Are You Tough Enough?

Not too long ago I had lunch with a fellow who had just completed an incredibly grueling 12 mile race filled with nasty obstacles, lots of mud, barbed wire, and even electricity!  It sounded so taxing and hard that I couldn’t wait to sign up and do it myself.  So started my journey to the Tough Mudder!

Come to find out the guy I had lunch with was friends with another fellow I knew who had just completed the same race.  In fact they were teammates and completed the race together.  Well they were kind enough to include me when registrations opened up for the next Texas event and I made the commitment and paid for my registration.

So began four months of training and preparation!  During that time I learned about Watch Me How and became a huge fan of the initiative.  Bill Tinsley, founder of Watch Me How, became my training partner and helped to keep me motivated and excited as we prepared for Tough Mudder – Austin, TX 2012!  We hit the Tough Mudder Circuit Training about 2 to 3 times per week.  There was also lots of running and elliptical workouts to get cardio conditioned.  Our workouts even occasionally inspired others to join us and help us along with our training.   We also competed in some local fun runs as we prepared for the big event.

During this time I also started using the Livestrong Calorie Counter to track what I was eating each day.  The consistent workouts and the monitoring of what I was eating led to some fairly impressive weight loss……22 pounds over three months!  My body was looking better and my enthusiasm grew by the day.

Finally the event weekend arrived!  I headed to Austin with my support crew (Amber, Grace & Knox) and met up with the rest of my TM team….Bill Tinsley, Scott Haire, Stan Crawford, and Steve Collier.   The atmosphere on-site was incredible…energy could be felt everywhere as wave upon wave of competitors descended on the event site.

 
There were approximately 15,000 competitors that started racing in heats every 15-minutes over a two day period.  Some had some “interesting” costumes….to say the least!
 
We ran together as a team and trudged through dirt, mud, ponds, ice water (yep….and had to swim under water in an ice-cold water pit), and more.  There was low-crawling through mud with barbed wire above us……there was crawling through dark tunnels filled with muddy water……there was climbing over nets, 25-foot hay bale structures, and downed logs.  Speaking of logs….we got to carry logs over our heads for about ¼ mile.
 
And at Mile 10 we got to attempt to cross a large pool of water while navigating across a huge A-Frame monkey bar obstacle…..not easy after 10 miles of running!!
Then I saw one of the most inspirational things of the day at Mile 11.  I was running and noticed a lady running and wearing a hair net (old lady style).  I looked over at her and sure enough….she was easily in her 70’s…..just running along and smiling!  I heard the crowd yelling to her, “You are my inspiration” as we crossed the next muddy obstacle….that was awesome!
Then it was time for the two last obstacles….Everest, a 12 foot half-pipe wall that is slick with mud (and sometimes cooking oil), and then the dreaded curtain of electricity.  We made it through Everest with relative ease thanks to the many Tough Mudder competitors that readily help other competitors to navigate the obstacles. 
But the curtain of electricity was another issue.  After mustering the courage to run through I felt one….then two….then three shocks…..then four….then FIVE that finally knocked me to my knees!  Luckily when I stood up I was out of the electrodes and staring at the finish line.  What an AMAZING feeling of accomplishment!  As is customary at the Tough Mudder events I was handed the coveted orange finisher headband and a cold Dos XX beer!  That was certainly the hardest earned beer I have ever received!
 
Now I can’t wait for the next TM event.  I am planning on doing three races in 2013.  My fiancée has already committed to join our team for the 2013 races.  My awesome kids can’t wait to turn 18 so they can join the fun.  My question to you is, ARE YOU TOUGH ENOUGH?
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