Wet denim, duct tape, and electrocution…these are a few of my favorite things

Today’s beverage: canned wine – the greatest invention since boxed wine. One can is half a bottle of wine so let’s see how this goes.

Alright, alright calm down. The title isn’t referring to what you think…unless you think it’s sexual. Because it’s sexual. *wink*

KIDDING! It’s about my favorite yearly athletic event, fresh off the COVID reserve list and coming to a ski mountain or abandoned farmland near you.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Tough Mudder is back!!

After a year-long hiatus, the event is back on the calendar, and I have to say, June can’t get here fast enough.

My first Tough Mudder, TM for short because I’m a sucker for a good abbreviation, was in 2015. I was finishing up grad school and had an interview for a job in a research lab. One of the PhD students interviewing me asked if I’d consider doing a TM because they had an injured teammate. Obviously I said yes, and the rest is history.

Don’t worry I didn’t have to agree to an obstacle course to get the job! Nobody panic.

Anyway, the event arrives and off we go to meet up with our other team member. Now, what is the most important part of any team? You guessed it; uniforms. And there, on the other side of a Walmart, calling out to us like a lighthouse on a foggy night, was the perfect solution.


And just like that, Overall Obstacles, a team of 4 full grown adults who have no business in junior’s size clothing, was born.

Anyone who hasn’t done a TM, you really should. They’re magical. Sure, they’re a little dangerous, but one of my teammates had his insulin port ripped out climbing over a wall, and he’s still here. So it’s fine. I also saw someone cut his face open on barbed wire during Kiss the Mud, but since the logical approach to that is to crawl on your stomach, that’s his fault.

A few things to know about wearing denim to a Tough Mudder

1. Wear compression shorts. The jorts will still rub your skin raw, don’t get me wrong, but it’s better than nothing. It’s also a good idea in the event that your teammate’s overalls rip open at the crotch because they are too small and have been for the last several years that you’ve owned and not washed them, while climbing a wall with a stranger climbing the same wall underneath you. Welcome to the show ladies and gentlemen!

2. If you’re having trouble scaling an obstacle, simply tell the stranger in front of you to pull you up by the straps. You will already have a full body wedgie, so it’s not like it can get any worse.

3. Men – cover those nips with duct tape if you’d like to keep them.

Side note: in my second year, a new addition to our team asked me how to tie the buckles to keep my nipples from chafing…a bra. I wear a bra.

Anyway, I was hooked from the start. I have now completed 6 of them, and thinking back I have so many good highlights from each year.

2016 – TM#2

Let’s set the scene. I ran a marathon in May. The Mudder was schedule for late June. Now, I always take on a little damage to my immune system post-marathon, but imagine my surprise when I came down with mono a week after the race. I ran my fastest marathon to date (3:09) and based on how incubation periods work, I likely already had it brewing so maybe I am sub 3! (Ugh I wish)

Cue absolute devastation. Damn my lack of making out with strangers in college so I could have gotten it when the rest of the world did.

I was sick for awhile before I found out it was mono. Part of the reason it took a few visits to diagnose me was because apparently there are multiple strains of mono. Most people get the one where they’re tired and their throat is on fire. Me? I had a fever of 102 for 7 days and thought my head was trying to cave in on itself. In fact, I was tested for AIDS before it occurred to anyone that it might just be mono.

Now, I’m an educated person. But there are times when my common sense doesn’t quite keep up. And I was not missing the Mudder. So I concocted a plan. My teammates were insistent that I shouldn’t even be able to attend as a spectator because it’s a long day out in the heat and I can’t be trusted to behave. Essentially I needed a doctor’s note. Makes sense, I know.

Here’s how that went down. I asked my doctor if I could go to the TM. He assumed I was asking to go and watch. He was fine with that. I told my team that he said I could participate. What’s a little white lie between friends? Then I waited until halfway through to inform them that I was only cleared to spectate. Too late to go back now! I feel like I was very responsible. I avoided the obstacles that might perforate my enlarged spleen, such as King of the Swingers (I’m still bitter because it hasn’t been back) and Electroshock Therapy (not so bitter). I’m still here, so it’s fine!

The next year was probably my favorite, mostly because doing a Tough Mudder without mono is significantly easier than doing one with mono. Shocker.

Fast forward to 2019, and this is the one where I learned a valuable lesson. It just so happened that the Tough Mudder was in Massachusetts in the morning, and my boyfriend and I (he’s now a full fledged team member) had a wedding in Connecticut in the evening. The timing was perfect!! One weekend away, two awesome events, what could go wrong. Well, I’ll tell ya. Remember what I said about wet denim and your skin? It’s not pretty. What’s also not pretty is forgetting to wear a pair of compression shorts under your dress later on in the evening. A shift dress, combined with thighs (minus a thigh gap) that are basically burned and openly bleeding, is a recipe for pain. Not even alcohol could save me.

Pretty picture, right? Try being the portrait. OOF

This was also the year of my first bloody nose. And no, it wasn’t from an obstacle. It was from tripping over flat ground and falling on my face before putting my hands out because I was playing with the overall straps.

No matter the year, one thing remains the same. Tough Mudder Day is a holiday in my opinion.

Because here’s the thing about Tough Mudders. You’ll never find a more fun group of strangers. “No man left behind” is the theme of the day, especially if he’s dressed in a tutu. Nothing unites a group of strangers like agreeing to be recreationally electrocuted at least once. A result of this great community is that we tend to run into the same groups year after year. Saying that Overall Obstacles is remembered is not a white lie, unlike my assurances that my spleen was fine. AND I LOVE IT! People of all genders dig the overalls, and it’s not not because people know our nether regions are full of mud and rocks contained in a material that should never be wet unless it’s in a washing machine.

I very much missed the Tough Mudder last year. I mean, I get why it had to be canceled, global pandemic and all, but it sucked. Part of me wonders if COVID could even survive the conditions. And I think anyone who’s done a Tough Mudder would ask that question. Having open wounds while crawling through mud that is most likely cow shit, and pulling people up by limbs that are also openly bleeding makes you realize how strong the immune system can be.

Exception: the year that I finished a TM, and 7 hours later had strep throat complete with a staph infection. And yes, I understand how incubation periods work, and I’m sure that’s not how fast one would acquire those problems, but that was also the year of the Pork Soda obstacle. Let me tell you, the smell of that “mud” was not right.

But 2021 is our year. Overall Obstacles will be making their triumphant return. The overall jorts are ready to go. They’re too small, but they’re ready.

What does this have to do with the blog theme? Not a damn fuckin thing. But it has occurred to me that my life is not exciting enough to have something “on brand” prepared for you every week. So here we are.

And there goes my wine. Which is why my boyfriend got first glimpse at this post before it was published.

So until next time… I guess I need a closing catchphrase, but that’s a hurdle (or obstacle) for another beer (or can of wine).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s