I thought it would be fun to share some thoughts and a recap from Matt (my fiancÃ©) since he just completed the 11+ mile Tough Mudder race on Saturday!
If you haven’t heard of it before, the Tough Mudder is basically the big daddy of all mud/obstacle races — they range from 10 to 12 miles and in addition to running they include numerous obstacles designed to challenge you both physically and mentally.
I definitely want to challenge myself to do one of these next year — Matt said the obstacles were similar to the 5k and 10k mud runs we’ve done together before in the past, but just a little bit harder, and of course the whole event is a lot longer and more grueling. If our wedding hadn’t been a month after this Tough Mudder and another girl was on board I would definitely have joined them — I was worried I’d break my ankle or something and end up hobbling down the aisle. Matt said someone in front of them actually did break his foot along the course — yikes!
One of the best things about these kinds of races is the team work. It’s not even timed and the main goal is to finish, so everyone is encouraged to help out those around them and especially their own team members. Matt ran the race with 5 other of his guy friends and they all stuck together the whole time, especially because most obstacles you could not do on your own — you need a team and/or others to assist.
If you’re doing one of these races (or even just running alone frequently), you might want to invest in some sort of ID bracelet in case you get hurt — the folks at ICEdot sent me some complimentary bands a couple months ago so I had Matt register himself and wear one for the race, just in case. ICEdot is an emergency identification and notification system (your band has a PIN number on it that’s associated with your emergency contact info profile that you create online); ICE stands for In Case of Emergency, so responders will see that and know what it’s for.
I’ll let Matt take over from here. Here’s what he had to say about the Tough Mudder!
- Awesome time, but actually harder than I thought it would be.
- If I could train all over, I’d do more trail running, but I thought my upper body and distance training (running endurance) were about right. Each week, I did 1 to 2 days of Crossfit, 1 day of soccer (I’m on a local men’s league), and 1 long run (made my way up to 9 miles).
- Try to do one where they have done it before. The one in Frederick (MD) was a logistical nightmare — they ended up pushing back start times and even cancelling Sunday’s run due to permit/logistic issues. We got lucky with parking (and the fact that we ran on Saturday), but many sat in traffic for 2+ hours.
- A waterproof camera stored in a SPIbelt was awesome! (I used Anne’s Kodak waterproof digital camera — it’s a tank and has lasted through numerous mud runs, kayaking trips, etc.)
- Hydrate 48 hours ahead of time and bring fuel that will up your potassium and/or electrolytes — I saw a lot of people stretching out calf’s due to cramping (myself included) around the 8-11 mile markers. The race did provide a fair amount of water stops with some fuel though (gels and bananas) and I brought some sport beans with me that Anne had.
- The infamous Tough Mudder ice bath was pretty brutal, but it was over so quick I didn’t mind. (It was also the very first obstacle!)
- The electricity obstacles actually hurt. They aren’t messing around. (One of the obstacles had live wires you ran through!)
- The hardest obstacle was the "mud mile,” which was just muddy mounds with mud/water in between. It was so slippery it was like trying to climb dirty ice. This was the obstacle where someone broke their foot and others had leg cramping issues.
All in all, I’m definitely going to do another one! In the meantime, I’d like to do some 10k mud runs or others with a similar distance to keep up the fitness. It’s my kind of exercise and it makes you feel like a kid again… a bad-a$$ kid.
Thanks to Matt for sharing his thoughts, and congrats to him and his buddies for successfully dominating the Tough Mudder! I’m impressed.
Have you ever done a mud run? They’re a blast! Here are recaps from the previous mud runs that I’ve done. These posts (and the photos that accompany them) are seriously among my favorite on the blog.