This summer I participated in one of the obstacle, mud fun events that seem to be so popular right now. The Mudderella was a 5-6 mile course “designed by women for women” with at least a dozen different obstacles, including 5 muddy ones!
I was on a team with 7 other women, including my 22 year-old daughter (which was wicked awesome!), and the proceeds went to Futures Without Violence, which develops innovative ways to end violence against women, children, and families at home and around the world. Since males could only participate in the event if they were on a team with women, 98% of the participants were females, so I felt very comfortable about the obstacles being doable.
Part of the reason I felt comfortable and confident about being able to do the obstacles is because I chose to train for the event. Most people could certainly do it without training, since we all helped each other over, under, between obstacles, even if the person we were helping was a stranger, which just made it all the more empowering! However, I wanted to have something to motivate my time at the gym, and a goal to work towards, since I know that I work harder when there is a solid purpose and outcome (sound familiar?). I also have a few old injuries that have become somewhat arthritic and can get stiff, so I knew I would need to strengthen around those so I didn’t re-injure myself.
The way I organized myself was:
– I read up about the event, and explored what resources were available to assist me. In this case, Mudderella makes it incredibly easy to plan (the actual exercises were a different story, haha!) by providing a training schedule to follow, along with descriptions and videos of the workouts.
– I asked my teammates how they trained for it the year before, and what to expect in terms of speed and difficulty of obstacles. I wisely chose a team (the Tattered Tutus; and yes, we all wore tutus, along with a Disney princess costume) that was focused on teamwork and having fun rather than speed or agility.
– I went to the library and took out some books on training for obstacle races, including Down and Dirty: The Essential Training Guide for Obstacle Races and Mud Runs, and discovered that a fellow local professional organizer was mentioned in the book, so I connected with her about her experiences too. I also checked out online resources.
– I pored through pictures of the obstacles from previous years, and envisioned myself doing them. I also looked at my own abilities and possible areas of challenge to see where I might need to train more in one area like upper body; since the course is designed for women, those obstacles were not as challenging as a more rigorous co-ed course might be, and thank goodness there weren’t any monkey bars! Then I highlighted those exercises for my workouts.
– I decided to start my training quite early, 6 months beforehand, which worked in my favor since I was sidelined by a serious muscle pull 4 months before the event. At first I was intimidated by some of the moves because I perceived that they were beyond my abilities, but in most cases, I was delightfully wrong. I couldn’t always do all the sets & reps, but I at least gave them a try instead of telling myself I couldn’t do them.
– I planned each week’s workouts to incorporate the suggested workouts, as well as strengthening my weak areas, and recorded my progress in terms of time-heart rate-distance-weight amounts-reps. This way, when I repeated some of the scripted workouts, I could check my progress.
– I had to be sure that my nutrition was in line to support my training, so Iplanned each week by making meals, prepping veggies, and making smoothies with protein powder to have after my workouts.
– I planned and ordered my costume ahead of time, and coordinated with my teammates to be sure we weren’t duplicating princesses.
– Finally, for the race day, I had to be sure that I was fully hydrated the day or so before the race since it took place at the end of July, and we had been having a solid heat wave. I made a packing list ahead of time based on what my experienced teammates suggested, and packed the night before so I was ready to go. I also had to print out tickets, waivers, and parking passes, and have my spectators ready to cheer me on.
– Most importantly, I let go and just had fun, and enjoyed the heck out of myself!!
P.S. I was also honored to be part of my team when one of my teammate’s boyfriend’s proposed to her at the finish line!