The Tough Mudder

This post will be a brief departure from my usual programming/robots/technology ramblings and talk about something else really cool that I did recently. Yesterday me and 2 friends ran and completed the Tough Mudder in Toronto (well actually it was in Barrie but they called it the Toronto Tough Mudder).

Backing up about 3 months when my friend first posted a trailer for the Tough Mudder on my Facebook wall. We decided we had to do it. We decided but we didn’t do much about it we continued with our standard lifting gym routine and aside from my intramural sports team I wasn’t doing much running. It was almost as if we hadn’t noticed that this thing was a half marathon through the mud - no big deal right?

With only a month to go I finally realise that I am going to need to do some running training. I am in decent shape at this point from the lifting but I definately don’t consider myself a runner. In fact that last time I would have said that I thought I was a good runner would have been grade 6 yeah no joke the filler years were mainly filled with mountain biking, skiing and school. But that was about to change and by the end of my 4 week training program I considered myself a runner again.

So I started training running but I was determined to do it my way. People who know me know that I am a strong believer in the primal lifestyle and while I don’t want to debate that here I simply want to share how I trained and the results. My running training program consisted of running 400 meter intervals trying for a time better than 1:40 which translates to being faster than a 7 minute mile. After each interval I would rest for 1:30 each workout was only 10 intervals, sometimes I would finish with a few 100 meter sprints. During this time I also consulted quite a few resources on how to run properly notably Timothy Ferris’s The 4 Hour Body and some YouTube videos. Oh and of course I was running in my vibram five finger shoes.

The vibram five fingers, I had long been wearing them for lifting and my day to day shoes were essentially barefoot shoes too but I had never really ran in them (I still used cleats for the sports I play). After my first week my calves were so tight it was hard ish to walk – apparently this is common when people start barefoot running. I was determined to power through which meant lots of stretching and using the foam roller. 2 weeks to go and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to run the Mudder in my barefoot shoes. At around this time the 100 meter sprint was on in the London 2012 Olympics and I was super excited to watch Usain Bolt do his thing. Watching his stride inspired me and I also realised an important thing – barefoot running is essentially just proper running re-branded  I mean watch Usain Bolt run no heal strikes there. Re Motivated I trained hard for the next 2 weeks and my calve tightness was becoming less of a problem.

Before talking about the Mudder itself I just want to re-iterate the important details here – I trained for this long distance event using high intensity intervals, I followed my primal diet and did not carb load for training or for the race and I ran in vibram five finger shoes.

The Mudder itself was awesome, like so awesome! 10 out of 10 would do again. One thing that really caught me off guard was the elevation change of the course – it took place on a ski hill so there was some serious vert. The run went great I was pretty fast on the flats ahead of my team most of the time. The hills were nice because it was a really big equalizer. The obstacles were a ton of fun too, most of them weren’t too hard. I really enjoyed this one where you had to crawl through this underground tunnel – reminded me of video games and air ducts etc. I certainly will pause and remember how tough that was next time I am running through the vents in Half Life! The famed electric shock finale was also quite awesome, I took one right in the chest which dropped me to the ground like a sack of potatoes but I was up and running again in the blink of an eye. Crossing the finish line was amazing and they immediately hand you a beer! Best beer ever.

My 2 team-mates running through the electro shock finale. I am somewhere to their right unfortunately not in the picture

We submitted our time and later found out that we finished in the top 5% and qualified for the World’s Toughest Tough Mudder! Notbad.jpg don’t think we will be going though.

Our trusty stopwatch after we crossed the finish lie. 2 hours 54 minutes.