Last Saturday it was up at 5:30am to hit the road up to Whistler to participate in my very first ever Tough Mudder and it really was a lot of fun! It wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it was be, it was more like being a kid again, playing in mud, running, crawling and climbing! So much fun! This was definitely the most adventurous event I’ve ever signed up for but once you’re out on the course it’s just fun, fun, fun! Aside from painfully getting out of the freezing “Arctic Enema” I was never cold, never scared and not once did I regret my decision to participate.
Although I was looking forward to a sunny, beautiful weekend in Whistler I think the cooler temperatures were actually perfect for the event. It wasn’t too hot, but wasn’t so cold that we ran into any trouble staying warm. I think the event was very well organized for the sheer number of participants they had to deal with. Both registration and baggage check were a breeze and we didn’t wait more than a few minutes before we were set and ready to start!
By far my most favourite obstacle was the “Mile of Mud” which involved climbing over small hills and down into big pits of mud. By the time we reached the end I don’t think I’d been so dirty in my entire life….awesome. The worst of the worst obstacle for me was the “Arctic Enema.” I was most dreading going through this one and it definitely lived up to my dread. If it was much longer than the short 10 feet I don’t think I would have made it. It involved jumping into a bin of ice and passing under a barrier and out the other side.
I was surprised how heavy the ice was and how difficult it was to move through it. I actually thought I was still under the barrier when I began surfacing on the other side. There isn’t much you can do to train for this, it’s just cold and awful, but at least it’s over quickly! I’m so glad it was the second obstacle, I don’t think I would have been getting in there if it had have been placed near the end.
I knew I wouldn’t be able to complete the “Funky Monkey” obstacle, which are monkey bars over water, but I didn’t want to go around so I just hung onto the first two rungs and then dropped into the water below and swam across. The big structure we had to climb over kind of freaked me out but I up and over I went, even encouraging a few other participants on my way. I had worked up a lot of the obstacles in my head but in the end they were totally fine and I really enjoyed going through all of them.
Don’t worry too much about the electric shock obstacles, yes they hurt but it’s not unbearable. The Electric Eel was actually pretty fun, I took a running leap and slid half way across then scrambled as quickly as I could out of there. I think I took 2 or 3 shocks, and they were shocking! The last obstacle was the run through ElectroShock Therapy and it was more of a mental challenge than anything but once I went for it, it was over in a flash with just a few shocks to the system.
As for what to wear you definitely don’t need gloves and just any old shoes will do. I wore spandex capris, a tank top and a long sleeve running shirt over top. I would recommend keeping your arms covered to protect yourself from snow, barbed wire and climbing over logs.
I didn’t really train specifically for this event and if you’re in good shape I don’t think you really need to. I’d say the best training you can do is trail running and hiking, simulating obstacles by stopping for exercises like push-ups, planks and burpees. Of course, the better shape you’re in, the more fun you’re going to have out there!
I think you should be able to comfortably run 10km and the more hills you can climb the better. Bear crawls are a great exercise to practice, it will help you shimmy through the trenches. I do a lot of conditioning workouts, high-intensity intervals, kettlebell and barbell exercises, bodyweight exercises and of course, basics like squats and deadlifts – all of which will help you prepare for Tough Mudder. The obstacles are all so short that you should be able to get through them without too much trouble. Endurance is key and good overall conditioning will mean you’ll enjoy yourself out there and actually feel good the next day!
My husband and I started the course just after 10am and finished just after 1pm. It was 3 hours of hard work and a lot of laughs. We were chatting and laughing most of the way but I was more than happy to reach the end, at 18km it was a long course. I would highly recommend giving Tough Mudder a try. Honestly, I’m not sure if I’ll do it again just because I like racing, being timed and competing against myself. Tough Mudder is just for fun and we had to wait at each obstacle to take our turn, so there is no need to worry about your time. The atmosphere on the course was awesome, everyone seemed to be having a great time. There were some hilarious costumes out here, how they completed 18km of climbing through ice, mud and jumping over fire in them, I’ll never know!
All in all it was an awesome day, with a delicious tasting beer at the finish line and pretty much the best hot shower of my life.
Have you particpated in Tough Mudder? What your your favourite and least favourite obstacles?