The grueling physical challenge was everything my DNA says I should avoid
A Tough Mudder military style endurance event in Edinburgh, Scotland.(Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
I never figured myself to be the type of man who would want to try Tough Mudder, a popular military-style fitness endurance event. As the heir to a treasure-trove of Polish-Jewish genes of hapless, short men (housepainters, tailors, Talmudists), my father unconsciously imparted to my brother and me that “fitness” was for tall Swedes and Herculean WASPS. We, the descendants of Jacob, were by virtue of temperament, proclivity, and body types to stay home, study the texts, and tend the sheep.
But then I started running in my 20s and lost my Yeshiva-bochur weight, and kept it off. Still, upper body strength and feats of derring-do, irrationally, were off-limits.
About a year and a half ago, after having been prodded by my dear wife to “bulk up, man,” I reached out into the world for a trainer. I posted the request on a local listserv and a tall, Syrian-Iranian young man, a mortal with the body of a Greek god, answered the call. (more…)