Fear factor grows
Extreme fitness event will test Baker’s mettle
I had Russ there a couple of times to catch me, (but) now I’m gripping so hard, I’m potentially getting blisters.
TO SWIM through a pit of muddy ice, jump through fire and charge through a field of live wires delivering mild electric shocks: is it the stuff of nightmares or the adult version of jumping in puddles?
Lisa Baker and four friends will find out in six weeks at Bell’s Creek.
Tough Mudder is a muddy 20km course with 18 SAS-styled obstacles, and requires camaraderie, mental grit, strength and agility to complete.
Named Healthy North Burnett’s Most Inspirational Athlete for 2013, Baker has been building her strength and agility since she started running after the birth of her second child in 2012.
After running two half-marathons, she was persuaded to run her first marathon, 43.5km from Gayndah to Mundubbera, last year.
“Tough Mudder I see as a challenge to make me train to do that,” she said.
“It’s a different challenge and the training for it is obstacles, using different body parts.
“It’s a mental as well as physical challenge.”
And there are challenges on course for everyone and every fear.
Obstacles could include the Boa Constrictor, crawling uphill and down through confined spaces; the Arctic Enema, where participants need to avoid a body shutdown by running (crawling) up a hill after swimming through a muddy ice pit; and a new obstacle which features fire.
“It’s the extreme sport level based originally on an SAS course and commercialised,” Baker said.
Her training regimen has “something for everyone” and includes facing her fear of heights.
With the help of husband Russ, she has built her own version of the Funky Monkey obstacle, an A-framed monkey bar, at home.
“I had Russ there a couple of times to catch me, (but) now I’m gripping so hard, I’m potentially getting blisters,” she said.
Describing Tough Mudder as “the adult version of jumping in puddles”, Baker has been enjoying the variety in her training – climbing and swinging on ropes; crawling through stormwater drains and under barbed-wire fences; negotiating cattle-yard fences and rock obstacles; and flipping tractor tyres.
But, the key to surviving Tough Mudder is teamwork or, as the organisers call it – camaraderie.
Organisers say every obstacle on the course is designed for a 78% success rate, and you need mates to succeed.
“For me, there’s an extra level of planning – I’ll need to make sure the sugars are perfect at the start,” said the Type 1 diabetic, who has worked through a plan with her endocrinologist.
“I can’t carry the pump or blood tester through a kilometre or more of mud, or when swimming, so I’ll carry an insulin injection with me.”
There will be blood testers at medic stations on course and Baker will carry a stash of jelly beans in case her blood sugar goes low.
She said her team had yet to discuss their strengths and weaknesses, but she was confident they would work through each obstacle – “who’s got the height here or the strength there”.
Having had a trial run at Brisbane’s “Miss Muddy” event, a 5km mud run for women only, last Sunday, Baker was ready to tackle Tough Mudder.
With their team of five keen for another member or two, those interested can call Baker on 0412 686 572.
HANGING TOUGH: Lisa Baker defies her fear of heights to prepare for the Tough Mudder.