This past weekend, I ran my first Tough Mudder race.  This race was definitely one of the craziest things I’ve ever done.

I teamed up with my wife and 8 of our friends and we ran (I use that term loosely, haha) 12 miles up and down ski mountains all the while completing 22 extreme obstacles.

Arctic Enema


Obstacle #2 was the Artic Enema.  Yes, it’s as crazy as it sounds.  We jumped in to a pool of ice water and ducking under barb wire before hopping out of the pool of ice.  I think my face looked similar to the guy in the picture.  That set the tone for the day.





ElectroShock Therapy


4.5hrs later we ran through the last obstacle called ElectroShock Therapy to cross the finish line.


In this blog post, I talk about my experiences in the Tough Muddder race, offer up some tips for future Mudders, and also included some good questions for you to ponder.   Enjoy!



What did I learn from doing my first Tough Mudder race?

1. Have fun. 

In our busyness, this is an easy one to forget.  In whatever you do, work towards incorporating some fun in to it.  I learned this from Richard Branson.  After all, what’s life all about if you are not having fun?

To have more fun in the upcoming week, I will…


2. Work together.

In this race (and in life), there are things that come up that are just easier when someone has got your back.  Someone that can help you when you are down or hurt, or helping you through obstacles that are impossible to overcome on your own.

Berlin WallThe one obstacle from the Tough Mudder race that comes to mind for me was called the Berlin Walls.  There were two 15 foot walls, and we had to get over them.  Since there were no ladders around, we had to improvise.  People stepping on heads, or jumping off others shoulders.  Fun times 🙂  Sure, I could have attempted to propel myself over the wall on my own, but instead of risking an injury, and using up energy (something I had to preserve for the rest of the race) to do it on my own, I accepted the help that was offered to me.

So, you have 3 choices…

  • Avoid the obstacles altogether
  • Burn yourself out trying to do it on your own
  • Ask for and offer up help

In your life, what are you attempting to do on your own that would be easier with someone’s help?

Who’s got your back?     

Who’s back do you got?


3. What you think you can do, and what you can actually do are two different things.

Funky MonkeyGoing in to it, I knew there was 1 obstacle that I thought I would struggle with.  It was called the Funky Monkey.  These were monkey bars…with a twist.  Instead of bars that were horizontal to the ground, in true Tough Mudder fashion, we had to swing up roughly 20 bars on an incline, and then swing another 20 bars on a decline.  The bars were wet and muddy which also increased the challenge.  Oh, and if you fell, your swimming in cold and muddy water.

In training for this obstacle, I did the monkey bars after school at a park with my daughter.  Let’s just say she got across them much, much easier than I did.

During the race, I saw my teammates do it, and I stepped right up after them, and did what they did 🙂

Just because you haven’t done it yet, doesn’t mean you can never do it.

What have you been avoiding that you think you cannot do?


4.  Get uncomfortable.

Boa Constrictor


This is where the most growth comes from.  Stretch your limits.  I certainly did a lot of this during the race.  These races are designed to make you uncomfortable and challenge you.  You never know till you try, right?  This is the same lesson I teach my kids.

What would have happened if you never tried to walk?




In the next couple weeks, I will get uncomfortable by doing…


5. Decide, commit and let a lot of people know about it.

This is huge.  Without it, you go nowhere.

Once I registered for the race and let people know about it, things were set in motion.  It triggered other people to contemplate it.  People thought… “If he can do it, I can do it.”  Our team doubled in size because of this.  It also motivated me to get off my ass and work towards my goal of finishing this race.  On days when the motivation was low to exercise and the self talk was chattering loud, I kept thinking that I had to get my training in so I was prepared for the race.  It worked, and it paid off.

What would you like to do?

Who can you tell that will hold you accountable?


6.  Be wild and crazy.

Me & Tiff2


It’s ok to be a little (or a lot) crazy and go against the “normal”.  It keeps life interesting, and makes for some great stories.  We joined 10,000 other crazy people that also ran this race.  Some finished, some did not.  It’s all good.









7.  Set an over the top goal.

My goal…complete the Tough Mudder.  12 miles up and down a ski mountain, while getting through 22 obstacles created by the military.  ‘Nuff said 🙂

Who cares what people think.  Do something you didn’t think you were capable of.  Challenge yourself.  It’s not easy, but well worth it.  You will get stronger and your confidence will increase.  Keep pushing past your limits, and you will have exponential growth.

I don’t care what people think, I commit to…


8.  Shit happens.

Expect it.  When it does, make sure you adapt.

Vivian Greene hit it bang on when she said…

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s

about learning to dance in the rain.”

The day before the race, it rained 30 mm of rain.  That’s a lot of rain.  This made it the Tough Muddy-er race.  Waiting for the bus, it was cold, and windy.  Really miserable way to start out.

To stay warm, I kept my sweater and pants on over my race clothes, and we all huddled together while we waited for the buses.  I was originally going to ditch the sweater and pants at the start line, but ended up keeping my sweater on for the majority of the race, with the exception of the water obstacles.  My teeth were still chattering because I was cold, but the sweater definitely helped.

How do you deal with the shit when it happens?

Are you quick to adapt?


9.  Keep moving.

Walk the PlankMovement creates momentum, and momentum is what gets you to your goal faster.

It was a cold, cold day and there were a ton of water obstacles.  Just as we were drying off, and starting to warm up, we had to jump in to more water and more mud.

One of the obstacles was called Walk the Plank.  This one tested your fear of heights and cold all in one with a 15+ feet high jump into freezing water.  I had to keep on the move, or the cold would have gotten the best of me.

Keeping in motion on the hills and mud really helped too.  Stopping in the mud would sink me lower, and I would use up more energy having to pull my feet out of the mud.  I also ran the risk of losing a shoe.

Winston Churchill once said…

“If you are going through hell, keep going”

Thanks for the advice Winston.


10.  Do it for a cause. 

CharityI find it easier to raise money, if I’m doing something that is over the top.  Over the last couple of years, I’ve done some pretty wild things for charity.  I’ve climbed the CN Tower for the United Way, I did an extreme obstacle course for the Canadian Cancer society.

This year, I ran the Tough Mudder race to support the Because I Am A Girl Initiative.  I am very passionate about education and I believe that by educating and helping women and girls, the world will be a much better place.

If you agree, please consider supporting me by making an online donation by clicking here.

So far, people like you have helped me raise $695Through 5x donor matching, this gets multiplied to $3475.  Thanks a ton to those who have supported me already.  Even though the Mudder race is complete, I’m still a ways away from my $3000 goal or $15,000 with donor matching. For that reason, I am keeping the donor page open.

Let’s change the world together through education.


11.  Celebrate.

This is another one that is often forgotten.  Too often we reach our goal, and are quick to jump to the next one without acknowledging what we just did.  Slow down and celebrate your accomplishments.

For me, the thought of the celebration is a good motivator to help me complete the goal.  Knowing that the celebration will be there at the end.  Makes the effort all worthwhile, and keeps you coming back.

After the race, our team had an amazing celebration at a cottage. Fun, food & friends.  We had a good laugh at the stories from our race, and there were talks about the next Tough Mudder race later this year.  Fun times!


What I enjoyed the most…



Helping people on the Everest obstacle.  This is a quarter pipe which is coated in mud and grease that you have to sprint up and get help from fellow Mudders at the top.  After I got to the top, I layed down up there, tossed an arm over the edge, and helped a handful of other Mudders (including my wife) up.  It was cool to help others complete this challenging obstacle.



Group shot2


Celebrating with my team at the cottage after the race. Drinks, food, stories, fun!





Mike - Firejump


The feeling of accomplishment after doing something this challenging.






I was most challenged by…

Being cold and wet for the majority of the race.  Brrrr!


What’s next for me?  It will be the next Tough Mudder in September.  Now I’m committed, and I’ve let people know about it.  Let the training begin.

For a sample of what we went through for this Tough Mudder, check out this 6 minute video from our event by clicking here.

If you are looking for something that will challenge you physically and mentally, find a race near you at

Get crazy, and have fun!

Mike  |  Life Strategist

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