In September, I did my first Tough Mudder with my friend Andy who made this awesome video. We both loved it, here's why:
It’s more about fun than toughness
Don’t get me wrong, the day after Tough Mudder I woke up feeling battered and bruised all over. Not only had Andy and I run 13 miles, we’d also fought our way over, through, under and into 20 crazy obstacles which hurt a lot! Throughout the course I saw people smiling, laughing, high-fiving, falling over and picking themselves up, dancing and generally enjoying themselves. It’s a tough event but if you come armed with a smile you’ll remember how much fun it was more than anything else.
It’s really muddy
I know this might sound obvious, but it’s the deepest, thickest, stickest, can’t-wash-it-off-my-clothes mud I’d ever seen. I loved it. Ever since I was born I’ve always loved getting wet and muddy. I would roll around in puddles as a child and as an adult I trained with British Military Fitness in London’s parks where they encourage you to get wet and muddy; “If it ain’t raining, it ain’t training!”
Without TEAM, there’s no way to get from the start to finish. From the moment we arrived at the event, we felt part of the tribe. I put war paint on my face, held my hand on my heart and took the TM pledge, jumped up and down in the warm up to Bon Jovi and that’s all before the gun goes off. Out on the course many of the obstacles require a partner; piggy backing, carrying 12ft logs, climbing up slippery slopes and generally having someone else to share the “OH-EM-GEE what the hell was that?” moments with, made it all worthwhile.
It’s all about the moments.
Be ready for anything. If you come armed with a smile and no expectations, you’ll be ready for whatever TM throws at you. Expect shock and surprise. Pain and laughter. Tears and smiles. Tiredness and a second wind. Downhill slides and uphill slogs. There’s more colour and variety in few hours out on the course than perhaps we could fully absorb. The challenge is to embrace every moment as it comes, to laugh at the craziness and cry at the pain. It’s all part of it!
The positive vibes rock
I worry that we can be too judgemental in the world of fitness and sport. I often hear people critising another person’s plans saying they are doing too much or too little, they are not fit enough or going to injure themselves. It doesn’t matter whether we approve of someone else’s plans or not. It doesn’t matter if completing a TM is the hardest thing one person has done or a walk in the park for another person. What matters is that people are getting out there and doing SOMETHING! I’m a huge believer in supporting everyone who is doing something positive regardless of their motivation or ability.
Sharing the TM course with 20,000 people all different shapes, sizes, ages and fitness abilities was nothing short of inspiring. It was a hugely positive experience because everyone was getting stuck in and giving it their best shot. We loved it, the TM crew loved it, even the sun was shining so brightly on us it felt like a summer’s day. I will always support anyone who wants to create positive, empowering experiences for themselves as much as I welcome such experiences into my life.
Oh and finally, there's free beer at the finish!