something that happened in my life – tough mudder norcal 2011 – september 17, 2011

mountaineering anecdote (courtesy chris)

they say that there are two things that define mountaineers: (1) they like talking about mountaineering more than actually doing it, and (2) they have terrible memories. 

the actual act of mountaineering is actually quite strenuous and painful and unpleasant, but after the fact, mountaineers often forget about the bad moments and can’t wait to do it again.

that’s tough mudder in two sentences.

official TM2011 norcal video

FAQ style:

why did you do tough mudder again?! you crazy

40% – personal growth experience – sean and I always joke about this one story when sean was talking to a higher up about doing tough mudder, and sean goes “yeah, james is doing it too” and higher up goes “james?!  james CHU!?!??!” and then sean and sammy simultaneously chat me being like “CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT HE JUST SAID THAT?!?!?!  YOU”RE GOING TO LET HIM SAY THAT AND NOT DEFEND YOURSELF?!?!?!” it was a goofy moment.

IN ALL SERIOUSNESS, I am scared of pretty much everything and a fairly innocuous person who is quite risk averse.  definitely a growing experience for me.  to quote the tough mudder pledge: I will conquer all fears.  I could definitely afford to be a little tougher.


stood at the top of the platform for a good minute hyperventilating.

40% – something to train for – I am arguably in the best shape of my life under the pretenses of training for tough mudder.  super fun, great community.   great motivator; for better or for worse, was a lot of fun training for an amorphous challenge.

sometimes I describe it to people that… it’s fun to be able to wear this athletic hat.  because I’ve never been able to wear it before.  like not to say that my parents didn’t encourage it.  but it’s fun to have athletic goals instead of academic goals.  it’s fun to be thought of as “someone with some basic athletic ability” instead of “someone with basic academic ability”.


the fastest finishers are all runners, which is weird, because tough mudder definitely brands it as a strength event.  that said, the really built, ripped people dominated the “hold your wood” obstacle

20% – something really fun – spending a weekend in tahoe doing an epic bonding experience with some close friends; not to mention the training on top of that.


goofy, super fun training day.

that said:

how was tough mudder?!

graded on the above rubric:

intensity: there were definitely moments of adrenaline, of fear, of mental intensity that I would have never gotten to experience otherwise.  ice water, heights, pushing through physical pain.  there was this 30 minute stretch where I was just really freaking cold and wasn’t getting warmer.  it was really freaking exciting and tough at times.  awesome.  (although they more or less decimated electroshock therapy obstacle, so you didn’t have to get shocked, which was simultaneously what I was looking forward to/dreading the most) and it felt great to do ridiculous shit.

athletic ability: this was a little bit of a letdown.  we wanted to start and finish as a team, which was fun and great for camaraderie, less so from an athletic standpoint, just because we ended up hiking most of it.  which made me antsy for the first couple miles, but I was pretty exhausted as the day wore on.  (for the record, 12 miles at a high elevation with significant elevation change; took us about 6 hours)

fun: fun conversation, great to do it as a team.  this is somewhat of a tradeoff with the above, unless you find people of similar athletic level.  or if you do it with people who are way faster than you.


way to go, team!  felt great to finish.  a long journey.  really freaking satisfying.

would you do tough mudder again?


not really sure whether I would want to do TM next year; think that I maybe got everything I wanted out of it, and not really sure whether I would derive that much pleasure/enjoy it as much next year.  (however, as more time passes, the less I remember of the scary/painful parts and the more I remember how awesome and fun it was)

that said, I think it would be an awesome, incredible event to do with an SO.


(I need a lot more time to think about this question though and reflect on it.  one more year.  it honestly was a fairly painful experience that I really think I only need once)

what’s next?!

the workout goals for the next 6 weeks are (sort of a mixed bag of goals):

  • start moving from body weight exercises to free weights (that said, the goals are 15 pullups/50 pushups) (currently can do 12/40)
  • training for the us half; reasonably flat.  1:45 time (around 8 minute pace) (over 15 miles per week?  20?!)
  • run down the embarcadero shirtless

harder better faster stronger


HBFS was a reality-tv/goblet of fire inspired faceoff between 4 teams that we did as training the week before the event.  I have to say that I found HBFS was definitely a lot more fun and physically intense than tough mudder.  definitely want to do this/organize this again.


okay, I definitely was still a little bit sore/injured from HBFS during tough mudder.  same with angeles.  whoops.











more details in this facebook album.

tough mudder video

props to angeles for putting this together. 

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One thought on “something that happened in my life – tough mudder norcal 2011 – september 17, 2011

  1. phenothebest says:

    looks fun!!!! wondering if I should do this~

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