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Big Mudder Is Watching You…

November 22, 2010

“What… in the HELL… was I thinking.”

Just in case you were curious as to what I thought after watching the Tough Mudder for 4 hours last Sunday… well, that was it.  My Mudder is approx. 330 days away… practically a year out.  I am in no way ready yet… but I will be.  Now, it looked tough on the website for sure.  I absolutely knew it was going to be something to challenge me mentally and physically.  But what I simply witnessed these people do, live and in person… well, there are a ton of words to describe what I felt:  awestruck, embarrassed, inspired, humbled, excited, terrified… I felt each of those at least once during the few hours we spent watching these machines disguised as humans tackle this course.

It was like Terminator training… seriously, it’s like they lined up a young John Connor and said “get ’em!” and these alpha dogs just take off and will do anything, with complete disregard to human life, to catch him at the finish line.  Seriously intimidating.  But – what I want to do with this blog is tell people exactly what I thought was great and where my areas of concern are (yes, I promise I did not take any negatives away from this… but my eyes were definitely opened to a few things I didn’t realize beforehand)

Let’s start with the glass half-empty…


AREAS OF CONCERN

People have NO idea what they are in for – About 30 minutes before the start of the first wave, Nancy (yes, La Diabla and I are still speaking after the Halloween race… and we are running again on Thanksgiving!  Click here if you wanna join us – it’s in Princeton) looks at me and says ‘did you hear what those girls just said?’  I did not… so she tells me:

“If we can’t complete this then we DEFINITELY can’t run a 5K.”

Let that marinate for a minute.  The Mudder we attended is, I believe, the longest course they have.  It was 12 miles long – about a mile short of a HALF MARATHON.  Now throw in 18 obstacles.  These girls think that a 3.2 mile run is more difficult than doing this.  The event starts out with a 1.2 mile run… and that’s before any obstacle whatsoever.  ARE YOU F**KIN’ KIDDING ME?!?!

And these girls were not alone.  There were clearly people that, once they took in what they were about to do, were terrified.  I mean, you could see the doubt in their faces.  Real, genuine fear.  And I will tell you this:  this race is less about physical endurance then it is about mental toughness.  There were a LOT of people not mentally ready for what they were about to do.  For everyone looking at possibly doing this with me in October, I suggest watching this video to gain an understanding.  I really want a lot of people to do this with me, but what I DON’T want is people to think they are gonna hop off the couch on Friday and make this happen on Saturday.  You need to be prepared – as much physically as you would be mentally.

It’s organized chaos – If you’re not gonna actually DO the Mudder w/ me and my friends that are doing it (Oliver and Scotty are definites, my bro, Joe and Heather all say they’re in – but until they pay the entry fee let’s chalk ’em up as “maybes” – along with some people still deciding whether fire and water obstacles are up their alley), I would love for you to come out and support us.  BUT, when you do, please note a few things:  there’s A LOT of walking (I would say Nancy and I walked about 3.5 – 4 miles yesterday looking at the various obstacles) and you’re in and out of the actual Mudder course (there really is no spectator sections per se) so you need to dress comfy and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Don’t be the fat guy goading the Mudders on – First and foremost, I’m not referring to myself.  These Mudders completely intimidated me from the beginning… once I do it I will feel completely different but, for those few hours, I was scared as hell.  However, there was this one dude holding up a sign that he thought was funny… personally, I thought it could have been funny – but only if you were in great shape.  This guy?  Definitley not in great shape.  So… here is the sign in question:

Faces blurred :)… and he gave the sign to her.  Wonder why?

 Now, like I said, it has the potential to be funny.  Like, if Meb Keflezighi was watching this and holding it up?  VERY funny.  But a Zach Galifinakis look-alike?  Not really.  And the Mudders let him know it too – ‘put on some shorts, fat ass’… ‘I hope I see that dick after we’re done’… ‘I wish I wouldn’t get kicked out for accidentally running into his ass’ were just some of the comments I heard from runners as they passed him.  Now, whatever possessed him to have this sign is beyond me.  But… what I can tell you?  Many of the racers weren’t amused.  Lesson learned.

* Dress smart – You must wear shoes the whole time, and you NEED to wear gloves.  Both of these items WILL GET WET and will get wet very early on in the 2.5 – 3 hour event.  In other words – make sure you wear the smartest possible clothing and plan on never wearing it again.  I’ve already decided that these will be the shoes I’m wearing – Vibram Five Fingers.  They are perfect for this type of event, but you need to be ready b/c these don’t have the cushioning and support that your X-trainers have.  I’m gonna get mine after the holidays and start working with them then.  Also, I’m buying sleek work gloves from Home Depot – similar to these.  They’ll dry quickly and have great grip on them – and are durable as well!  Lastly, It’s compression gear for me… shorts, compression tee and that’s probably about it (unless we agree to a theme… just keep reading!).  This isn’t a fashion show (unless we agree to a theme… just keep reading!) and you’ll probably just throw your clothes out at the end… so don’t worry about rockin’ a cool outfit.  No ones cares.  Trust me.

POSITIVES

The pics may fool you, but this is FUN! – They don’t keep time for this event.  It’s all about challenging yourself, teamwork and camraderie.  That’s it.  And we’re doing this together… we’re gonna go as slow as the slowest person on our team goes (ie: me!).  It’s all about finishing.  And pretty much everyone knows that – complete strangers will be helping us, and we will be doing the same for them.  It’s just how it works – and it’s fantastic!

Seeing is believing – I can not tell you how happy I am that I was actually able to see one in-person.  All the pictures in the world can’t prepare you for what you see when it’s live.  There is pain.  Exhilaration.  Perseverance.  Anguish.  Disappointment.  It’s all there.  I was telling Nancy that I don’t know what I would do if I worked at this goal for 16 months only to twist my ankle going over a wall and get knocked out after a mile and a half.  I think I would be devastated.  But – the fact that I was able to take it in live really brought a ‘first person’ feel to what I’m doing, even though I wasn’t involved at all as a spectator.

* My team WILL have a theme… and it will be awesome – I already have the idea I would LOVE to do – Old School WWF Wrestlers.  Seriously, how fun would it be to have the Ultimate Warrior, Hulk Hogan, Brutus The Barber Beefcake, Superfly Jimmy Snuka, Miss Elizabeth and the Macho Man all doing the Mudder?  I know what I wanna do (it will require a partner for the best effect), and my bro called dibs on The Ultimate Warrior… well, because he is built like The Ultimate Warrior, but I think we all could have a load of fun with that theme.  I’m open to anything, but we need to have one, because then we will get in the most pictures.  And isn’t the goal of this to be immortalized as Mudder celebrities?  🙂

No matter how scary it was… I’m not scared away –  While watching, I went through all the emotions I listed in the beginning and, as we were walking out… I will be very honest with all of you… I thought about not doing it.  My mind is still that of a 338 pound man so I simply can’t comprehend how I am gonna do this.  I was self-conscious the whole time I was there surrounded by essentially the entire cast of ‘300’.  But, as Nancy and I discussed it more and more… I really started to get fired up.  I remember it was a goal.  I’m not gonna do this next week… I have a YEAR to get ready for it.  Honsetly – if I can’t get prepared for this in that much time, I have much deeper issues than losing a few pounds and trying to get healthy.  For real.  I have friends committed to doing this not only for themselves but to support me and see me reach my goal – with more people to follow.  It’s gonna happen… I just need to refocus that fear into something a bit more positive – MOTIVATION.

Lastly, I wanna leave you with a few links:

Click here to ‘like’ the Tough Mudder Event Series page and see the professional pictures that were taken… WAY better than mine in this post.

Click here to get information on the Tough Mudder I will be doing (the Tough Mudder Mid-Atlantic) next October.  You should definitely join us… 🙂

Click here to friend me and/ or view all of my photos from the Mudder (all photos in this blog from the Mudder are ones I took.)

Click here for a first-person review of the Mudder I attended.

As always… thanks for reading 🙂

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