12 Miles + Arctic Enema = Tough Mudder

It is official – I am a Tough Mudder. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and the scrapes, bruises, sore muscles, and a limp).

I don’t normally blog about my non-DIY or renovation stuff, but this was such an incredible experience, I just have to share it. The Tough Mudder (click for link to their site) is a hardcore obstacle course designed by British special forces, with 12 miles of running and 24 obstacles to overcome. It is not for everyone, and I have been told that only 70% of participants who start the race finish it. For example, you have to climb a wall to even get to the START line, and then an emcee takes you through a pretty awesome pep talk. The proceeds to go the Wounded Warrior project, which is a most deserving organization providing real and meaningful assistance to our wounded veterans. Military members are stationed throughout the course, providing information, assistance, and encouragement. The Tough Mudder is not a race – it is a test of endurance, requiring teamwork, not only with your own team, but with everyone else on the course. The sense of comraderie was really uplifting.

The Boy ran the Tough Mudder last year, and I spectated, along with some good friends.

Tough Mudder 2011 (The Boy shown on right)

We enjoyed it so much that we vowed to do it this year. Boy has this past year flown by! Before I knew it, we were 8 weeks out from the race and I had not trained AT ALL. I started running, and downloaded a couch to 10K app on my phone, which really helped. Going into the race, I could run 6 miles with no soreness the next day, but I didn’t do much upper body work aside from the random push ups here and there. We were a team of five – two women and three men. Two of the guys were regular runners (not sure how much training they did, but they rocked), and the couple had been doing Cross Fit for a while (along with running). We all agreed that no matter what – walking, limping, hunger, exhaustion, muscle cramps – we would cross that finish line together. (Spoiler alert: we did!!)


Here we are at the start of the race. I was really excited, and just hoping I could keep up with everyone. Costumes are encouraged, so I wore my bikini.  It was quite a hit, and got a lot of comments, until I got so muddy that no one could tell what it was anymore, which didn’t take long. Sighted along the course: a guy in nothing but a speedo and panda head, a girl dressed as a giraffe (with minimal clothing and lots of body paint), a guy in a banana costume (receiving first aid at the station where they hand out bananas = amazing), girls wearing fancy panties outside of their running shorts, and lots of military uniforms.

Here we are at the start of the race, so energetic and naive:

Mile 1

The guy in the yellow shirt and the guy next to him in white were my teammates, and I am behind them. I cannot find Stephanie and Justin in this picture, but they were there! The obstacles consist of giant walls, mud ditches, electrified wires (I got zapped!), barbed wire, two story drop into cold water, tunnels, monkey bars, log carrying, lots of cold water, and did I mention MUD?

Chunking up the Deuces (a/k/a Mile 2)

Climbing log walls.

The arctic enema (a dumpster full of ice water that was about 34 degrees – you have to jump in, swim UNDER a board, and get out on the other side) is the only obstacle I was really truly dreading. I am a baby about getting into the pool when it is below 80 degrees, so it is safe to say I don’t enjoy water that others may find “refreshing.” It is difficult to explain the sensation of jumping into water that is just above freezing, having to submerge yourself, and then coaching your seized muscles through the process of moving to get out. It was exactly as others had described, but until you do it, it is impossible to understand. I survived, but I don’t recommend it! Brr. Here we are post-Arctic Enema:

It was a muscle pose – what is Justin (on right) doing??

The monkey bars were tough, because they were very slippery and hard to grip. Both girls fell, but all of the boys made it through. Here is a great lapse of Justin getting all the way across:

He’s up!

Going …

Going …

Almost there!

Boom goes the dynamite!

Right before the monkey bars, around mile 8 or 9, my right foot cramped and locked up on me. It was incredibly painful, but I powered through. Other team members had muscle cramps, aches, and pains they had to push through, but we were lucky enough to have no real injuries. Our only close call was me (the clumsy one, of course), trying to climb a wall. I grabbed a plank up high, but then my foot slipped off the tiny ledge, and I fell. This would have been fine, except my glove got caught up high and was ripped off of me in a painful de-gloving. I am sore today and my left arm hurts, but it is nothing serious. I was surprised that I was able to run as much of it as I did. I can barely walk today, but it was totally worth it.


I know nothing about the free beer I earned when we finished, except that it was the most delicious beer I have ever tasted. I am still hobbling on my sore foot, every other muscle in my body hurts, getting out of bed is painful, and yet I can’t wait to do it again! In fact, I have already signed up for another mud run, and I will share those details soon. The Boy gets tons of credit for being the pack mule all day, walking many miles from obstacle to obstacle trying to locate and photograph us, while trying to coordinate with other family members. Thanks, The Boy!

My bib is the much cleaner one.

We are officially a two Mudder household. This works as theft deterrent, because I am sure if anyone breaks into our house, they will see these two bibs and know that two people who shouldn’t be messed with live in this house, and run screaming.

7 thoughts on “12 Miles + Arctic Enema = Tough Mudder

  1. You rock Jackie!!!! Next time you and Tony should do it together :) Actually, let me know about the next one in advance and Tay and I would love to be on your team!!!

  2. Well done!! This post was super inspiring (though I’m not sure if I’m feeling inspired to go work out like a beast or to cling to the comfort of my couch and never, ever let go).

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