Fitness Freak: Tough Mudder, Round Two

I think this photo is Gollum-esque, no?

So I am going to come out of the fitness closet now… I may have mentioned my love for exercise in between ramblings about lube and quinoa, but I am not sure how much I have stressed the fact that I love it. I don’t like to mention this too much because it seems to twist panties left and right, like when I talk about genuinely loving vegetables… But whatever, haters gon’ hate, and I like to get sweaty in the name of fitness on the regular. Get out of me with your judgements.

I get in sweat sessions 5 days a week, and without them, I would go insane. Not only does exercise help keep my ass in check but—more importantly—it keeps my depression at bay. I’m completely addicted to those feel-good endorphins, and I choose to get my kicks from long runs and yoga sessions instead of hard drug binges. Unfortunately, I am also extremely uncoordinated. Think baby giraffe with a stomach full of Jaegermeister. Just last week my boyfriend termed my general composure to be “doofy.” While I love to run, I am slow, and I am all knobby knees and elbows. Nobody wanted me on their team in gym class back in the 5th grade, and I’m pretty sure that would stand true today. So I stick with sports that require minimal coordination, while allowing me to focus solely on myself.

This is probably as bad ass as I’ll ever be…

However, I tested my coordination and sportsmanship (poor, and poor) last spring when I ran a Tough Mudder with a handful of my friends. Because who wants to bond like a normal group of friends and, say, go on vacation, when you can complete a 12 mile, 26 obstacle endurance test designed by the British Special Forces? Who wants to sip fruity cocktails and attempt to sleep with townies when you can wriggle under electric shock wires? Who wants to lay out on a beach when you can swim through dumpsters filled with ice and barbed wire? Not this girl, apparently.

I know I said I like to focus solely on myself, so the Tough Mudder took me out of my comfort zone in other ways too. You have to work together to get through it. It’s bonding. Bonding, I tell you!

There were seven of us all together, including my half-man, half-stallion of a boyfriend and my girl Sarah from Aside from my running and yoga addiction, and P’s muscle memory from his old track days, most of us hadn’t trained. Several were chain smokers. We were sort of an unlikely band of athletes…to further stress this, our team name was Booze Hounds.

I have never done anything so difficult, or so exhilarating. We trudged up a huge hill labeled the “Death March.” We propelled ourselves up and over a half-pipe. We hauled logs, belly crawled under barbed wire, and wiggled through two stretches of dangling live wires. We jumped off a towering platform into a frigid, swampy pond. But none of those obstacles could compare to my Biggest Fear Ever: The Monkey Bars.

Monkey bars? Am I intimidated by something the average 5th grader can do? You betcha. The TM monkey bar obstacle is a long stretch of bars that slant up, and then down. Have you ever tried doing monkey bars at an incline? It’s like doing a one handed pull-up. I can barely do a two handed pull-up. (I can’t, actually.) I had been dreading this for months. I stood there in absolute horror watching brahs with toddler-sized biceps falling into waist-high frigid water below. I didn’t stand a chance.

Then, I noticed some wily females around me tackling the bars differently. Using their legs, they would hold themselves horizontal and shimmy along like weird monkey-crabs. For the slowest three minutes of my life, I used my knees and—when my arms gave out—my elbows, to pull myself along. I have never been so proud of myself, ever, which sort of makes me wish I had just entered a lot of Tough Mudders instead of wrangling a degree in Creative Writing….

More than one way to fuck a monkey!

Despite the odds, all seven of us finished our Tough Mudder. One team-mate fell off a 15 foot wall and broke his tailbone. Channeling his inner Channing Tatum (the new Chuck Norris) he finished the course anyway.

After the event, we returned to our cozy Poconos lodge, every one of us walking like we just got nailed by an entire lacrosse team. After P worked up a victorious Jackson Pollock replica on my stomach, we settled into the hot tub to soak our battered limbs.

Mud runs are gaining in popularity, and I absolutely loved mine. I loved it so much, that I am doing another….THIS WEEKEND.

Wish me luck! And enjoy more muddy photos…

All smiles before…


pre-race snacking


Over Berlin walls!

Cute shit right there…

Roll under barbed wire!

Half pipe…

The walls sneakily get taller as you go through…

About the author  ⁄ Zoe

Zoe Eisenberg is an author, editor and filmmaker living on the big island of Hawaii. For more from Zoe, find her on Instagram @zoahu, Twitter @Sexytofublog, or check out her book, The Lusty Vegan, available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.


  • Reply
    October 17, 2012

    Good luck! I bet you own the course this time since it’s your second go around. I’m looking forward to participating in my first Tough Mudder in April 2013 so I really enjoyed your post!

  • Reply
    October 18, 2012

    Rock on!! I’ve done a Warrior Dash and a Mad-dog Mudder, both of which are only 5k (plus obstacles). I looked at the Tough Mudder and got frightened off a bit. Now, I am inspired! Your story is so awesome! My sister and I are going to go for one next summer- so excited! Thanks for sharing!! Please keep it up!

  • Reply
    October 18, 2012

    “More than one way to fuck a monkey!”

    I don’t know, that doesn’t sound very vegan to me…

    Good luck, but you won’t need it darling. You’re an inspiration!

  • Reply
    October 19, 2012

    That’s awesome. I keep looking at Warrior Dash, but I’m a candy-ass. Maybe I’ll finally grow a set amd sign up…

    • Reply
      October 19, 2012

      You could totally rock warrior dash!!! I have faith. During tough mudder they have a sign 3 miles in that says “if this was the warrior dash, you’d be done now.” bastards!

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