I did it!! With a rush of adrenaline, determination, perseverance, I faced my fears, pushed my body to its limits, survived, earned my orange headband and am pretty damn proud of it! All those hours of training have paid off and from that comes a real sense of satisfaction which only a fellow Mudder can understand. Every time I told my friends and family that I’d be swimming through ice cold water, getting muddy, electrically shocked, and crawling under barbed wires, they all thought I was crazy and just paying to get tortured (there may be some truth in that). I wasn’t in it alone. I got to experience this crazy adventure with my boyfriend PJ and 28 other hardcore motivated people on my friend Jennifer’s Make It Happen team from St. Catharines.
Tough Mudder is a challenging 20-km military-style course with 19 obstacle courses scattered in between. In support of Wounded Warriors, a program that supports military veterans who have been hurt in the line of duty, these events have been held around the world and claims to be the most difficult event in the world. Our event was held at the Mount St. Louis Moonstone ski resort near Barrie.
My journey leading up to Tough Mudder was not the easiest. Both the training, dealing with my time constraints, and the week leading up to the actual event being one of the most draining weeks I’ve had in a while. I was working on a panic job for a bathroom tissue commercial shoot which had to get done before I left town.
I worked til 1am almost every night except Friday so sleep was definitely lacking and my immune system was not at its best. Wednesday I got sick with a sore throat and slight headache. Friday was a mad scramble to get rashguard tops and a waterproof camera to use during the Tough Mudder (hey, if there weren’t any pics, it didn’t happen!). I walked my absolute fastest to get to the Quiksilver store on Queen St, which only took me 15mins from my office (shaved 5 mins! – a new record for me!), got a great deal on the tops – $20 on sale!! (regularly $40), ran to Best Buy by the Eaton Centre, then made my way back via streetcar to finish up my work for the evening. That literally felt like an obstacle course. Worked til about 9pm, headed home for dinner.
10:15pm – I was all packed and ready to go after my 70+ hour work week! At this point, my goal was to just survive and finish Tough Mudder.
10:30pm – we gassed up before the long drive ahead. Thanks PJ for driving while I slept!!
12:30am – Arrived at the lodge and found that they had closed for the night (no fancy concierge service here!) so after looking up/calling nearby hotels with the GPS & iPhone, contemplating on whether to sleep in the car for the few hours left in the night or to check into a motel, we opted for the motel. Sadly, it was the ONLY place we could find that was not fully booked so we took our chances, checked into the sketchy looking motel past 2am, got our 5 hours of sleep and were out the door before 8am.
GAME DAY! – And so the pre-mudder obstacle course begins…
8:00am – We spent a good portion of our morning driving to the offsite parking lot for Tough Mudder. Of course, with so many people (i think 9000) people running that day, we were faced with extremely heavy traffic and there was no way we were about to make it to our 10am start time. Upon our arrival there, we had to line up for a school bus that was to take us to Mt. St. Louis Moonstone. The Tough Mudder battleground!
To help speed things along, we figured it’d be a good idea to get on the first bus in the line so we would stand a chance of getting there faster. The bus ride there could’ve officially counted as the first obstacle course. As we got on the bus, our bus driver said out loud ‘I have NO IDEA where I’m going!’ Those of us who heard her, chuckled and were all pretty sure that she was just being sarcastic but little did we know we were in for a ride as we helped guide her to the battleground using our iphone google maps.
Upon our arrival, we quickly met up with the rest of our team, changed into our team uniforms and were all set to go!
We had no idea what we were in for until we got on the obstacle course. This event is not your traditional race but more of a personal test of mental toughness and team work.
At the starting line, Tough Mudders all take a pledge before the event starts to look out for one another, and to help others regardless of what team you’re on. Certain obstacles would not be possible without the help of fellow mudders, like getting over a wall and climbing over a huge cargo net, everyone was encouraged to help one another. One of our team mates fell and got carried down a hill by a total stranger.
We experienced everything here. We began the course with climbing over a wall, which was easy (of course I spoke too soon, ’cause the next 2 walls got progressively higher and tougher to climb over). We crawled through mud, dark tunnels, under barbed wires, through tunnels, got immersed in ice cold water (there was literally ice in there!…though by the time we got there a lot had melted and it was quite muddy), and got to haul a huge log up a hill. Oh, and lets not forget slithering through water with the risk of getting shocked by electrical wiring that can give a shock of up to 10,000 volts!
This course isn’t for the faint of heart, thats for sure. It will force you out of your comfort zone, test your will, and maybe even punish your body a bit. Jumping off a plank into muddy water and swinging over/climbing monkey bars across a body of water to name a couple. I unfortunately didn’t make it across so fell into the water and accidentally swallowed the toxic water of the thousands of people who had passed through the course. Eeek! I also got really sick afterwards, must’ve been something in the water.
Running up and down Mount St. Louis’ unforgiving black diamond ski hills was quite the challenge. I’ve only been here in the winter season to snowboard DOWN these hills, so this was totally different. Just when you thought you’ve climbed your last mountain, there was always another one around the corner!
The grand finale was when I got my second wind and felt the endorphins rushing. The second last obstacle was Everest, a quarter pipe that you have to sprint up and rely on the help of fellow Mudders to help you get on top. To make it more challenging, it was coated in mud and grease! PJ ran up first then grabbed my hand and helped me up. We both got up on the first try which made it even more amazing! Nobody on our team was left behind. It was camaraderie in the truest sense, we even helped others who were not on our team get up over the edge.
After that, we had one last obstacle – Electroshock Therapy, which was essentially a sprint through a field of live wires and mud before the finish line. No strategy here, we both just ran our fastest through the field. I got shocked a few times along the way but all was good because the finish line was right in front of me. We ran past the finish line and were crowned with our official Tough Mudder orange head bands. It was definitely a proud moment. I felt invincible and finishing the Tough Mudder gave me this insatiable feeling that if I can do this, I can do anything!
Now that it’s over, I can check Tough Mudder off my bucket list and move onto some new and exciting events this year.
Below is a photo/video montage of our team’s experience at Tough Mudder Toronto: