Last weekend was crazy intense compared to my farmer’s market strolls and cruisy bike rides. If you’re not familiar with the Tough Mudder challenge, let me illustrate it for ya. Featuring some of the toughest terrain around the world, this grueling military-style obstacle course is designed to test physical strength and mental grit in 18-20KM (our course was 17.6K to be exact).
The west coast Canadian Tough Mudder event launched back in 2012, and it takes place annually in Whistler Olympic Park – pretty much my backyard! Even though I’ve lived in this neck of the woods for the past few years, I never had any desire to take the mudder plunge. Until last weekend!
My last minute training was kind of bleak. Even though I cross-train on a regular basis, I feared my leisurely long distance jogs wouldn’t pay off in climbing military ropes or darting through barbed wire. I also got a little anxious at the prospect of tackling obstacles like the Birth Canal, Arctic Enema, Everest 2.0, Devil’s Beard, Kiss of Mud and Cliff Hanger with 10,000 other maniacs. But it wasn’t so bad. What I did NOT prepare for was the 2 hour torrential downpour and frozen extremities…eek!
The Tough Mudder mantra is all about team work. Technically it’s not a timed race, but folks still hammered down the trails at a death sprint pace (some in Power Ranger costumes or rainbow tutus). Between the light trail jogging and adrenaline surges at each obstacle, it was nothing short of a blood sugar roller coaster. But the most rewarding part of this zany experience was the tight-knit team dynamic.
Team ‘Diabadass’ was a spirited group of type 1’s and type 3’s (ie. spouses/friends/medical device staff supporting those of us with type 1 diabetes) all out to prove that a little mud, ice water, electric shocks and tear gas can’t hold us back.
After having done marathons and solo events where I felt like the added challenge of T1D was all on me, Tough Mudder could not have been more empowering. We all kept track of our blood sugar levels, and when someone dropped too low or spiked high, we stuck it out as a unit. Someone always had extra glucose or energy bars on hand. Phewf!
Having a CGM (continuous glucose monitor) sensor attached to my hip also worked wonders. Instead of poking my muddy fingers for blood in the pouring rain, I simply had to press a button on my insulin pump and see where things were at or where they were heading (yay predictive alerts!).
There were a few watering pit stations along the course, some offering half a banana, energy chews or mega whey protein squares (sadly not gluten-free), so I was glad to be equipped with packs of CLIF gels, juice and plant-based protein bars. I also devoured a large GF pizza upon completing the event.
Despite Tough Mudder being nowhere near my comfort zone, I can honestly say it was worth the cleansing mud bath and borderline hypothermia. It’s also cool to see they’ve raised $6.5 million for the Wounded Warriors Project.
If this tickles your team spirit fancy, you’re in for a muddy treat 🙂
Happy trails and summer fitness pursuits!
Photo cred: Dan Carr Photography