1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My love affair with running started in 2008 after I finished my first 5k. After that, I was hooked on that runner’s high and ran a bunch of 5ks, the Broad St. 10-miler, and three half marathons. Somewhere along the way, I wanted more of a challenge, which is what got me into mud runs. I compliment running with yoga, Crossfit, Insanity, and P90X.
I’m a Lifestyle Coach, specializing in helping professional women incorporate health and fitness into their busy schedules. I use Beachbody products to help support my clients in their journey. Check out my website and blog at www.stephaniecookwellness.com.
I live in Philadelphia, PA with my husband and our two tuxedo cats.
2. What Mud runs have you done?
I’ve done the Windham Mountain Warrior Dash, the NJ Tough Mudder, and the Rugged Maniac.
3. What one was your favorite and why?
My favorite was definitely the Tough Mudder. It was the most physically challenging, but it was also the most fun. I completed it with my family (my mom, stepfather, sister, brother-in-law, stepbrother, and a good family friend) – we stuck together until the end and helped each other through all the toughest obstacles. It’s awesome telling people I did a Tough Mudder with my parents!
4. What one was your least favorite and why?
A bit of a toss up here. From a course standpoint, the Rugged Maniac was disappointing. It was supposed to have lots of fire obstacles, but due to a serious drought in NJ at the time, they weren’t able to have fires through most of the course. It was just dry and dusty – yuck!
Probably though, I would consider the Warrior Dash my all-around least favorite, but not for any reason you’d guess. I completed WD with my husband and stepfather; my husband was the least fit of all of us and so we were waiting for him to catch up after most of the obstacles. Well, after the last obstacle, which we completed together, he went into an all-out sprint to the finish line and beat everyone! Talking about it still gets me fired up!
5. What is it about mud runs that appeals to you?
For me, mud runs are all about team work. I don’t really consider them a competition, as much as a chance to support your team and challenge yourself physically.
6. How do you train for mud runs?
It really depends on the course. For the Warrior Dash and Rugged Maniac, I didn’t really do any special training – just my regular mix up of running, yoga, and some strength training. For the Tough Mudder, I stepped up my mileage – with my longest training run being about 10 miles – and did lots of body weight exercises, like pull-ups and pushups.
7. Do you have a special diet?
I’m a pescatarian, so I eat fish but no meat, with the exception of bacon every once in awhile (because bacon is just too delicious to say no to!). I’ve been experimenting with a modified version of the Paleo diet for a few months. Day to day, I try to load up on lots of veggies and I always start my day with a Shakeology superfood protein shake.
8. What is the craziest thing you have seen at a mud run?
The craziest ‘crazy’ thing I’ve seen was a group of guys completing the Tough Mudder in g-strings. This seemed crazy at the starting line, but after going through the course and shaking POUNDS of rocks and dirt out of everything I was wearing, this is just downright insane!
The craziest ‘inspirational’ thing I saw was also at Tough Mudder. I witnessed a military team (not sure what service) help a handicapped vet through the course. When I saw them, he was strapped to a backboard and the team was taking turns carrying him. They were all having a blast while doing it – you could tell there was a lot of love and camaraderie there.
9. What other mud runs do you have planned for this year?
I don’t have anything planned right now, but I’ve been toying with the idea of doing GoRuck.
10. Any advice for someone who is thinking about running their first mud run?
DO IT! Don’t over think it – just go for it and have fun.