you will bask all day in the camaraderie the event encourages. And there is beer at the end.
5am wake up call this morning. Out the door by 5:30, arrived at the Tough Mudder site near Allentown, about an hour outside of Philly, to see a full-scale military operation in effect. That's the first thing I'll comment on. The level of organization was simply mind boggling. The shuttle busses ran perfectly. Registration was a snap. Water stations were perfectly placed. Event staff as well as police officers, fire fighters and paramedics were everywhere. After a few years of operations, Tough Mudder has obviously fine tuned the process to a T, and there is literally nothing to complain about.
I had signed up for the 8am wave but was assigned to the 8:40 wave. But at 7:45 I was already ready to go, and they were announcing that people could start in earlier waves if they wanted to. 8am start after all.
Most of the obstacles were no problem. I'm a small guy but have pretty good upper body strength relative to my size, so I had no problem hurling myself over the Berlin Walls or crossing the monkey bars without falling into the water below.
I did, however, hesitate at a few obstacles, such as the ones involving tunnels. Because I am slightly claustrophobic, I was worried about starting to panic inside, especially the one that included water in addition to the tunnel. It took a few minutes at each one, but I managed to convince myself to get through them.
The only other time I hesitated, this time for a full ten minutes, was the final obstacle: electroshock therapy. It's the final obstacle at most Tough Mudders, and one must cross dirt hills and mud pits while hundreds of live wires dangle above. I had already been shocked in a previous obstacle, and it genuinely hurt, and I was not too keen on barreling through this obstacle to face the same pain. I knew I would be disappointed in myself if I didn't complete the entire course, so I finally forced myself into the fray.
Strangely enough, I had more trouble with the running than I did with the obstacles. The course was in farm country in Pennsylvania, just south of the Pocono Mountains, meaning there were a lot more hills than expected, and the Tough Mudder organizers incorporated every hill they could find on that farm. Due to the heat, I forced myself to walk up most of them. I finished in 2:34.
Extremely glad I finally got to do a Tough Mudder. Hope to do one with a team in the near future. Just need to befriend more people who enjoy this kind of stuff. In the meantime, overheard from Stevie's conversation with her mother:
Stevie's mom: why would he want to do all of that to himself?!
Stevie: because he's badass and likes to prove it.
I think she understands me.