I signed a death waiver Tuesday. It was my first, and maybe not my last. Why, you ask? A little old thing called a “Tough Mudder.”
The Tough Mudder is the premier adventure challenge series in the world. A Tough Mudder, such as the one I will be competing in Saturday, is a 12-mile physical torture zone encompassing 22 to 25 obstacles designed by the British Special Forces, including, but not limited to, 10,000-volt barbed wire, 20-foot trash bins of ice, trench tunnels and 12-foot walls. Oh, and not to mention everything on the course is slathered with Mudder’s signature mixture of mud and butter.
Why would anyone do this, you ask? Well, for one — it’s charitable. The organization has raised more than $5 million for The Wounded Warrior Project since it was founded in 2010. So basically, it’s like Dance Marathon on steroids. And besides, you get free beer at the end.
Reading this, you’re probably thinking I’m some crazy fitness rat in search of a fix. Read my theater review — I’m not. On the contrary, the phrase “good workout” always seemed an oxymoron to me. I didn’t see a shred of appeal in the scraping of the ab machines, the powdered rancidity of sorority girl sweat, the lingering burn even hours after a session. So when my two best girlfriends showed me the Tough Mudder signup page, I outright refused.
But then I thought about P-Wild, and how I’d hiked eight straight days on the Superior Trail in Michigan. I thought about the 3,000-foot mountains I’d climbed in New Zealand. I thought about my three years of Dance Marathon and the mental determination required to complete the fifth and sixth blocks. And I decided this is just one more thing I can do.
So, for the last five months I’ve been on a training schedule and a high-protein diet. I’ve had a reason to buy running sneakers for the first time since high school gym class. I’ve been stalking the Mudder website, reading blogs from Mudder champions and sneaking in push-ups wherever I can. I was especially excited when I saw it listed in Marie Claire as the “New Workout Craze.” For once, I’m trendy!
On Friday, my team of six (including my older sister) will binge on pasta, dye our hair hot pink and watch ass-kicking-girl movies until we pass out. On Saturday, we’re waking up at 7 a.m. to get to Seneca, Ill., where we’ll put our lives on the line for some good, dirty fun.
The Tough Mudder motivated me to get fit in a way I never would have on my own. And this wasn’t about losing weight — it was about being able to see myself as a strong, determined, go-getting woman who can add a Tough Mudder to her (hopefully) long list of accomplishments. I highly encourage anyone and everyone to sign up for a Tough Mudder: There’s one in Michigan on June 29. It will ignite your sense of adventure in a way that is nearly impossible during the daily tread of Northwestern life.
Most importantly, it will make you feel invincible — a feeling each and every one of us desperately needs.
Get tough! Get muddered!