Mental strength put to test with Tough Mudder obstacle course
Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014 11:45 am
A team of thrill-seekers from St. Paul made the trip to Whistler in June to take part in Tough Mudder 2014, a grueling obstacle course that challenges strength, endurance and mental toughness of anyone who steps up to the task.
Cathrin Lohstraeter, Viv Lamothe, Larry Lamothe, Dennis Paul, Ashten Haraba, Renee Lamothe and Becky Paul all joined forces to take on the series of 19 obstacles as a team, and Lohstraeter says the group is already plotting its return next summer.
“There was just something about it,” she said, adding 17,000 people took part in the two-day event. “You have these thousands of people, and you’re challenging yourself and your team, but you’re trying to work together so everybody crosses that finish line.”
Each obstacle challenged participants in a different way, combining tests of strength and endurance with confrontations of primal fears. In the case of Walk the Plank, that fear was heights.
“Walk the Plank was an interesting one. You jump 12 feet into a puddle of water, like a handmade pond, ice cold,” said Lohstraeter, adding mental strength was the most important quality in achieving success at Tough Mudder. “That’s basically what Tough Mudder is about; you can be the biggest bodybuilder, but if you can’t jump the 12 feet . . . it’s about mentality.”
Larry Lamothe said he found the Berlin Walls to be one of the most challenging obstacles at Tough Mudder, as it tasked him and his teammates with vaulting over three 11-foot tall walls.
“You have to jump over three walls, one after the other. They had one cheater step about three feet high which was just the width of a two-by-four and you had to hit that right and jump up and grab the top of the wall,” said Lamothe. “Everybody was there to help you over, so if were having problems they’d give you a boost.”
The most challenging and mentally trying task of the day, said Lohstraeter, was the Electroshock Therapy obstacle. She was left without words when attempting to describe the electric event that saw competitors make their way through a track lined with live electric wires just prior to crossing the finish line of the 12-mile track.
“You can walk or run, whatever you can do, however you can get through it. That’s the finish line, you have to get through that to get your orange bandana, your t-shirt and your beer,” she said, adding teammate Dennis Paul had a rough go in the final obstacle. “He really got whacked there . . . You can’t prepare yourself for that.”
While the two-day event saw numerous teams striving to reach the finish line, Lohstraeter agreed there was a great sense of camaraderie and community, as strangers helped pick people up out of the mud and carry on with them toward the finish line.
“It’s not about just yourself, you’re there to help everybody out,” she said. “It was just a great experience.”
Lamothe said the events ability to force the group to work as a team was very appealing to everyone involved, and is ultimately what prompted their desire to return for next year’s event.
“Going as a group you get the camaraderie and teamwork. It was a good time,” he said. “It has a lot to do with teamwork and you get to meet a lot of people there as well.”