Smile Politely

Puddles of Mudd … and probably some poop


Okay, the Tough Mudder is over and I’m still alive, so that really gives me a good feeling. You know how sometimes a big event is coming up and you worry about it and dread it for months and then it happens and it wasn’t that bad and you sort of miss having it in your life now that it’s over? Yeah, well, I don’t feel that way about the Tough Mudder at all. I have a feeling I will in the future, but just not right now.

Either way, let’s go ahead and break it down mile by rat bastard mile. I may get a few, or most, of the facts wrong, but that’s only because I was in my “happy place” for much of the race and really didn’t know what was happening to me a large part of the time.


Okay, for starters, you have to climb over a five-foot wall just to get to the starting line. The fucking thing hadn’t even officially begun yet and I found it to be a little too difficult for my liking. At this point, some dude comes out with a microphone and starts giving everyone a little pep talk and encourages everyone to say, “Boo Rah,” far more than I care to. I’m not sure how most cults recruit people, but it’s probably something like this.

I sincerely tried to be a part of the douchbaggery, but it was really just too much, like twenty minutes or so too much. I did join in and sing the National Anthem and I may have danced a little once, but that was probably just a leg cramp from climbing over that goddamned wall.


In many ways, this was the worst mile of the bunch. We ran about a half-mile or so.

Note: For the duration of this column, when I say, “run,” I basically mean, “trotted,” or possibly, “hobbled.”

After running this half-mile we came to the first obstacle, the Arctic Enema. This obstacle is essentially a long-assed dumpster filled with colored water and a bunch of freaking ice, with a board in the middle you have to swim under.

For better or worse, I really didn’t have time to stop and think about how goddamned stupid it would be to jump into this mechanism and swim to the other side. Some girl told me before the race that it was best to jump as far into the ice as you could and then duck under the board covered with barbed wire and climb out the other side.

Well, apparently I jumped really far into the ice water and banged my fucking head on the board. It hurt really badly, but by then the ice water was shutting down my system and I forgot all about it. By the time our entire group made it out of this terrible, terrible obstacle, most of us had a look on our face as if we’d just seen Wilfred Brimley naked. Seriously, it was a creepy, painful, and disorienting feeling. At this juncture, I fully expected to be water boarded sometime in the next two miles.


We ran some more and came to the second obstacle, which was just crawling through a shit ton of mud under some barbed wire. What is it with these fucking people and barbed wire? Anyway, this seemed sort of easy, especially after the ice bath. As an added bonus, it was at this point that a four-inch layer of protective mud began to form over my head wound, thereby pushing the dysentery directly into my brain.

The next obstacle tied in nicely. It was basically the same thing as before except they had added little electrical wires hooked up to a car battery that hung down and shocked the piss out of you. This is great because everyone loves to get shocked, you know, in the same way everyone likes to get shot or stabbed.


Honestly, I started getting a little groggy at this point. We climbed over some walls and crawled through some dark tunnels. As I looked around, all I could think was that this was the biggest cast for a Saw movie I had ever seen. We then came to “Walk the Plank.”

I’m not a huge fan of heights so just climbing this tower, which I now insist was at least seventy feet tall, was a personal victory. Jumping off that tower into a tiny pool of water was a personal tragedy because I never realized I could be that fucking stupid. One of the volunteers shouted that I should, “Watch out for the side!” This would have been far more helpful if he had shouted it before I jumped. I swear, it felt like it took seven minutes before I hit the water.


This is where the grueling part really started to make me a little cranky. There were long runs through twelve inches of mud and climbing over a bunch of things. We carried each other and then we carried logs, but mostly we just ran mile after boring-assed, muddy mile. Finally, we came upon the Fire Walker.

This sort of scared me because I’m one of those weird people who don’t enjoy getting burned all that much. This obstacle turned out to be just strange. There were logs burning all around and it was pretty hot, but we quickly jumped over a little fire pit and landed in some water. I felt like I had done something, but I wasn’t sure exactly what it was.


Here’s something. I was under the impression that this little fiasco would be about ten miles. Well, it was closer to twelve miles. Those extra two miles are a pretty big deal when you are continuing to run even though you haven’t been able to feel anything on your body below your neck for the past hour and a half.

They packed a bunch of obstacles at the end and there were long lines. This was great because I really wanted to stand around a lot and let those muscles tighten up as much as they could. Anyway, balance beam, monkey bars, big white wall, those are just a few of the things I was too tired to participate in.

They closed out the course with more of those shocking electrodes, only this time you had to run through them standing up. Something like this obviously draws a big crowd of people that enjoy watching other people in intense pain. I didn’t give them the satisfaction. I marched my tired ass around that torture device and it was over. Some dude put an orange headband on me and then I grabbed a free Dos Equis. It was possibly the best thing I’ve ever tasted in my life.

Here’s most of our Mudder group, warriors one and all. I hope that sometime in the future we can all get together and not do that again.


One of my favorite dudes in the world, Pappy “Snatch” Weatherly, finally has a Twitter account (@slaphitter), possibly the greatest sports figure of the last three centuries.

Good thing to say when a group of fellas aren’t being cool: “Those guys must own a sporting goods store because they’re acting like Dick’s.”

Ninety-five percent of the time, I’d rather buy the wrong thing than talk to a sales person.

Buona sera, senorina, kiss me goodnight.

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