On the first Friday of every month, John Fagan can be found at 3 a.m. beginning a 15-to-20-mile trail run.
His run is regularly interrupted by a set of pushups in the cold water at the base of a waterfall or occasionally picking up boulders along the trail and carrying them a short distance.
Fagan isn't alone in his strenuous workout.
He's joined by three friends, all connected by their passion for Tough Mudder events, that endure the training in preparation for obstacle-course races throughout the year.
In their own words, they're just "four ordinary guys attempting extraordinary things."
"It [Tough Mudder] pushes you to your mental and physical limits," said Fagan, who lives in Sykesville.
The teammates, better known as the 3AM Waterfalls on the Tough Mudder circuit, have participated in almost 20 Tough Mudder events since 2011. Combined, they have run nearly 700 miles worth of Tough Mudder obstacles.
Tough Mudder, an obstacle-course challenge, consists of a 10-mile trail run over rugged terrain, featuring about 20 obstacles.
Fagan is joined on the team by Laurel resident Tony Fontana, Jeremy Bucalo, of Shrewsbury, Pa., and Kevin Lasko, of New York.
Their moniker stems from the early-morning workouts.
They say their goal is to keep pushing themselves to see where their breaking point is.
"We haven't found it yet," Fagan said
The 3AM Waterfalls won the 2013 World's Toughest Mudder team competition in November, which carries with it a $12,000 prize.
The team covered 80 miles in less than 25 hours at the event in New Jersey. Their closest competitors were five miles behind.
There have been more than 100 Tough Mudder events held throughout the country since 2010, with more than 1.3 million people participating, according to Tough Mudder spokeswoman Carol Gottshall.
In 2013 alone, there were 53 events with 750,000 participants, Gottshall said.
All in their early to mid-30s, team members say the Tough Mudder events serve as motivation to stay in shape and represent a chance to build team camaraderie.
"I just like testing my body to see my limits," Bucalo said, adding that he likes to run the events with friends and family as a social activity.
While their families, especially their wives, thought they were crazy at first, Fagan said they are now supportive.
Their families attend many of the races and before each race, Fagan said his wife offers him these words of encouragement, "Good luck, don't be stupid."