Before I signed up for the Tough Mudder, the furthest I had ever run was 7 miles. I had run the Warrior Dash, the Spartan Sprint, and signed up with a buddy of mine who had a team.
Then the training began. I increased my running and started doing CrossFit workouts to increase my endurance and my strength. In retrospect, I should have run more.
We got to the race and went through the usual ritual. Parking, checking in, writing your bib number all over your body/pinning bib (HINT: NEVER pin bib on your back, that is how they identify you for your race highlight pictures).
*Note that for the group pic above, I am wearing the bib in the front. Someone had a last minute great idea and switched her bib to the back of her shirt. Good move, D.
I led the boys through some warm up exercises and we headed to the starting line. We were the second heat time of the day: perfect for the Texas heat and the muddy obstacles, as they get muddier later in the day.
The race speaker did a good job of motivating us… honoring our wounded warriors and men and women who have served in our armed forces. The name of the game is teamwork, and we are instructed to help out our fellow mudders so that everyone finishes.
The countdown begins…
Adrenaline starts pumping…
The energy in the crowd is palpable as the momentum surges forward and we all take off on this adrenaline and banana fueled adventure.
We get into a few barbed wire crawls to begin with, getting nice and muddy.
The obstacles are about half a mile to a mile apart, and you have enough recovery time to regain your strength in between. A few obstacles require jumping, crawling, pushing, and pulling, so they wear you out quickly.
A couple of miles in, and we hit the Arctic Enema obstacle, where you are submerged in a bath of ice-cold water. You have to swim underneath these wooden barriers and essentially get your whole body wet in freezing water. Love it. Ha! I probably looked like this coming out from underneath…
But at least all the mud was cleaned off! Temporarily, at least.
Up and down some tough hills, asking for help when needed. Everyone was more than willing to lend a hand.
Ready for some high voltage?
Don’t worry, it’s the amperage that kills you.
How about getting shocked through water?
Because getting electrocuted in the dark isn’t enough.
Oh and we’re not halfway done you say.
Hope you’re not claustrophobic.
And that you can swim.
Then the running….
oh the running….
There was a lot of running. I started to feel it in my hip flexors around mile 6. Trails and mud offer greater resistance than the flat, groomed hike and bike trail of Town Lake that I had previously been running on.
We traversed walls (um, you need a lot of grip strength and the ability to keep your center of gravity close to the wall.
Look at this determination.
I like to think I looked this fierce, but I know my face was definitely more red than hers.
And my hair more frizzy.
We climbed mountains of hay.
They liked to add little “inspirational messages” along the route….
We climbed mountains of dirt.
We got by with a little help from our friends.
Traversed across monkey bars (that got pretty muddy later in the day…)
Funky Monkey (I admit… I didn’t make it more than a third of the way)
Next year, I’m gonna climb these by myself.
This year, I needed some helping hands and knees.
At the end, we faced Everest. My teammates went ahead and made it up, one at a time with a little help. While they were struggling with each other, I saw two other guys gesturing for me to come up to them. I took a running start and made it almost all the way to the top, reaching out those last few inches towards four outstretched arms.
Once I was safely over the ledge, I thanked my new friends and checked with my buddies to make sure they were doing all right.
I looked towards the finish line, saw the one last obstacle that stood before me and the finish line, and kept moving forward. As I got closer, I started running, seeing what was ahead and figuring it was better to run through it than walk slowly.
Nice trails, a few streams, lots of trees and open spaces. A few hills, but nothing too extreme.
It was a well organized, well run event. The frequent water stations were helpful, as well as the bananas given along the way to help the participants not suffer from depletion of electrolytes. My friend cut his eye towards the very end when he fell and the aid stations were not very sophisticated so I would suggest bringing a first aid kit in the car.
WOULD I DO IT AGAIN?
Yeah I probably will. I love this stuff. I’ll get roped into doing it again with friends. A group of coworkers is also doing the October one coming up… I always say yes. Minus shocking myself, it’s a really fun experience and I really enjoy the challenge.
This year I’ll run more.
My favorite part was the teamwork and how the experience brought everyone closer together. It didn’t matter if someone was your teammate, the atmosphere was one of support and encouragement.
It was really cool how they took this “after” pic while I was in the restroom.
I was pretty worn out towards the end, so it was probably for the better.
No one wants to see that.
Have you run a Tough Mudder or other obstacle course race?
Did you enjoy it?
Would you do it again?