Saturday, March 31, 2012

Officially a Tough Mudder... HOO-RAH!

12 miles, 25 obstacles, and 3.5 hours later, I am officially a Tough Mudder.

Part of the pledge.

I’m not going to bore you with a diary account of my day, but I will say, that military-style obstacle course beat my body to a pulp. By the time I was done, I felt like I had been plowed over by a train. Or two.
Minutes after crossing the finish line.

Between crawling through clay, swimming through ice, leaping over mudholes, and slithering through sludge, I am EXHAUSTED.

My arms and legs are covered in scrapes, scratches and bruises.
My bra is full of algae.
AND every single crack and crevice is filled with mud/clay/cow manure.

Disgusting, but nothing a good shower and soap can’t wash away.
Me and my husband Kevin <3

Below is a list of my top five most memorable obstacle moments… Enjoy!

My top 5 most memorable obstacles

   1) Muddy Trenches- “Cannonball!!!!!”
This was an alternating series of muddy mounds and deep trenches filled with nasty water that smelled like COW POOP. (Trust me, having grown up on a farm triggered an unfortunate recognition of the scent.)

So, to get across the obstacle, you had to jump into the icky brown troughs, swim across to the next mound, then pull yourself up a slippery four-foot slope… and then do it all over again another ten times.

This was one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever had to do. It was comparable to rolling around in a flooded cow stall. Never in my life did I purse my lips together so tightly just to avoid drinking the water.

After about the third trench, I decided to stop grossing myself out and started to actually have fun with it. For the next few jumps, I pretended I was Ron Burgandy and cannonballed into the nastiness.
Will Ferrell in "Anchorman"

    2) Arctic Enema
This was a huge shipping container full of FREEZING COLD- 30-something-degree water.  You climb a wall, jump, into the “tub”, swim underneath a board, and then climb back out of the box.

Sounds easy enough, right? WRONG. This was the shortest obstacle but it was truly a test of withstanding the elements. Plunging into that icy blue liquid put me into instant shock. Thousands of tiny needles seemed to pierce my skin. Worse than the initial plunge was purposely submerging myself under the barrier, just to get to the other side of the tank. Having my head underwater with absolutely no vision gave me a sick sense of claustrophobia and I was very close to panicking.

I think I now understand how the passengers of the Titanic felt!  Terrifying!

Side note: After the race, I spoke to a guy who said he was immediately traumatized after jumping into the tank. He said it shocked him so much that he began vomiting inside the tank. (SO GLAD I WAS NOT BEHIND HIM!!)

Here's a video I found from another race so you can see what I'm referring to:

  3) Devil’s Beard
This was a gigantic cargo net tightly tied to the ground on all four ends, hovering over a nasty mix of sand and sludge. The only way to get through it was by lying on your belly and crawling through the muck.

At first, I didn’t think this was as challenging as some of the other obstacles. HOWEVER, this one really depends on whom you’re surrounded by. Within ten seconds of sliding under the rope, I was clubbed in the head by my husband’s elbow. Apparently I was moving more quickly than he was and he didn’t like the competition. ;)

THEN, some jerks behind me thought it would be cool to pass me, race each other to the other side and, inadvertently kick that nasty muddy goo into my eyes. Needless to say, I finished that obstacle like a blind snake, slithering with both my eyes and mouth closed to avoid eating their spinoff.

But it’s okay, I did get my revenge... I later passed those losers and beat them to the finish line. :)
Photo from Tough Mudder Website

   4) Half Pipe-
This obstacle resembles something you’d typically see at a skate park. But this is a little different… Instead of using wheels to reach the top, you’re using every muscle in your legs and back to propel yourself over the brim.

It’s a 12-foot half pipe, a greasy sloped fiberglass wall that takes both athleticism and teamwork to overcome.

For some reason, this was the one that scared me the most. But why? Maybe it was hundreds of spectators standing around… Or maybe it was some kind of athletic insecurity I was harboring.  Either way, I FROZE. I watched my husband sprint and spring to the top but I could NOT get my legs to follow. Finally, after a few minutes of watching other women run, jump, and miserably fall, I finally decided it was now or never. I ran with all my might, stretched for my husband’s hand, slipped out of grasp, and bounced to the bottom.

After the fourth try, I MADE IT! What an awesome feeling it was to accomplish something I never thought I was capable of.

I guess all of those lunges/plyometrics workouts paid off! 
Photo taken during another Tough Mudder race.

   5)   Walk the Plank
This was a mixture between Peter Pan and Swamp Monsters…an obstacle that is no fun if you’re afraid of either heights OR murky waters.

It’s a 15-foot platform standing over a lake. All you need to do is climb the wooden barricade, leap into a frigid lake, and swim to shore. Very simple physically, yet very challenging mentally.

For me, the jump into the lake was nothing. Five years ago I jumped off a 75-foot cliff in Lagos, Portugal while on spring break. Now THAT was pure and warranted fear. Later, I was told I landed only inches away from a heap of rocks. Luckily, I live to tell that story.

But the lake is somewhat scary itself. The water is so dark and cloudy that there is no possible way to see ANYTHING that might be swimming around or beneath you. It also doesn’t help when your husband harasses you and pretends like he felt a snake. It goes without saying, I was DETERMINED to get out of there as quickly as possible. I kicked, paddled and splashed my way to the grass. When I emerged, I was covered in slimy algae. I’ll take that over a reptile encounter any day.

Here's a video I found from another race:

A few words of future advice:

1)   Sign up for the earliest heat of the day. Going first makes for a much less slippery course and cooler temperatures. Starting later subjects you to a hotter sun, as well as longer lines waiting to do the obstacles.
2)   Make sure you drink plenty of water and Gatorade the night before the race. Too many people started to get leg cramps during the 7th mile of the race. Electrolytes are key to preventing excruciating pain.
3)   Bring a towel and a change of clothes for the end of the race. You’ll want to get rinsed off as soon as possible. Plus, there’s plenty of food, beer, and socializing for those who conquer their fears and cross the finish line.
Be prepared to run with mud and rocks in your shoes. Blisters are inevitable.

Side Note: I fully intended on taking more photos. However, by the time the race was over, I was too tired to do anything but sleep. Also, we still had a five-hour drive home AND we hadn't slept since Thursday. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.