So now I’ve earned the orange headband so the million dollar question is, “will I do it again?” While I’ll never say never, I honestly don’t see it.

I can say with all certainty I’m not one of those folks that’s going to register for and travel to every Mudder within 200 miles of home. And I don’t see myself taking the initiative to organize another team and coordinate the logistics for another one and here’s why…my first experience with a Tough Mudder literally could not have gone better. I’m concerned that any subsequent experience would be a let down.

Let’s look at it from a couple of angles. Some practical and tangible, some intangible:

Logistics – this went off flawless. Everyone was on time meeting up. Travel was easy. It could not have been more efficient or improved.

Weather – we got SO lucky! Temperatures when we started at 11:30 were in the low to mid-60’s and the winds were still. When we had to plunge into that dumpster full of ice water, it was a stunningly beautiful day. Two minutes of running after we all emerged from the Arctic Enema we all agreed that we were feeling fine.

As the afternoon wore on a cold front began to move in. I don’t know if or how much the temperature dropped, but a steady wind did kick up and that made the water obstacles over the last two miles of the course a whole lot less pleasant. There were lots of chattering teeth after we crossed the finish line. We were cold enough at that point that we shorted the post-race beers, bypassed the cold water showers and opted for baby wipe wipe downs until we could get hot showers in the comfort of our own homes. Still, no one complained. We all knew that the weather could have been SO much more severe on an early November weekend.

The Team – This group had great chemistry! From pre-mudder scrambles, to quick logisitics/social meetings to the moment we crossed the finish line, everyone was in complete harmony. We were all there for the experience and to work together to pull each other through. Which is exactly what we did.

The team size was about perfect too. We were 5 reasonably well matched runners/athletes who were able to stay together pretty effortlessly. While each of us charged ahead from time to time, we were always within line of sight of one another. It was easy to keep a running headcount. That relieved a lot of stress off my mind.

My individual goals: I went into the Mudder with two questions. One, could I complete it at all? 2) Would I face down my fears and actually complete the electrified obstacles? Turns out the answer to both is, ‘yes.’

Now it’s true, by mile 8 my legs were so cramped I was hobbling along at what could generously be described as a shuffle. But in the end, I took all the steps necessary to go the 11 or so miles and reach the finish line. The team did it in a pretty respectable time of 3 hours and 5 minutes to boot. So goal achieved.

I also met the challenge of the Electric Eel and Electro Shock obstacles. More on those here. Did I conquer them? That would be overstating it, but I got through them.

If I trained harder, could I do the course faster? Maybe. But I don’t have the desire to go through the punishment of another Mudder just to find out.

Did I conquer all the obstacles? No. I skipped one of two Berlin Walls. I nearly had an accident and could have seriously injured myself while straddling the first one. So I chose to skip the second one. I also failed to scale “Everest” the fiberglass half pipe wall. Again, I don’t have the fire to go back and try to overcome those specific obstacles. They’re just not that important to me. I’m certain that if I went back, I might successfully navigate those, but something else would eat my lunch.

I don’t need to have ‘a flawless Mudder run’ because in my estimation thanks to some luck and the participation of my team mates and folks around me, I had a just about perfect Mudder experience.

To my team mates: Thanks, Gang! You made that day completely special. Running with you all was a privilege. I’m extremely proud and grateful that we earned our headbands and went through the experience together!

And for those of you wondering, am I swearing off obstacle course runs altogether? Absolutely not. I just don’t see me rushing out to take part in the Mudder series again. There are several shorter, more affordable, more convenient events that I have my eyes on, so stay tuned for invitations!

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