Of Mud and Ego

by jimowensjr

“Well have you done enough now to satisfy your ego?” asked my mother.


I smiled.  The question came during a conversation about my having just completed my third Tough Mudder—at age 55.  I was just a babe when I did my first two.  I was 54.


People say I’m a little crazy (not just for the Tough Mudders). They look at me with that “at your age” look when they hear I’m participating.   The notion of a grown man (on the outside) choosing to run a more than ten-mile obstacle course, slogging through mud, leaping off towers, and climbing walls is a bit unusual.  Hell.  It is crazy.


Why it’s fun to slide into four-foot deep pool of ice water (The Arctic Enema) and having to climb over a wall into another pool before you get can get out, isn’t something I can justify.  Nor can I explain the terror/joy of slipping into darkness, rolling onto your back and floating, with just enough room to breathe, below a cage (Rain Main) while water is dripping down in your face, is, well, fun.


Maybe it’s the challenge.  The determination to honor what part of one of the things my father says.  “Everyone has to get older.  Nobody has to get old.”


Maybe it’s the fact that I can eat absolutely anything I want before and after the race.  Pancakes with syrup before.  Double cheeseburger, milkshake and fries after.


Maybe it’s the fact that it’s a team challenge.  Everyone puts aside (mostly) his own ego and invests in helping complete strangers accomplish things they never thought they could.  Together.


Or maybe it’s the beer you get at the end of the race.  I like beer.  Beer likes me.  We’re kind of a big deal together.


My Mom knows me pretty well.  I’m sure she’s on to something.  Sure, there’s a little ego in it.  But I’m an only child so that makes it okay.  We really are perfect (kidding!). In the end, I wouldn’t participate if it wasn’t fun.  Crazy fun. I think the world could use a little more crazy fun.  So I’m signing up for another one this Fall.

And don’t worry Mom.  I’ll be careful.