I climb under barbed wire, lug a chunk of wood up and down a hill, scale a huge ramp. My swollen foot gets worse. I scale a glacier without a shirt and walk through flaming barrels of hay. Along the way, there are small groups of cheerleaders waiting to tell me that I'm "almost there."
They are lying.
Finally, though, I am facing the final challenge: "Electroshock Therapy." Ten thousand volts of electricity running through wires, and all I have to do is run through them for this nightmare to finally be over? No biggie, just run.
I get zapped pretty good right off the bat. It feels like being attacked by hornets, and it bounces me forward into another wire, another zap. I feel like a pinball as I bolt through the maze. The last zap just as I'm clearing the wires is a doozy, and sends a fearsome shock up my arm. But it doesn't matter anymore. I just completed Tough Mudder.
>> SLIDESHOW: "Scott Fayner does the Tough Mudder" by Tony Testa <<
I drop to my knees, slamming them painfully onto concrete. People are cheering. Testa takes my picture. I'm smiling — but I'm thinking, Get me the fuck out of here.
Tough Mudder was one of the worst experiences of my life. Currently I'm walking with the aid of a fox-head cane and some kickass painkillers; although my scrapes and bruises are gone, my right foot still throbs terribly.
I'm thinking I tore a tendon, but I don't want to know.
The men and women who do this shit — who jump out of planes, who drive race cars, who sign themselves up for machismo-fueled fever dreams of self-punishment — those people are just nuts.
And now I am one of them. Forever.
Scott Fayner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org,