Thursday, July 22, 2010

Am I Tough Enough? Um, that would be a no.

I must be out of my every lovin’ moyind.. oops, I meant to type “mind” but my arms resemble cooked spaghetti. I can’t even lift my finger to scratch my nose which itches from the caked dried sweat. I’ll just leave it until someone starts to stare. I will then ask for help. Perhaps a wet warm tissue please?

I have reluctantly agreed to participate in a male dominated chest pounding macho-fest in the mountains. The event is scheduled for 78 days, 15 hours and 32 minutes from now, but it could be 1,078 days and I can admit right here and now that I still wouldn’t be “ready”.

Apparently, “ready” means being of sound mind and body to run through fire, climb over a bus, wade through waste deep shivering cold mud all at a lung exploding altitude - 8,000 feet.

I combed through the pictures and descriptions of what is aptly called The Rough Mudders event (not a race, they don’t keep time that’s probably because most sane people don’t finish), and a overwhelming sense of anxiety washes upon me. That’s because I know in my gut this is not a good activity in which I should engage.

I turned the ripe old age of 38 last May. For those math wizards, that’s two years shy of the biggie. And when I parooze the pics of said Rough Mudder participants, I hardly fit the demographic: mid to late 20 something men, likely single with muscles atop of more muscles. Sure, there are a smattering of women who participate, but those women belong on stage of the Body Builder USA competition, something my body (and mind) never aspired to do.

So here I sit, after my first hard workout (well, hard for my standards) thinking is it really worth it just to say I did it? Just to have bragging rights over those too smart to join in this rugged mud slurping sausage fest?

But something within me (call it foolish pride) just can’t say no. When this little project presented itself through an impulsive and irrational friend, it looked like a fun challenge. What appealed to me the most was the team environment. I envisioned my band of brothers and sisters hoisting me over the 8 foot scaling wall or pushing me through the mud filled tubes as I army crawl my way to sunlight. It gives me tingles, really, to know that we will suffer through the throws of hell and come out singing and dancing and having a celebratory beer together.

The course is only 7 miles. I use the term “only” very loosely here because I probably couldn’t run 7 miles on a backroad in Kansas right now. I use “only” because that appears to be the less daunting part of the event. It’s set up at the Bear Valley ski resort. I have season passes up there so I am pretty familiar with the gnarly downhills.. which translate to uphills in this race. Along the 7 mile course (it’s assumed that participants will run the entire route), there are 17 obstacle courses that were developed by British Special Forces and I am not kidding about that. As far as I can tell by the website (and I stopped looking after my stomach started to turn) there are swamp swims, river crossings, army crawls into and under really scary things, and yes, there’s a fire run too.

Here’s what the website says to do in order to be ready:
A general tip
We suggest starting off each day taking cold, freezing showers to prepare for the icy water and mud you’ll have to wade through from start to glorious finish.
After your shower, look at yourself in the mirror. Punch yourself in the mouth. This works on two levels: the first is that you get used to pain.

Nutrition: What you put in your body has a direct effect on how you preform on May 2nd – mentally and physically. We recommend a meal of raw baby cow, preferably one you found and wrassled yourself (for city dwellers, any form of rodent, bird, or next door neighbor will do.) For dessert, snort two lines of protein powder and call it a day.

To replicate the burning conditions of our ring of fire, cover the inside of your pants with cayenne pepper for a 5k run through the park.
Alternate: Put tigerbalm in your eyes. Stare at the sun.

Strap some steaks to your legs and take a run through Michael Vick’s dogpound.
Alternate: Strap some pill bottles to your legs and take a run through Lindsay Lohan’s house.

We also recommend wearing a hat with a swim cap underneath and a pair of tough, thick gloves to prevent any burns from the ropes obstacles and splinters from any walls.

After reading these suggestions for training, I almost fainted from fear. This has got to be the dumbest thing I have decided to do in my life.

In the meantime, I must start getting serious about training. Today was a good start but I have to put it on hold for a while as I am headed out the door to Las Vegas to compete in the World Championship Beer Pong Tournament. I do have my priorities, afterall.

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