WARNING: LONG but detailed & helpful for future tough mudders :)
First, I guess Sparkpeople limits how many fitness minutes we can log in per day? On Sunday, I did the Tough Mudder in 5 hours start to finish, (more to follow). On the right side of the screen in Sparkpeople where it has this week’s fitness minutes, it only has 120…which is 2 hours not the 5 that I did. For the month, it shorted me by 180 minutes…BOO!! I know what I did though so it’s okay. Maybe I will add more minutes on other days to make up for it…not sure though.
Back to the TM; I have done 5 other mudrun/obstacle races, none of them this long or this muddy. It was a brutal 11.6 miles of hills, LOTS of hills, mud, obstacles, mud and hills. And mud. I did this with a friend and we volunteered on Saturday and ran the course on Sunday. For anyone looking for a discount to these types of events, volunteering will get a nice chunk off the price and some even offer free entries.
Volunteering gave us the opportunity to talk with the participants the day before and get the scoop; the average times were anywhere from just under 3 hours and up to 4 hours. We figured our time would be somewhere between this, 3 to 3 ˝ hours is what we were expecting. Mother Nature had other plans for the Sunday mudrunners. A storm came through Saturday night. In addition to waking up at midnight with full on nerves kicking in, the storm showed up just as I was getting myself relaxed enough to go back to sleep. That went on for at least an hour, maybe two…I refused to watch the clock so I’m not sure. I did manage to fall back asleep for a few more hours.
Have no fear though; adrenaline, anxiety and excitement kicked in and got me going that morning. Having encountered a young lady that said she was terrified to do it and hear the emcee at the start announce someone puking the day before…I knew my frame of mind was better than those two. I signed up, I showed up and I was ready!
We had to climb a wall to even get to the starting line. I would guess it was 8 feet high with three sections to choose from: one you could use a rope to get over, the middle had finger and foot holds to climb up and over, (I chose that one) and the last one you simply could jump/boost yourself over without any rope or foot holds.
This was the stickiest mud ever…your shoes automatically were suctioned in where you stood, no matter how many times you tried to loosen the grip, the mud just grabbed onto your shoes. And the run hadn’t even started. The emcee announced to us that in the 3 year history of TM, this was by far the muddiest the course has ever been, thanks to the storm the night before. We had our work cut out for us. Granted, no one goes into this (or shouldn’t anyway) expecting it to be easy by any stretch but this level of mud just added to the difficulty.
We take off at 11:00 a.m. and as I mentioned earlier, going by yesterday’s average finishing times, we expect to be done by 2 or 2:30. We are both in good shape and have been training for this for months with running long distances and for me strength training and for her, lots of crossfit. It took us 22 minutes to get to mile one. That’s how bad the mud was because we tried to run but it’s hard to gain speed when your feet are clinging to the ground and when you’re picking up what felt like 2 pounds of mud on the bottom of each shoe. When it wasn’t suction cup city, it was slippery as ever.
I mentioned the hills before too… those lovely hills. It was at a BMX or motocross track so the hills ranged from 6 to 20 feet …muddy, slippery & steep…many hills to conquer so again, it was hard to gain speed because of that.
Obstacles over 11.6 miles:
American Ninja (mystery obstacle)-hopping from one side to another over water pit
Arctic enema-jump into ice water, submerge under board in order to exit the other side
Bale bonds- going over round hay bales, 3 or 4 of these throughout the course
Berlin Walls-2 10 foot high walls to get over
Boa constrictor-tunnels which are half full of muddy water
Cage crawl-floating on your back in water under a hurricane fence enclosure, just enough room to breath
Cliffhanger-felt like several of these (slippery mud hills to climb)
Devil’s Beard-2 of these, crawling under a tight cargo net
Electric eel-zapped with electricity while crawling over wet surface
Electroshock therapy-zapped with more electricity but running through mud & over hay bales
Everest-huge halfpipe to run up
*Funky monkey-monkey bars that go upwards then back down over a water pit
Glory blades-8 foot walls leaning towards you
Hold Your Wood-carrying log around & through creek/pond
Island hopping-getting across the creek via large floating objects
*Just the tip-hanging by your fingers with a couple of toe holds crossing the water pit
Kiss of mud-crawling under LOW barbed wire in the mud
Mud mile-in and out of muddy pits with mud hills in between; there were 2 of these
*Walk the plank-jumping off a 15 foot high platform into deep muddy water
Warrior carry-carrying a friend for 50 yards
Wheelbarrow carry-your friend is on their hands, you have their feet for 50 yards then switch
Various ponds & creeks to cross
The asterisks are the ones I didn’t complete. Walk the Plank I didn’t even attempt and I don’t feel bad about it at all. They put a sign up that read “strong swimmers only” so they didn’t want me doing it either. I tried the Funky Monkey and fell off right away because it was so slippery and by that time, it was probably at mile 11 my grip was worthless. Just the Tip I tried but my hands just couldn’t hold onto the top board. There was a space of about 5 feet I needed to get across to the other side (the picture online is VERY deceiving) and I couldn’t hold on.
The electricity shocking really wasn’t that bad…I can’t say I loved it but it wasn’t horrible. The Arctic Enemy was (I must be crazy) my favorite. It got the biggest reaction out of me. It’s a long dumpster (not a typical trash kind, the ones you see on tv when they’re cleaning out a hoarders house) filled with ice water. They are constantly putting bags of ice into it; the ice truck is parked right next to it. I jumped in, went under and didn’t think I was close enough to get under the board so I came back up, still on the enter side. I felt with my foot to see where the board was and realized it was much higher than I anticipated. They were yelling at me to go (move the line along, others are waiting) so I popped under the freezing water and out the other side I came. I have no idea if there were footholds to help us out but I made my own and got the heck out of there. I was a human popsicle, saying over and over “oh” and finally letting out a blood curdling scream. I immediately starting jumping around and moving my arms about to get the blood flowing so I could warm back up. I loved it!!! My friend hated it, said it was the worst pain ever and she’s had two kids; said she’d have another baby before doing that again!
We crossed the finish line at 4:02 so it took us 5 hours to complete. We jogged as much as possible and while it wasn’t the finishing time we’d hoped for, I was happy with our performance. Lots of people were off to the side after mile 7 with what looked like leg cramps but we never had that problem. They provided plenty of water throughout the course a couple of snack stops but we didn’t see a port-a-potty until around mile 9. By that time you just want to be DONE!! It was grueling, brutal and definitely TOUGH but it was an awesome experience. I am sore and stiff, scrapes and LOTS of bruises now 2 days later but feeling better than I had expected after a 5 hour workout.
The link below shows pictures of the obstacles except for the American Ninja, that’s the name I gave it since it’s new and considered a “mystery obstacle”so there aren’t any pictures yet.
If you made it through all of this blog or even half or even skipped through it…thank you! Hope you’re having an awesome day!