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Tough muddin' it

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George Papadakos - Tales in Triathlon

Well I did it... I said I never would, but I finally signed up for a Tough Mudder.

What is a Tough Mudder? I'm sure the dynamics change from course to course, but the Mudder I'm in is 18-20 km long, and has all manner of obstacles to overcome.

The 20 km part, no problem. The obstacles on the other hand, are well, let just say very interesting.

With obstacle names like The Liberator, Fire in your Hole, Pole Dancer, and Ladder to Hell (just to name a few), it has me wondering if I'm performing 50 Shades of Grey or doing an endurance event.

To make matters worse... mud is everywhere. I guess being in the triathlon world for the last eight years has made me soft in that regard. Don't get me wrong, I love to sweat and push my limits to the max, but mud just gets me dirty.

Tough Mudders have been on the rise for the last few years. With a fun atmosphere, lots of spectator and volunteer support, aid stations and a team approach that brings a lot of people together.

The emphasis is on finishing the distance, and not so much the finishing time, which takes the pressure off and ramps the fun level up.

Within every team there are individuals that bring a specific skill set that will help the rest of team complete the course, and from what I've heard your team tackles the obstacles together.

The carrot at the end of the race is a nice cold beverage, and hopefully memories that will last forever (or at least until I do it again).

Oh and I forgot to mention the best part, Wifey is doing it too. There is only one person that detests mud more than me, and its Wifey. I can't wait to see her tip-toeing around the course for 20 km. (I'm laughing on the inside just thinking about it).

So how does this help with my triathlon training? For one it takes me out of my triathlon bubble where I have lived for awhile. Triathlon is a sport that rewards people that can go faster and longer in straight lines.

Tough Mudders have the endurance that I love, coupled with a lot of strength moves that will take your body up, down, under, over and probably sideways. The mud will add a unique challenge as it will definitely make the course that much more difficult.

I'm hoping to endure the physical demands that this will put on me, but also use the mental hurdles that I face on Tough Mudder day to help push me through Ironman Muskoka two weeks later.

Sometimes going out of your comfort zone allows you to see what you're made of, and get new ideas and perspectives on how to train and race.

Gotta go now, trying to figure out what triathlon suit I'm going to wear.

Until I meet you at the start line, train safe and have fun!

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