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.
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 SarahOnTheGo.com. 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….
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…