Posts Tagged With: getting old

There Will Be Mud

DCIM105GOPROFrom the euphoria of conquering Everest to the muck in the bowels of the mud pit, one thing the Tough Mudder course never does is let up. My intrepid team of Mudder’s had barely set our feet on solid ground when the trek to the next challenge began.

My son and I ran point. My sister and cousin trod in our footprints, a half-mile up a gentle incline. But nothing about the Mudder is gentle. This slope was covered in soft, dry sand. Better to muscle through and rest at the top than to break our pace and breathe easy.

DCIM105GOPROAnother mile and three more obstacles down the winding trail, we saw it. The Mudder’s namesake. The Mud Mile. All this time we had been gradually ascending. Now the Mudder would throw us into a pit of Hell. Down another winding trail with no place to stand but loose, red dirt.

We kept our feet moving. To rest was to tumble through the legs of the Mudders ahead of us. Up one pile of freshly dug dirt, and down another until we reached the canyon floor.

DCIM106GOPROIf the Mud Mile were simply mud, what would be the challenge? Water, thick as pancake batter met us first. First to our ankles, then above our knees, but that is for kids. The batter reached our chests as our legs sank past our knees in soft, squishy muck. Then it was over slick clay walls nearly as tall as we were. Not one, but three per mud pit.

Then out of the pit and across more loose dirt and sand. It clung to our clothes and caked inside our shoes. We repeated this ritual for a mile, maybe more with nothing but belly-crawls through loose sand as an interlude.

DCIM106GOPROWhen it came to an end, we had to leave the pit, but not on the same winding trail we had entered. No, Mudders climb out, on ropes. We scaled the walls, many pounds heavier than when we entered the pit thanks to the red clay, mud, and sand in our shoes, shorts, and hair.

We had survived the toughest, nastiest obstacles the Mudder could throw at us. We simply had a mile sprint to the finish. Our months of training paid off. DSC_0307While other teams gasped for air, we trotted past them grinning ear to ear. The finish line lay just ahead, and so did the bright orange headbands that would crown us as official Tough Mudders.

We’ve had a month to bask in the glow of our accomplishments. Now, it is on to The Spartan Trifecta.

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Your Warranty Has Expired

images-3Who knew the human body had a warranty?

We all know there’s and expiration date — a date when, like a jug of expired milk, our loved ones will unceremoniously pour our vital fluids down a mortician’s drain and toss our shell to the curb — but a warranty?

Mine expired the day I turned 49.

Until then, by body seemed to take care of itself. Dings mended. Squeaky wheels greased themselves. My engine refueled itself overnight. And I never left an oil stain on the garage floor.

That warranty ran out last month. Since then, my engine can never seem to catch up. My thermostat is either too high or too low. Dings now require a trip to the body shop, and my wife says I’ve developed a gas leak. I wouldn’t know because my ears are now defective and hair follicles clog my air intake valve.

At one year short of half-a-century, my feet smell and my nose runs. If I fill up with anything but high-octane fuel, I belch foul-tasting fumes for hours.

My joints squeak. My hoses leak. My muscles are weak.

Locomotion is a chore. When I rise, I grunt almost as much as when I fall. My springs quiver. And I list to one side when I walk.


I have to warm up the engine in the morning. I start slower, and take longer to accelerate. I rattle at high speed, and I must coast to a stop, but like my old tuck outside — the one my wife wants me to sell — there’s still a little fire in the old spark plug.

And as with that old truck, trips to the mechanic are more frequent and more costly. So today, I’m headed to the shop to have my valves checked, my engine tuned, my joints greased. I just hope the mechanic trims his nails before he checks my oil.

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