I’m going to help you to NOT make an ass of yourself at your first Tough Mudder.
Updated-February 23, 2017
If you’ve arrived at this post then one of these things applies to you:
You’re thinking about signing up for a Tough Mudder. You know EXACTLY what it is and your motto is ‘Bring it On, Tough Mudder. Aaarrgg!’ *ok, maybe you don’t do the pirate thing out loud, but you want to*
You already promised a friend to be on their Tough Mudder team, THEN you went online and typed in ‘Tough Mudder’ and your insides went all squishy and your anal sphincter did a weird twitchy thing that kind of scared you. And now you’re here trying to figure out, WTF is happening?
You’ve been thinking about doing something really hard for a while now and your not getting any younger, and hell, there were people in their 70’s doing that last half-marathon, you’ve got to step up your game. Besides, your pretty sure, you can do anything as long as you have enough time to do the research and make a plan.
Welcome to the party, each and every one of you!
I’m here to tell you that YES, ALL OF YOU CAN conquer a Tough Mudder. Don’t talk yourself out of it. Train like a beast and you’ll survive it. Because, afterall, that’s the goal at the Tough Mudder–to cross the finish line.
Now let me answer all your questions…
And pay attention to my UPDATES to this post that were added after doing my 2nd Tough Mudder!
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What course did I do?
Tough Mudder 1: Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, KY
Tough Mudder 2: Kentucky Speedway, Sparta, KY
While both TM’s I ran were at the same location, the course layout and obstacles were changed from the prior year. They honestly felt like two distinct events to me.
Who did I run with?
Tough Mudder 1
My husband and I were a team of two. (I recommend a larger team.)
My husband and one of my incredible sisters! (Eventually we’ll convince at least 5 or 6 people to conquer this thing with us).
How long did it take us to complete the course?
Good question…we were on the course for at least 4 hours but several things affect the time:
We arrived about 45 minutes before our official start time (you pick this at registration) because we were trying to see if we could start early, we ended up starting about 30 minutes AFTER the time we actually registered. That’s just how it is (or was for us, I can’t speak for every location).
You don’t run in-between obstacles but more or less jog so your pace isn’t the same as you may have trained at. You can attempt to run at a decent pace but beware of the terrain; I was very worried about twisting an ankle before we even made it to the first obstacle. I can’t speak for other locations but we were running through pasture a lot.
There are lines for some of the obstacles. We waited for up to ten minutes for a few of them.
Remember, you’re not being timed so why not relax and have fun? If you come in first place (or last place) no one cares. It’s all about finishing.
We ran our second Tough Mudder in June 2016. We were on the course roughly the same amount of time (4 hours). It wasn’t as crowded this time. I’m not sure why as we did the same course on the same day (a Sunday) as last time.
The number of people on the course didn’t seem to affect our time much. The course was laid out differently and there was less waiting at most of the obstacles but we walked more this time because the new course (compared to last year) was in rougher terrain (more pasture and woods), and we just couldn’t run without risk of injury.
Did we stay together?
Yes! Stay with your teammates. You’ll need their help on some of the obstacles. Seriously, you’ll gain nothing by showing your team how much faster you are. You’re missing the entire point of the Tough Mudder if you don’t stay with your friends/family and do it together.
What was the hardest obstacle?
Probably Electroshock. The anticipation of it had me all worked up and it was exactly what I expected. The shocks will knock you to your knees—over and over. It’s discombobulating (yes, I said that).
This was the last obstacle at our course (this could be true at every TM course, I’m not sure) so that helped. Who wants to skip the last obstacle after all that work??
I think the Berlin Walls were the hardest obstacle on my second Tough Mudder. I didn’t spend all day worried about being electrocuted and forgot that we had to scale those 2 giant walls. (This obstacle could accurately be renamed Crotch Cruncher. The structures are only a few inches wide on top. And after someone strong comes by and hoists you up there the only way over is to straddle them. Don’t envision straddling a horse, it’s more like hiking your leg over the top of a door. How did I forget that from last time??)
I’m pretty sure the Arctic Enema stopped my heart for a second. I wasn’t prepared for that.
I didn’t realize the level of my claustrophobia and taphophobia (look it up) until Birth Canal. (It looks harmless but it feels like there’s an elephant sitting on your back.)
The number of people wearing white. Wtf?
The Kentucky Tough Mudder people must have read my post because Birth Canal was a good 2 inches higher off the ground this time which meant a lot less weight pressing down on your back. It was a breeze on my second race.
Arctic Enema stopped my heart the second time, too. I almost skipped this obstacle but peer pressure got the best of me. There was a LOT more ice this time! WTH!? And I was petrified of my hair getting snagged on that fence you slide under. It’s kind of a big deal that I did this one again.
And I didn’t notice a lot of people in white in our second Tough Mudder. Maybe they all ran on Saturday.
Did I skip anything?
Yes, sadly, I did. I’m afraid of heights and by the time I got to the ledge of King of the Swingers (you jump off a platform and grab a trapeze bar that swings you to ring a bell and drop down into a pit) I completely chickened out.
Believe it or not I skipped King of the Swingers AGAIN. I suck. Why am I scared of heights?? I’m determined to do this thing eventually…
Don’t miss my next post (Tough Mudder FAQ’s Part Two) with answers to more TM Questions like:
- Did my training properly prepare me?
- What did I get Oh So RIGHT?
- What am I going to do different next time?
- What shoes did I wear?
- What should I bring with me on race day?
- Can I just train for the obstacles? Or just the run?
- What should I wear? Wait, I shouldn’t just wear an exercise bra and running shorts?
Trying to decide how to train for this thing? I can help you with that!
Please share my post with your fellow Tough Mudders! Thank you!
“Life is complicated. Fitness doesn’t have to be.”
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