Failing anything, “don’t die” is a very powerful motivation mantra.

I’m getting excited, peeps. Tough Mudder is under 2 weeks away. It’s that nervous excitement where thrill and fear combine into suspense. I can’t wait to do it and for it to be over. Having bought the tickets months and months ago, the fact that a looming deadline is almost here brings trepidation and a fuzzy feeling in my guts. I want it to be Tough Mudder now, while simultaneously dreading how inadequate my training has been.

Yes, I’ve been training. No, it doesn’t feel like I’ve pushed it enough. Yes I’ve been watching what I’ve been eating. No, I haven’t developed the ability to photosynthesise and levitate. I’ve been doing personal training at the wellness centre across the road, but I still haven’t shifted that damned recursive knee injury that’s been floating on the periphery for the last few years. It’s not detrimental to anything, but more important than getting through is crossing the finish line without incurring a bunch of injuries that’d make the wellness centre see dollar signs. It’s the distance that’s got me fearful. 10-12 miles is around 18-20 km. The only other time I jogged that far, I gained the aforementioned damned recursive knee injury. I intended to keep up regular jogging, but after a few slightly more than niggling pains, I pulled back on the war effort.

So now I’ve got near 20km to jog and a lack of preparation. Can I rely on gear to compensate? I’ve got a knee brace coming my way (thanks benefits) that should help keep joints aligned. My shoes though? They’re garbage. They’re indoor cross trainers. Zero heel support, lightweight with no grip. How’re they supposed to guide me along uneven terrain, rocks and roots across my path? I’m gonna be slippin’ and sliding like a 60s summer fun toy fit for the whole family. Actually, that does sound many types of neat. Still, hard to slide uphill. So I’ve gotta find new shoes, albeit new shoes that’re gonna get ruined immediately with mud. Are there stores that specialise in dumpy stuff that’s made to get wrecked? Thrift store it up?

I’m proud of my simian heritage and given the chance, I love being the human embodiment of our monkey ancestry. I adore climbing and hanging off things. The obstacles that’re focused on upper body stuff are the defining reasons I’m so excited. Everyone who’s done a Tough Mudder before tells me that it’s all about teamwork. Less competitive and more about helping everyone get over that line. You’ll stay behind and help out strangers they sayYou’re gonna need your team mates to lift you up. Great, because with 5 people, we’re right at the number of a perfect giant robot fighting squad. It’s the stuff dream teams are made of.

My team hasn’t sorted a costume idea yet, but if we’re getting soaked, covered in mud, dunked in ice and electrocuted (dumb. “Mental fortitude” is one thing, but this is just torture. My least favourite thing about the event), we’re gonna want lightweight stuff that’ll let our skin breathe. I finished my last mud run in pyjamas, but it was small potatoes in comparison. Two laps around a 6km course. This is a bigger, longer run. The average time is around 3 hours and I’m without the smarts on how to dress myself. Once again my lack of clothing knowledge pits me uselessly hurling myself against a bunch of objects without wisdom to guide me.

So many things, barely enough time to prep for them. The running thing is a lost cause. Hopefully these stumps that keep me upright can hold out without dying out. Hopefully whatever I’ve done will be enough. Hopefully the event skews more fun and less douchey than I’ve imagined. Hopefully my team can carry each other to the end. Hopefully whatever mess of fear and excitement swirling around in my guts is enough to propel me along that course. Something has to, and it’s either that or creating an elaborate harness that dangles a literal carrot above my head.

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