I was so excited about the Tough Mudder the night before I could barely sleep. I kept waking up thinking I missed my alarm, glance at the clock realize I still had more time to sleep and try to doze off. Finally around 5 am I decided to just get up and get going.
I went with oatmeal and coffee for breakfast.
I also decided to eat a very large slice of banana bread on the way, and I had a protein bar right before I got there. We were planning on a 10:40-11 start time, and I knew I wasn’t going to eat lunch until after 2 or 3. I wanted to eat a lot for the run. Or what I thought was going to be a run.
Once we got to the canyon it was very traffic-y.
I had read on other blogs that there was a ton of traffic getting into the mudders, so I tried to calculate that into my drive time. I basically gave myself an hour extra. However no one else did that. AND there was no cell phone reception once we got there. HUGE TIP: if you can, CARPOOL!!! These events are massive, and often in remote locations.
I went ahead and checked in, attached my bib, and had to get marked up.
Since I had no cell phone reception and we didn’t have a set game plan for the team meet up, I waited at the table where my team leader would register. Also I checked with the volunteer to make sure she hadn’t registered yet.
Then an hour later they arrived around 10 am. That’s when I said my goodbyes to hubs, and went to wait for the rest of the group. We took some obligatory pics (I have no proof, but I am hoping they send them my way real soon). And finally once all 11 of us were registered and checked in came the process of getting into the pit where we could start. Before you even start the darn mudder, you have to climb an 8-10 foot wall. Thank goodness there were several people more than willing to help me up and over.
Now that we are in the pit, there is this announcer guy who gets us all pumped for 20 minutes until we start our wave (which happened to be 11am). This announcer guy told us stories about the type of
race challenge the tough mudder is, and also honored the military people who was there in our group. It was very inspiring. He also reminded us that we are all in this together, and that everyone in this pit is a team member. We then did our mudder pledge
The 20 minutes went by pretty fast. And then it was time. The Final Countdown!!! And once it was done, we were off! They also send out this gigantic puff of orange smoke that seemed to cover all of us for a few seconds.
Hubs tried to get a pic of the smoke, you can kind of see it in the last tree on the right.
The very first obstacle was more walls to climb over.
One of the things that freaked me out the most was having people hoist me up and over obstacles. I was worried I would be too heavy for them to lift me.
And I worried for no reason.
If you feel like you’re too fat for this, take it from me, there was a dude who weighed at least 350 pounds being hoisted up and over. The group gets together and just gets it done. I’m not saying that you should run this at 350 pounds, because after the first mile I think 350 lb dude needed a medic. But my point is, if that’s something you’re insecure about, don’t be!
After the walls, there was a mud pit crawl with barbed wire above you. This was actually really nice. It was over 90 degrees when we started, so the wet mud was very much welcome. And there was a water truck adding water to the lot the entire time. That was an awesome obstacle. And took the first layer of skin off my knees and elbows.
A few feet away was Arctic Enema. I was thinking it would be freezing, and it was. Maybe not as cold as other Arctic Enema’s, but my legs were numb at the end. Also I couldn’t catch my breath once I got in. I almost started hyperventilating, then another mudder focused in on me and said “breathe! You can do this!”. He really helped me, and gave me a hand out of it.
Then we hit the mile 1 marker, and it was a straight up very tall, and very steep hill to climb. This is where I realized that we wouldn’t be running much of this. Because the entire mudder was along the tops of the hills that were surrounding us.
Do you see the crest of the top of that hill???? Ya I was there. And we went up and down, and then up, and turn, oh look another hill!!! I was thinking “I run about 100 miles a month, I got this!”. Wrong, I was not prepared for the hills. I really thought I was, I was doing hill training in at least half of my runs, but not like these. I did not see one person running up these hills. They all walked at the pace they could. It was not easy. I saw at least half a dozen people completely crap out just from muscle fatigue. I think the next two miles were all uphill, and very steep!
The next obstacle had a water station, this was the second one. On the first one I drank 2 cups, on this one I had 5. Seriously those hills were no joke. They also had bananas, and I swear I was like the banana monster. BANANAS! MUST HAVE MORE! So good.
The obstacle was called monkey bars. This one had a vertical piece of plywood, and attached was two 2×4 stretched where you would grip with your hands and feet. Below you was a deep pit of water and mud. The 2×4, turned into 1×4, and that’s when I let go. Then you had to climb over a big muddy hill. I saw my group really pulling together and I was helping, then all of a sudden I was the last one and people were bypassing me. Then I decided to just climb over anyone to get to the top. This was so hard. Every time you would get higher, if someone wasn’t supporting you, you would just slide back down. I basically was clawing strangers, and accidentally groped a guy since I wasn’t watching where my hand was going. I apologized, and he just laughed. I finally got to the top, and felt very accomplished!
Then came more hills. I can’t even put them into words. They were just never ending. My thighs are complete toast after that.
Some other highlights was the mud pit, several pits filled with looked like chocolate milk, and then there were several mud mounds you had to climb over to get to the end. There were probably 6 or 7. I actually coated myself in the mud. I was worried about getting sunburnt. It was so hot out there, the mud almost dried instantly.
There was another hydration station and they were passing out gummy sharks. It was some sort of shot blok or gel version of their endurance formula or whatever. I tried to get a second bag, and the girl was like “only one per mudder!” I was thinking “crap, you don’t gotta be a shark nazi, geeesh!”
There was an over under obstacle with logs, and I heard someone say it was half way. And right before the obstacle I asked for the time from a volunteer. It was 1:26. Oops! I told hubs 3-4 hours max. But I seriously wasn’t expecting all the
non running hiking.
Next came some tubes in the ground called “boa constrictor”. I tried crawling, but my knees were trashed, and my ass was too big. Ha! So I scooted through there.
After the boa constrictor I was just not feeling this mudder thing. I kept questioning myself. “Why am I doing this again?” oh right, for the orange headband. Then that became my mantra for the next 3 hills which all seemed to be uphill. Orange headband. Honor. Orange headband. You can do this. Orange headband. By this time the team had pretty much dissipated. Some were behind me, and some were ahead of me. I just was so sick of the hills and the waiting, I chose not to wait at the top of the hill we were just on. I told my teammates I was going to just keep going, for fear I wouldn’t start again. Then there was an enormous downhill part, and honestly the downhills were harder on my legs. I just took them very slow. I didn’t want to be a person who needed a medic for twisting an ankle.
There was another obstacle waiting for me at the bottom. Another crawling one. I got on my knees ready to attack, and my knees were screaming. I listened, and decided to go around. There weren’t very many people there, and I didn’t see any teammates. So I just kept hiking. There were more hills, but they were more rolling hills, than steep never going to end hills. I wanted to run them, but everything was toast.
There were a few more obstacles like up and over, with hay bales. And also this wooden box one where you just were able to leap over. Then came walk the plank. The line was astronomical. And people were barely jumping in. I decided to skip it. You had to be hoisted up, and my arm strength kind of disappeared. Also I think I did something to my shoulder on the first walls I climbed up. I just didn’t want to make it worse. I am pretty sure my team was there, but I walked around it.
I didn’t really feel that bad about it. I was exhausted and seriously done.
Then there was this swimming obstacle, where you had to go over and under these buoys in the water.
After the swimming was Everest. The crowd was massive. It’s a huge skate ramp that you have to jump up and pray someone catches you. Then you have to catch someone before you head out. I didn’t want to wait in the line. So I went around again. Next up was electroshock therapy. I was getting all pumped, and then they said that it wasn’t working. And after 10 minutes I just went through with nothing happening. And 100 yards later I was being adorned with the coveted orange headband. I am awesome. I just did that. And I was so glad it was OVER!
I got in line for water, banana, free goodies, my Tough Mudder shirt and my delicious free beer!
Here’s the free goodies I scored!
I grabbed about 8 Builder’s protein bars, and some protein powder. If I’d had a bag I would have grabbed more bars! They were just there for the taking! Rule of thumb for free stuff, grab by handfuls unless they are a shark nazi and say “one one per person!” which almost never happens post race. These people want to unload this product, so just grab as much as you can hold. I filled up my hand with bars, got my women’s large shirt (which fits perfectly) and then grabbed my free beer with my other hand. A few minutes later I saw hubs and he got a quick shot of me donating my shoes.
I started the mudder at 11, and was in the car by 4:33. Give or take 5 hours all together.
*Have a plan set up if you don’t carpool, because there was no cell phone reception.
*Wear a camel back, I was downing 4-6 cups of water at every station, and it wasn’t enough!
*elbow and knee pads would have enabled me to do the last few obstacles.
*Hill training! Find the steepest tallest hill, and run up and down until you hit 10 miles. Do this once a week.
*upper body strength is a must! I should have been doing pull ups! If you can’t do a pull up, seriously work on it. It will help so much if you can.
*train long, like 3-5 hours. My long runs were not longer than 2 1/2 hours. I just didn’t have enough steam in the tank.
*Find a team, so much fun with a team!
Overall it was a very rewarding experience. It pushed my limits in ways I didn’t think were possible. It was one of the hardest events I have ever participated in. I definitely felt like I was part of something. It was super hard core and definitely so fun with the team. And is this something I would do again? Not in the foreseeable future. I wouldn’t say no, but not anytime soon. I didn’t like the hills, and the not running. I thought it was going to be an event where we would be running most of the time. And the people on my team were not runners, and they were doing better than me with obstacles. It was more about strength and teamwork.
The Tough Mudder taught me to really appreciate running. I love it so much. And I love running races way more than killing myself to get over a mud wall. This was definitely a bucket list item. Check! Probably won’t be doing it again, but so glad I did it once, just to say I did it.
Proof I was on a team!