Ready or Not: Tahoe Tough Mudder This Weekend


Before this summer, I had never run more than a mile at a time and thought a burpee was something only babies did. I am not an athlete. But this Sunday, I have to be.

In just over a day, I'll be joining five of my closest friends in what will perhaps be the most ridiculous challenge of our lives to date. For this, we blame Brian, who started obsessing about team-building activities earlier this year and got the harebrained idea that we'd all love to try a Tough Mudder—you know, that crazy obstacle course designed by the British Special Forces that tests "your all around strength, stamina, and mental grit." Clearly, persuasion is Brian's forte—by July, all of us suckers had signed up for the team.

So for the past three months, my life has been a series of boot camps, circuit trainings, yoga, pilates, lunchtime runs, bike rides, and strenuous weekend hikes. One night a few weeks ago, just as I settled into bed, my boyfriend whispered into my ear, "I think you need to add trail running to the mix," as if I wasn't already doing as much as I possibly could to prepare for the 11-mile, 28-obstacle course that is about to devour me this weekend. I didn't sleep all night.

The videos on the Tough Mudder website are designed to induce fear—fire runs, ice baths, eletro-shocking wires—and that they do. See for yourself.

What kind of monster-truck, meathead, frat party did we (a motley crew of the most un-fratty people you could meet) get ourselves into?

I'm stressed. I'm physically exhausted. And every time I think about the Tough Mudder, I feel a big, gaping pit in my stomach. All that, and the race hasn't even started yet. Sure, it's no Ironman, but it's going to take more strength, agility, and endurance than I think I have in me. Doomsday is looming—god help us, and please pass the valium.

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