tough mudder: complete

Wow, I can’t believe it’s over. I’m proud and relieved and exhausted and most importantly, done. Last week, I was losing my mind. Nervous was an understatement. Stress dreams left me sweating all day long. The day of the event was the worst. I was filled with anticipation, dreading that I was in way over my head. I think that speaks to how much I trained (not enough to feel comfortable).

Before the mud

Before the mud, eyes closed?

I ran often, did core work and, twice a day, did pushups. Still, the course is pretty intense. The photos from past events show shirtless people who look like they do CrossFit as their full-time job. The mudders they don’t show in the promotions are the normal ones. When we got there I was relieved to see people who looked about as in shape as me (and some maybe even less). Everyone pulsed excitement and energy. No one looked like they wanted to throw up and/or cry, that was reassuring.

The whole course involved roughly 11.5 miles and 25 obstacles. Plus mini challenges along the way, like do 30 lunges, 10 pushups or the wheelbarrow or wade/swim in a cold pond and climb out on a muddy slope.  Here’s our Dallas-Spectator-Map complete with the list of obstacles (here’s a list of the obstacles with pictures and descriptions). Notice the phallic names, Tough Mudder is big on testosterone.

Just in case they had to take me to the hospital...

Just in case they had to take me to the hospital…

The Dallas area is pretty flat, so I imagine it would be a more challenging race in a state with more interesting geography. They created some hills for us, but overall the running was mostly flat. Surprisingly, the running may have been the hardest part. I felt confident in shorter runs, but not for long stretches. Looking back, I should have trained like a half marathon. Since we didn’t run a whole mile straight without a challenge, I thought it would feel more like shorter runs than long ones. Wrong.

Turns out exercising for 4 hours and 14 minutes feels like a heck of a long run. Our team stayed together the whole race, which made if fun, not to mention possible for me to get over a 12 foot wall. The Missouri Mudders + Andrew probably ran around 3/4 of the race. I was surprised by how many walked between all the obstacles. Granted, the obstacles were the fun part, I just expected it to be more competitive. I was grateful it wasn’t.

The worst two by FAR were the electric ones. The electric eel came early in the race.  The shocks were’t bad until the end, then I got a hot one and unleashed a four letter word that made me go to confession on Sunday. I have never crawled so fast in my life. Even jogging away from the challenge, we all still felt buzzed. No bueno.

The other one involving mild electrocution was electroshock therapy.  This one was 100 yards from the finish line. We were exhausted and not in the mood to get zapped. Come to think of it, I’m not sure I’m ever in the mood to get zapped again. I ran on one side of the challenge and didn’t get hit too hard. The other guys all went on the same side and got it good. Hence why they fell in the last mud pit and look muddier in the after picture than me.

There’s no training for that. No matter how big or how good of shape you’re in, that is going to hurt. If I were to ever do another one of these, I might fake a heart condition and skip it. Any of the mudders are welcome to skip any challenge they don’t feel comfortable completing. We all tried everything.

There were two that I couldn’t do. The funky monkey which is the greased monkey bars. To be real, I didn’t expect much on this one. I was content with the three bars I got before I swam. The other failure I had was angled parkour boards that you had to run/hop along or fall in the water. I got halfway and fell in the water. Still not mad about it.

Some of the best were the muddy ones- like the mud mile. We did two and it was cool to see everyone pitch in and help push a stranger’s booty over the hedges or lend a helping hand to pull up and over. In between the chest-high mud mounds were puddles of mud that came up past my knees. I’m not talking about muddy lake water, I’m talking about real life mud. Up to my thighs.

Andrew and I were really sweating the arctic enema. It was a dumpster of ice water with a log wrapped in barbed wire across the middle, making the mudders swim under the log and then climb out the other side. I heard terrible things about it, and most of them were true.  Honestly, it all happened so fast, it wasn’t life-ruining.  I jumped in and kept my head up until I had to get under the log. The minute I put my head under my muscles turned to stone. It took serious work to lift myself, kick a leg up and get out of the water.  Five seconds later, what I thought was the worst was over.

I was really proud and surprised in myself on a couple challenges. The berlin walls were two twelve foot walls that you had to climb over. My team helped me reach up to the top and I was able to get my whole body up and over the wall. From there I dropped to my hands and then dropped to the ground. I really hate heights, maybe it was adrenaline or maybe I’m getting over my fear, but I wasn’t scared to get up there or let go. I know it’s only 12 feet, but that still makes me feel shaky.

The other one that made me feel like a million bucks was called just the tip. It involved edging along a piece of vertical plywood with a 2×4 to hang on to with my fingers and another one for my toes. Then at one point the foothold stops and you just have to inch along with your fingers keeping your whole body out of the water. When studying the obstacles before the race, I wrote that one off as a swim for me (much like the monkey bars), but somehow I was able to finish it without falling in. I have never felt so alive.

The obstacles that broke up the race gave me a burst of excitement and energy that kept my legs (and brain and arms and core) moving the whole time. The last 3 miles felt like they took three hours. The victory beer, tshirt and headband were hard-earned.

The after shot

The after shot

Yesterday was rugged and I’m still moving like an 98 year old woman today. My arms and legs are pretty bruised and I got scratched up quite a bit. I’m fairly positive I could have broken my femurs in half during the race and not noticed.

Would I do another? Not anytime soon. I would totally recommend it though.

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Shannon