My friend Emmy is a great runner and always up to try anything once. That said, I was blown away when she intentionally signed up for a Tough Mudder in Vermont. This is the same girl who once nearly died in a 10 mile trail run and came out covered in forest. Nonetheless, she’s been working hard to get ready for the run (and just did a marathon a few weeks ago) so I headed down to Mount Snow to see her.
In full disclosure, I assumed that the course would be sort of showy, but not really that hard. Wrong. It took me 30 seconds to realize that they were not messing around when I saw this particular section of the course:
In case you can’t quite tell, people are marching up a snowy, muddy mountain. While being sprayed with firehoses. At Mile 8.
Just before that was this delightful puddle of mud:
Although it was hard to tell people apart after the first few minutes as everyone was wet and muddy, I did finally get to see Emmy and the rest of her team around mile 7, then stuck with them over the next few obstacles before running to the finish to see them get electrocuted and finally earn their orange headbands.
While it’s not my cup of tea (nor would I be able to live through it), it was a blast to watch and a totally different experience from many races. Whereas at a road race, it’s each person to themselves, Tough Mudder required teamwork and general decency from perfect strangers racing next to you. It also gave me some perspective going into taper/VCM. No matter how much I hurt, at least I’m not jumping into ice cold water or getting electrocuted 10 feet from the finish line. So there’s that…