Obstacle Runs, and Losing My Mind

by Margo on April 16, 2013

The Tough Mudder Run, Because Running Isn't Hard Enough Already

Yes, I should be doing school work. But I’m actively procrastinating. So…. Yay! Blog post time. 

My first 5k is in just under four weeks. I am a little bit terrified (I have so much training left to do..), and a whole lot of excited. I am also scouring Craigslist for a jogging stroller, as my goal to run kid-free everyday just isn’t happening. It would be great to strap Fiona in and go for a run after we take Becca to school in the mornings. 

I won’t have an amazing finishing time, or even a particularly good finishing time, but I’m okay with that. As long as I have a finishing time. And I’d still like it to be under 45 minutes. But I won’t be too disappointed if it isn’t. There’s always the next time, and the time after that. This isn’t going to be a one time thing. And that’s where the crazy comes in, because why just run when you can risk life and limb just for the heck of it?

I have a few friends who ‘like’ the Tough Mudder runs on Facebook, so I finally checked it out a few days ago. The Tough Mudder is an extreme obstacle run: 10-12 miles of ice cold water, mud, electric wires, climbing piles of logs, going across monkey bars, and about two dozen other challenges. It’s insane. It requires a release form stating that, if you get hurt and/or die, the coordinators of the event are not responsible. And last night, I talked Mark into doing it with me. We’re looking at doing it a couple of years from now, giving us time to get into shape and prepare. I have zero upper body strength and most of the obstacles depend on your ability to pull yourself up and over, so that might be my biggest challenge. The other big challenge is getting over my fear of putting myself way out of my comfort zone. One of the obstacles requires you to ‘swim’ through slushy ice water for a short distance. Another requires running though a fire obstacle. I balk at swimming in any cold water, and my definition of ‘cold’ is pretty wimpy. 

We’re going to work our way up to it, though. This fall, I’m hoping to participate in probably the easiest of all of the obstacle runs, the Dirty Girl mud run. It’s a 5k with only 12 obstacles, and it’s just for women. They are holding one of the races in Buffalo in the beginning of September, and I plan on going out for it. The course is challenging, but not to the extent of the Tough Mudder. It’s a good warm-up, and a great accomplishment. 

Next year, Mark and I want to challenge ourselves to the Warrior Dash. This run is also a 5k, but with tougher challenges, and more of them. This will give us a taste of what the Tough Mudder will be like, except it’s only a little less than a third of the length. This will be our first obstacle run together, and I’m already looking forward to it. We might do this one a second time, or find another obstacle run or two before we move on to the longer course. 

This is going to take a ton of teamwork between the two of us. We’re going to be training together (as schedules allow), and doing more 5ks together, too. We’re even doing one as a family this August, when the Color Run comes to Buffalo. Everyone dresses in white, and you get doused in color as you go through the race. The girls are going to love it, and I love that a good portion of the race brings you right along the edge of Lake Erie. We’ll probably make a weekend of it, staying a couple of nights in the city and seeing some of the sights we missed last time. 

I am finally starting to consider myself a runner, even if I’m not particularly good at it. I enjoy it. I love that its something that Mark and I can do together, and I love that we’re setting a great example for the girls. Even better, I love that we’re able to get them involved at the same time. We plan on bringing them with us when we go to the Warrior Dash and the Tough Mudder (plus a grandparent or aunt to help out while we’re running). 

If my high school self knew that I would someday be voluntarily signing up for all of this, she’d think I’d lost my mind. I hated running. I was uncoordinated and out of shape. Not much has changed. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t still go out there and have a great time. 


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