Post Worlds Toughest Mudder Hangover

Tough MudderThis is going to be a slightly different post today, sort of a journal of what I did and felt this weekend.  Because a couple of things happened this weekend that were awesome and made me consider my training and lifestyle pretty seriously.  And it involves the World’s Toughest Mudder and my own training.

First, many of you probably know that this was the weekend of World’s Toughest Mudder.  You’ve probably heard of Tough Mudder if you’ve been here before (or even if you haven’t), which is one of the big obstacle races (though, technically, it’s not really a race but a challenge).  That’s the 10-12 mile obstacle-laden course with ice water, electric shocks, the works.  They give everyone a big charge to their life and are really one of the best examples of what I talk about on the Why Obstacle Course Racing page – sort of a way to suddenly shock you out of your life a bit and let you know that you are capable of more than you thought.

World’s Toughest Mudder takes that a step further.  This event takes place each November and is basically repeating a Tough Mudder type course for 24 hours straight.  That’s right, a full day of movement here.  It’s exhausting, cold, wet and dry (it’s taken place in Henderson, Nevada the past couple years but there are still water obstacles out there in the desert), dark, bright, and tests people amazingly.  The first place guy, Chad Trammell, went 95 miles in the race.  Totally amazing when you consider the exhaustion that just one OCR can put upon you.

And this really got me thinking about what the human body is truly capable of.  We spend a lot of time in our lives being told just how fragile the human body is, mostly by drug companies that are trying to get us to buy their wares.  And yeah, if you’re here then you probably know that diet, movement, and stress reduction can take care of 95% of those issues or more, so I won’t hammer on that stuff because it really isn’t the point.  The point is that event like WTM exist and that people who are just like you and me can excel at this stuff, even though we have full employment, families, and the like.  The female winner of WTM, Amelia Boone, is also a lawyer, for example.

And yes, some of these folks are fitness professionals and have that lifestyle built into their daily routine, but that’s a choice they made and decided to go after.  Most of them are NOT professional athletes, they have jobs and schedules and the like.  And yes, some of them have sponsors, but the point is that these aren’t people who are being paid to be in shape and that’s all they have to do.  Sometimes we act like “oh, they can do that because that’s what they do for a living,” as if we’re stuck in one position in our lives and can’t make a change because it’s “who we are.”  Well, they made who they are.  And we can, too.  We throw up obstacles for ourselves such as “I have kids,” or “I need to pay my mortgage,”  or “I spent all those years in college to become ‘X’ and it’d be a waste to give that up.”  Sometimes those mental hurdles are the hardest ones to get over.  For every Shriveled Richard/Arctic Enema obstacle out there, there are probably twenty excuses that go along with it.

The other thing that happened this weekend for me was that I got back together with the Ohio Mud Runners meetup.  This was an excuse that I made a while back after I’d started with this group before my wife’s swim coaching duties started up and I became what I refer to as the “Michelle Obama” of our team (doing a lot of the administrative work and taking care of the kids while she is at practice and meets).  I got busy and tired from long swim meets where all I did was sit around and babysit the kids and make sure they got to their events, and didn’t make the time to go to the meetup sessions at our local obstacle course park (yes, Columbus rules, we have this).

Since making my goal of qualifying for the OCR World Championships, I have put behind me some of those things.  Sure, we had a swim meet on Saturday, and I was there to help and watch my daughter and all her friends swim.  But I got up on Sunday and headed to the park to work out with like-minded people.  I made it a priority to train, and to associate with like-minded people who push me to be greater.  They’re younger than me, for the most part, but that’s okay because a big part of Mudlife Crisis is not accepting the number that age throws at you, but rather how you feel.

So this morning I was sore.  I hadn’t done the course for a while and we did three laps of it – at around 2400 ft per lap, it was just under a mile and a half of work.  And the obstacles are good ones – tire flips and tire steps, a tunnel, a really nice cargo net, balance logs, a low-crawl, monkey bars, over/under jumps and ducks, a wall, and a big pile of logs for balancing and jumping over/on to.  Lots of work that I needed and also needed to be reminded to do regularly.

I got up, shuffled downstairs, did my Animal Flow stretching, and now I feel much better.  Yet another reminder that movement is the best healer for a sore body.

And that’s a fantastic reminder to have every day – whether you just finished the World’s Toughest Mudder or a good workout with friends, static rest (not moving) is a bad way to recover.  Get up and walk.  Do some stretching/yoga/pilates. Crawl around a bit.  Hang from something.  Keep your body moving and work those kinks out.

So I apologize for the rambling post.  I had a lot of thoughts that I needed to get out today.  I suppose the key takeaways are:

Mental obstacles can be tougher than the physical ones but all obstacles are surmountable,

and keep moving. It’s what your body expects and requires.

And I’d be remiss without a word of thanks to the folks at Obstacle Racing Media for their coverage of WTM via Periscope, Twitter, and more.  Matt B. Davis and crew were amazing and their enthusiasm was infectious – made us feel like we were there participating in the festivities and having a great time.  Thanks for your motivation and dedication to the sport!

What did you do this weekend? How did it affect your mindset about your life?  Share below, and please share on social media!