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August 14, 2014
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Adam Jensen: Pleasure and pain at Tough Mudder

I might be alone here, but, most times, running is plenty tough for me.

After banging out a couple of miles on the trail, I feel like I’ve done a good deed for my body that day. In return, my legs reward me with a general aching sensation and a less-than-limber gait.

I wonder how the hundreds of people taking part in Tough Mudder Tahoe at Northstar California this weekend will feel after adding a long list of tortuous obstacles to an approximately 10-mile trail run. I imagine it’s good, old-fashioned soreness smoothed over with the warm glow of self-satisfaction.

Although I’ve never participated in a Tough Mudder, there is clearly something to the joy of making it through an obstacle course unscathed, relatively speaking.

The popularity of these obstacle runs has exploded in recent years, and it would probably take a master’s thesis to explain the psychology of why.

Accomplishing a goal once thought impossible; especially when that goal includes challenges like electric shocks, a “Ladder to Hell” and an “Arctic Enema;” is undoubtedly part of it.

From Tough Mudder’s website: “No matter what your limitations or reservations may be, you can push yourself to be better than you were yesterday. Everyone has that ability - you just have to choose to do it. Go ahead and tap into that potential of yours. Once you complete a Tough Mudder, you’ll be shocked at how easy it is to do other things you didn’t think you could do.”

They’re at least in the ballpark there.

Even if you’re not taking on the challenge of Tough Mudder this weekend, the feeling of having new doors open after accomplishing a goal is a familiar one at Lake Tahoe. From climbing a mountain, to getting up on skis for the first time, to nailing that rocky section on a mountain bike, getting things done you never thought possible is always right at your fingertips here.

So even if obstacles like “Fire in Your Hole” aren’t your bag, there’s still plenty of ways to push past your limits while having a good time. Tough Mudder is just one of the more eccentric outlets for that limit-pushing satisfaction familiar to many Tahoe residents and visitors.

Although I may take the plunge into an obstacle race in the future, I’m going to go ahead and let this year’s batch of enthusiastic masochists dive in ahead of me.

Godspeed on the hunt for that orange headband, Tough Mudders.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Aug 14, 2014 05:32PM Published Aug 18, 2014 05:08PM Copyright 2014 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.