A couple Sundays ago, I participated in the Tough Mudder obstacle run. The event is billed as Possibly the Toughest Event on Earth. Well, no, it isn’t exactly the Batan Death March, but it is physical challenge for any athlete. I ran the course with two other guys whose ages added together doesn’t equal mine. Actually, somewhere between miles 8 and 10, I had to stretch out a cramp and told them to go ahead. I finished the course in just over 2 ½ hours, about 5 minutes behind them.
Many people wonder why a guy who is crowding 60 would do something so hard and potentially dangerous. Crawling through the mud (under barbed wire) and climbing over 9’ walls isn’t everybody’s idea of a good time but there really is a point to it all. One is that I am on a one man campaign to prove that most people accept age related physical deterioration way too passively. I am not an elite athlete.
I attribute my modest accomplishments to proper nutrition and intelligent exercise, both of which are available to nearly everybody. The other thing is that this kind of event tests every aspect of fitness. It certainly requires cardio as well as muscular endurance to complete. But it also requires functional upper body strength to climb, crawl, and carry (a fellow runner at one station and a big piece of firewood at another). Most of all, these take mental toughness to push through the uncomfortable. Submerging in a pool of ice water, enduring electric shocks, jumping off a high platform, and crawling through culver pipes (dark and confined) entail people’s most common phobias.
We live in a world of uncertainties. At some point, we all face accidents, illness and loss. Survival is determined by how we handle the stress. Additionally, there are hazards where physical toughness and skill really make the difference between life and death. Fit people fare better in car accidents. Fit people are better able to exit a burning building or skyscraper that has been struck by a jetliner. Lastly is the potential of having to deal with a violent encounter. Armed robbery and home invasions are rising (likely due to the struggling economy). The lifetime odds of facing violent critical incident is 1 in 3 in America. Whether you run to escape danger or have to stand and fight, training to endure the hard road gives one a big advantage.
So I run obstacle races. The next one, the Hardcore Mud Run, is in Swain on Aug. 17. I have also started my business, Peregrine – Safe & Ready, to help others maximize their potential. I can provide individualize personal training, nutritional counselling, self-defense training, and security assessments. Or if you are up to the challenge, I’ll help you get ready for an obstacle race. Give me a call at (585) 335-3702. Stay safe.