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There is something to be said about setting out for a nice jog on a picture perfect summer day. The fresh air, the sunshine, the scenery and the value of some exercise. It’s so serene that you might as well make a day of it by nearing half marathon distances. Right?

Take that a step further and embrace an ‘off road’ approach, running on dirt and grass trails where every precarious step could be your last thanks to the ‘ankle-monsters’ that attack with just one misstep, twist and pop. Running a half marathon staring at your feet to avoid that day-ending sprained ankle is a new experience for sure.

Add in miles of mud, some deeper than your shoes, full immersion in water several times over the course, some literally a few degrees above freezing, and fire. The water and mud adds not only an element of difficulty as you penguin-walk up and down hills hoping not to be a human pinball, but it also adds a lot of weight as your water and mud filled shoes feel like bricks attached to your wobbly legs.

More extreme fun in Wisconsin: More headlines and photos | Share your photos | Tough Mudder photos | Edge the Ledge photos | Muggy Buggy Xtreme race photos | Warrior Dash photos | Icy plunge photos

Still sound easy? Include some obstacles, 20 or more of them, all designed to test agility, athleticism and pure strength. Some of which test even the fittest of the fit and scare the beegeebers out of the upper-body strength challenged. A real bummer for anyone with fears such as acrophobia (heights), claustrophobia (confined places), aquaphobia (water) and agliophobia (pain). I put that last one in there because pain of some sort is a certainty at some point, which leads me to the game-changer.

This casual jaunt will be forever etched in your mind by adding in old Mr. Lightning Bolt on two of the obstacles. Hundreds of live wires dangling in a gauntlet of mud and water, some carrying up to 10,000 volts of zap. No, it won’t kill you, that’s the amps of power. But the volts hurt like you’ve been hit by a Chevy Volt.

Electroshock obstacle:

All of that together – THAT is a Tough Mudder. Sound like fun? Then join me this Saturday and/or Sunday in Somerset, Wisconsin for the Minnesota Tough Mudder (yes, I know it IS weird that they have it in our state).

At the end, you’ll receive a T-shirt, an orange headband and a beer. I can assure you that no beer has ever tasted better and that headband will become a prized possession for years to come.

Just want to watch? Spectators are welcome for a small price. Want to watch for free? They always need volunteers. Check’em out for more info: http://toughmudder.com/events/minnesota-sat-jul-20-sun-jul-21-2013/.

Here’s mud in your eye… and your ears… and your nose… and your … Fill in the blank as every answer applies!

Steve Teofilo is your typical 'average Joe' who has decided to jump in on the extreme obstacle race craze and blogs about the 'thrill, skill and will' of training and competing in these events. Steve will provide training tips for and photos from various races throughout Wisconsin.

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