Tough Mudder: In which I sign up for yet another absurd exercise-based activity


“I’m sorry Kat, but I am only qualified to advise you on the Antarctic Enema”

Hello! Yes, it has been a while hasn’t it? Everything okay? Smashing. I’ve signed up to do Tough Mudder London West on April 30, hahaha, how about you oh God. Clearly a 12-mile obstacle course with obstacles named stuff like “ARCTIC ENEMA” and “BOA CONSTRICTOR” and other things best kept at Thorpe Park is a terrific plan.

In case you’re thinking this is yet another example of New Year’s-based idiocy from some dickhead on the internet you’ve never met, no! I signed up for this thing in October. My actual hangover-induced New Year’s fuck-ups include buying a juicer (don’t need one!) and diet book about turbo-charged onions (The Sirt Diet! Yes, that insane thing being advertised at Oval station that looks like something someone made up while drunk at Ikea. Both inspired from an implausibly glossy article in The Times this morning, and which reads like an extremely extended “This one little tip” article, only with added celebrity endorsements and worse abuse of “incredible!”. I will report back on how it goes, for example,  if I have lost 7lbs in a week, or just the £29.99 I’ve just spent on a juicer from Ocado.)

In October I was visiting H’s godmother,  along with him and his Rat Pack of incredibly healthy and mercifully brilliant fellow godchildren. “I need motivation in my life,” I thought, gazing misty-eyed at them through the best part of a bottle of Malbec. “All these people are really healthy and want to do a Tough Mudder, including the one who is in the Army. I should  do one as well! Then I could be in an army of Kat Brown success.” In case it is not clear,  I was quite drunk at this point, but feel free to create your own army of success or join mine.

By the time I’d paid the eye watering joining fee, I was sober, and wild eyed with anticipation at how fit and successful I would be by the time April came around, having conveniently forgotten that, while I could run for nearly six hours by the time I did the London Marathon, I felt absolutely neither of those things and had almost lost the ability to see. But blind optimism is a powerful thing, as is wine drunk in beautiful settings in Kent near an extremely large tabby cat called Leonardo.

Predictably, I have spent the last two months frittering away time when I could be exercising and becoming “powerful” and “in charge of my best self” in a state of panic, and muting the godchildren What’s App group in which everyone talks about their regimens and general doing of stuff. But it’s time to unmute the group now. For one,  I have a juicer. For two, it’s  January, and I’ve got fuck all else to be doing now that I’ve seen all of Jessica Jones and nearly caught up with Luther.

And, actually, I do want a challenge. I got married in July – to H, architect of all my London Marathon joy, and the greatest man who ever lived and who is not The Rock – and went to the gym a lot in the run up to it. But I didn’t enjoy the gym because I knew that not looking shit in a dress was a horrible reason for me doing exercise. The insane Marathon training taught me that the best reason for it is because it makes my mind happier, and I feel like I am achieving something wonderful and weird, that doesn’t come easily. And this time, I’d like to do a challenge with other people, rather than on my own.

I am going to ignore the memory of lying in a bath full of Epsom salts post-run two years ago and going “Aaargh” and “But why?” as H read out the list of obstacles one encounters in a Tough Mudder race. How annoying can ice water and electrification be, really? My future best self will be immune to both.


Full-size Snickers

I was so pleased to have done Royal Parks (or fun-size Snickers as my brother called it because – wait for it – it’s a half marathon), but almost immediately started feeling slightly deflated about not having a new goal.  I signed up for a couple of 10ks, and a Santa run with the friends I ran the London Zoo 10k with, but beyond that was a bit “ppffft” about the whole thing.

This is partly because, while on paper I’d had doing a half-marathon down as the be all and end all of this year’s running plans, I really wanted to do something ridiculous. Months ago I entered the London Marathon ballot, and was genuinely disappointed not to get in (if not massively surprised – my brother’s friend has been trying unsuccessfully for years).

I got a phone call from someone at Mind last night about my marathon application. And in short, yours truly is running the 2014 London Marathon! Not even joking! What the hell am I doing! I’m going to have to learn about gels!

I’m going to have to learn about gels 😦