Monday, July 09, 2012

Tough Mudder - Conquered!

Saturday I finally got a chance to try my feet at Tough Mudder.  And I did it!  But boy was it harder than expected.

It probably didn't help that I was only operating on one hour of sleep.  We were getting up at 5AM, and I, between wanting to get some sleep and being pumped at the idea that it was finally time to do it, I couldn't get my mind to calm down.  That was coming off of a couple nights of poor sleep I was hoping would knock me out enough to sleep that night.  Obviously, that didn't work.  As a result, Chris (the friend I did this with) wound up driving instead of me.  It was a trek up there, and we almost didn't get a place to park (the overflow parking was a was away).  But they found some more spots and we were okay.

That means we left on time for our 9:20 wave.  Of course, first, we had to get over a wall.  That's right, the first obstacle was before the start line.

And finally we were off and running.  And right off the bat, we were running up hill.  Frankly, that should have been a sign.  We were also huffing and buffing since we were starting around 5500 feet.

See, the course was at a ski resort, and boy was that obvious.  For the entire 10 miles, we were up and down hills.  Level parts of the path were a rarity.  Instead, we were up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down.  People started talking about how "that was the last hill" only to have another show up and surprise them.  It actually got to be pretty funny - that is if we didn't have to go up and down the hills.

The first obstacle we hit was "Arctic Enema," which was basically an ice bath.  And they were keeping it very cold.  That was the coldest we got the entire time and much colder than I expected it to be.  As Chris said, it was hard to breath, and that was before we dunked under the wall.

The mud was a bit disappointing.  A) there wasn't that much of it.  B), it was very watery.  Heck, the "Mud Mile" was just a couple of muddy spots we could get through very quickly.  The walls, on the other hand, were high.  The first set we hit on the course was higher than the one we had to get over at the starting line.  (That one has lulled me into a false sense of security, BTW.  I thought I'd be fine, but these were definitely bigger).  We hit walls again in the second half, and they were bigger still.  I decided to skip them because I was afraid of landing wrong and hurting my knees worse than they already were.  But maybe I was letting my fear of heights talk me out of trying.

I also skipped both of the electric obstacles.  Chris said the electric eel, where you crawl through mud and they zap you, wasn't that bad.  But he was knocked over by a shock on Electroshock Therapy.

Despite my fear of heights, I really enjoyed jumping to the water.  It felt cool and refreshing.  It was a big leap, but I made it and did fine swimming out to the other side.

At the peak, we climbed to 6600 feet, once even carrying a log (which was a much longer part of the course than I thought it would be).  The views were amazing, but boy was I tired of climbing when we got there.  The one that got us to the summit was especially steep and not much fun.

I didn't do well on the monkey bars, but I never do.  I was surprised that I actually made it to the second ring on that obstacle before I fell in.  And I didn't try more than once on Everest because I knew I didn't have the speed to get high enough up the wall for someone to grab my hand and pull me up.  So yes, I didn't go well on a few of the obstacles.

But I made it through all 10 miles.  As Chris said, it was more a hike with obstacles than a real run.  I tried, but it was just too much up and down, and I didn't want to fall and get hurt going down, so I took that very slowly.  Chris was very patient waiting for me.  It took 4 hours and 45 minutes, but we finally crossed the finish line.

While it was close to 100 degrees here at home, it reached 80 by the time we were done.  Couple that with the dry conditions, and I inhaled and swallowed a lot of dust.  In fact, I was more dusty than muddy at the end.  It was hot, but that's better than too cold last year.

Now that I've done it, I can knock it off my list of things to do.  If I ever talk about trying it again, please slap some sense into me.


Jan in Edmonds said...

Sounds like boot camp to me, Mark! But you did amazingly well. So glad you have so much fun in this invigorating activity!

Mark Baker said...

Thanks. But I think boot camp might be easier. :)