When I first found out about a race called “Tough Mudder”, I honestly thought,”How hard could it be”?

I watched the video they had on their site, it looked more fun than hard and decided that is exactly what I would do.  I would put together a team, raise some money for The Wounded Warrior Project and just do it.  Again, How hard could that be?

I formed my team. It would be myself, Rob Alex, Amanda Wilson, Damian Granoff, Marianne Turner and a new friend I made named Kai (Kai never made it to the actual race).  I started by getting Tough Mudder to allow us to race as press.  That was easy.  Tough Mudder has some pretty great people working for them so the communication was always top-notch. Second was  securing a gym to sponsor us and train us.  That was fairly easy too.  Apparently this little website here has a little name for itself in Atlanta and it wasn’t hard to talk them into sponsoring us.

It was all set.  The six of us would run this course and raise money.

As time went by, we added a few more people to our team.  Michael Galardi and Joe Schaber were great assets to our team and raised over $1000 to give to our cause, with the help of Smiths Olde Bar.   They were great to run with and had such great spirit about them.  They certainly made me laugh.

My good pal Roger Barnett asked me if he could join my team.  I thought sure, why not…  He brought on three other people from his work, Justa Bar.  Roger busted his butt to bring in some donations and all in all gave us close to $500.

As time flew by I have to admit, I never went to our gym sponsor one time.  Never worked out with the personal trainer, never did the boot camp that I was going to be so diligent doing.  I just figured I would cross that proverbial muddy bridge when I got to Tough Mudder.

March 12, 2011 – 8:45 a.m. Rob and I pull up to Justa Bar to catch our bus.  Yep, we decided that it would be a great idea to take the Justa Bar party bus to Cedartown, GA.   We also got a little kick out of imagining that Polk country, where Cedartown is, watching us pull up in the bus.  Did I mention that Polk County is a dry county?  Meaning they don’t serve liquor.  Still makes me chuckle remembering some of the faces  as we drove by.  I got side tracked,  back to the story….  Marianne, Rob, Damian, Amanda, Anne Marie, Roger and myself (plus Roger and Anne Marie’s son) all boarded the bus and headed for what was sure to be a great time.

We arrived by 11:00 a.m. and made our way to the media sign in.  Tough Mudder was so gracious to let me bring this entire team as media and run in this event.  Checking in we got our numbers and wrist bands and found our favorite photographer, Tom Dausner to shoot some before pictures.  Tom shot the beginning and the ending but could not navigate the course.  I do not blame him at all.  We had a video crew set to follow us and they canceled on us last minute.  To their credit, they said they did try to find a replacement but everyone wanted to get paid for this charity event.  Really? It’s for charity!

We approached the starting line, posed for a few more pictures and we were off!  All of us running through the trail.  It was great.  I remember thinking that it really wasn’t that bad.  I could jog for a while then slow it down through the obstacles and be done in 3 or so hours.  All that wonderful thinking came to a screeching halt when I made it to obstacle numero uno.  A 30 feet swim across the water to the other side only to turn around and swim back.  I ran right in thinking that it couldn’t be that bad.  After all, it was 72 degrees out and gorgeous.  HOLY *[email protected]!  that was by far the coldest water I have ever, ever felt, up until them.  To make maters worse, I thought midway through I could put my feet down and walk.  Nope… too deep.  Have you ever swam through ice-cold water with big running shoes on?  Not too easy.  This was the first time I almost gave up.  I thought for a second, ” I put this whole thing together.  I got the team, I got the registration.  I don’t really have to do this, my job is done.”  Yet, every time I thought that, I knew in my heart I would never forgive myself for not pushing through.

That is what I did.  I continued on.  Next stop: Boa Constrictor. Basically crawling through two 20 foot drainage pipes with mud pits in between.  Doesn’t sound all that crazy.  I could do that.  Once I got in I realized the horrible joke.  It was filled with ICE CUBES!  Ice cubes, mud and gravel.  Just enough to make some lovely cuts on  your knees and elbows as you crawled through.  Yes, there was ice all in the muddy pits you had to walk/swim through too.

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