Tough Mudder was today!!! Danny and I did got up early and drove 1.5 hrs north to a parking lot near Mount St. Louis Moonstone. The parking was crazy, the highway was packed, the side streets were at a halt, I’m sure these poor townspeople had no idea what was going on. Once we parked the car, we lined up for the bus, school buses were driving up, 3 at a time to take participants and spectators to the course. We were amazed at how well organized it was!
Here was Danny getting on the bus –>
Once we arrived at the course, registration was quick and efficient, bathrooms were plenty and we were able to get started right away. Once again, we were so impressed at how well organized and efficient the course organization was done…hats off to Tough Mudder for an amazing event! Here are our before pictures, we’re nice and clean and ready to go:
Before the start, we had to climb over a 6 foot Berlin Wall for kicks! Once over, we were asked to take a knee, while we had the introductory speech to pump us up and get us ready…and off we were….since we were going to be in mud, we didn’t bring our camera so here are pictures of most of the events.
Here is the official map but I’ll walk you through the obstacles. First was the Death March – we climbed up a ski run to the top of the mountain. We were all keeners at first and started jogging up but pretty soon we were all out of breath and walking up.
At the top of the hill, was our first obstacle Kiss the Mud…fitting as the first challenge, we had to crawl in the mud under barbed wire for 100 feet…I guess this was when I decided that I was just going to go for it and do each obstacle properly, not crapping out and not taking the easy way out. Good thing none of us were planning on staying clean because we came out of there with mud in every orifice and of course, scrapes and bruises from the rocks on the ground. High fiving each other and asking to be hosed to clean up a bit, we started jogging to the next obstacle.
We didn’t have to go far to reach the Arctic Enema…a pool of ice in which we had to jump, dive under a wall and back up. As soon as my body hit the water, I was out of breath…it was so cold I couldn’t breathe. I was under the impression that there was only a two foot gap so I dove under as low as I could, swam as fast as possible and came back up. I should have just put my hand down to feel for where the wall ended as I was under for longer than I needed to be. My head was pounding and my body was frozen, I stood there thinking I’m getting hypothermia and I’ve been in here for a max of 20 seconds. I’m not sure how I found the strength to climb out of there.
We tried to jog up the next ski run but my lungs and head were aching so we walked until the shock of the ice wore off. We got up to the top of the hill to see the first Berlin Walls (2 are always better than one) were about 8 feet high and of course I wasn’t able to reach up to the top. Once I got a boost from Danny, I was able to climb over and jump down…the first and then the second. Another high five, and another damn hill on we went.
After another run uphill, we got to a lake. We had to wade through for 200 meters, to our next obstacle, Barrels that we had to swim under. After all that mud, the lake and barrels were actually quite enjoyable. We waded through another 200 meters to get to the other side of the lake and of course…start jogging up a hill.
Then came the Underwater Tunnels black pipes that you had to crawl into head first, that landed you head first into water (with barbed wire overhead)…and then you had to crawl up another pipe to get out.
The Cliffhanger was actually quite easy if you took your time. Many people were on their hands and knees trying to crawl up but Danny and I were able to walk up without putting our hands on the ground the whole way! Another high five and off we went.
Hanging Tough, the rings were next…and I was barely able to reach the first one, let alone the second. There was a definite theme in Tough Mudder, those under 6’ are at a definite disadvantage. Danny was doing great until the last ring, where he couldn’t get the rhythm right and was stuck. I tried to help out by swinging the ring, but even he couldn’t reach it. A guy who had fallen in even tried to push him to give him momentum, but once again no luck. Having fallen in trying to reach the ring, Danny refused to be beaten, he went back to try it again and killed it! Another high five (for him not me) and we jogged through the woods to the next obstacle.
Another damn ski run to run up, through the Mud Mile where I almost lost my shoes, to Spider’s Web. It was great to see teams that had finished were at the bottom, holding the net tight for those coming over. As people went over, everyone stopped, stepped in to replace someone holding the net and took their turn. When people were stuck at the top, scared of heights or unable to get over, people cheered them on, encouraged them to keep going and went up to give them a hand…so nice to see.
We then got to Trenches Warfare, 6 or 7 foot trenches with 5 foot gaps filled with… mud. This is where teamwork became crucial…those ahead would turn around and grab the hands of those who leapt over the gaps so they wouldn’t fall in. We were doing great at first, until dry trenches turned into thick mud, and the 5 foot gaps turned into 8…so we did what any normal person would do, we got on our buts, slid down into the mud and tried not to slip out of people’s grips as we were pulled up the next trench. Good thing we started out by trying to avoid the mud in the first few trenches…job well done, we high fived and went on.
As the theme went, after a mud obstacle, there was a water challenge…Walking the Plank. We had a double wall, maybe 15 feet high that we had to go up. Again, those below would help you up and those who went ahead all turned around to pull you up the rest of the way. Without help, I’m not sure anyone would have been able to climb this wall…and what was below…oh you know a 10 meter drop into muddy waters. I was not excited about this one at all, but having come this far I was not about to back out…thinking back on it now, I don’t think there’s any other way to get down from that thing anyways. Danny and I held hands, counted to 3 and jumped….I screamed on the way down but it was actually pretty cool! The water was of course black with mud so we swam out quickly, high fived and jogged on.
There was water spread out around the course, bananas and signs that old you to keep going to try running, to not whine…you know, all things that made you feel great!
Then, down the hill and into the Boa Constrictor. These were pretty mild, if you’re not claustrophobic and the first time my height came as an advantage. I was able to crawl on my hands and knees where others had to stay on their elbows.
We then jogged towards Greased Lightening a huge 40 feet tarp with water that you slid down into more muddy waters. I was planning to go feet first, but everyone kept chanting head first…so once again, since I was here and I had vowed to attempt everything, I went down head first into the pool of mud. Now I clearly understand how crazy this must sound…but you have to realize that after a while the obstacles become relative to what you’ve already done. This one by far had to be the most fun one!
The Monkey Bars came and I was pissed! I could barely reach the first one so my plan to start staggered was out the window. That and I couldn’t get a good grip so after 2 I ended up in the water. I was pretty angry about this one, but I can’t control my height and the elements so we moved on…without a high five here however!
The Electric Eel was next, 30 feet of green goo where we had to crawl on our elbows and knees trying to avoid the electrocuted wires above us. Of course we ended up touching the wires but no one around us was shocked…I’m not sure if we were all just lucky or the power was out…regardless none of us were complaining.
Oh and guess what…another damn hill. Now I feel like I have to clarify, these hills were all ski runs so they’d vary between 40 – 60 degree inclines, and would be about 300 – 600 feet long….by the end of them our calves and quads were on fire!!
Another round of Berlin Walls, this time 12 feet high. Once again, I needed a boost up and this time, a hand down as there was no way I was jumping 12 feet. The second wall, there was no one on the other side so I lowered myself down as much as I could and let go, it was better than I thought it would be so high fives and on we went.
Following another run, we had the Jog Jammin’ obstacle where we had to jump over and under logs…not too bad considering all the other crazy things we did. You would think that running downhill was nice and easy but with our feet soaked, they were slipping in our shoes and our big toes were killing. Also, since everyone was wet, the grass was wet and even with the hay they put down, it was very slippery so we had to take our time and be careful.
The next hill had the added challenge of Holding your Wood where we grabbed logs of wood to accompany us up and down the hill. I slipped on a piece of bark on my way down and landed on my butt, but luckily I was holding the log in front of me so it wasn’t a huge deal. We threw the logs down and started jogging again.
High fives again and we jogged down a hill towards Everest the half pipe that we had to run up to try to grab on. As we were running down the hill we saw our share of people slamming into the white ramp and sliding down so we weren’t very excited about trying it. People at the top were once again lying down ready to grab others’ hands to help them up so when it was our turn, a guy up top signaled Danny to come. Danny ran up and almost ran to the top of the thing….he took the hand that was stretched out to help him, but I’m sure he could have grabbed on to hike himself up. Since I had both Danny and the other guy ready for me I sprinted with all I had left and ended up grabbing both their hands while still standing! I was amazed that I ran up and only had 3 feet left to the top…I could have grabbed on too! Everest had nothing on us…we were on top of the world with the finish line in sight…high fiving each other we started jogging to the end!
The smiles quickly faded from our faces when we turned the corner to see not the end, but another f’ing hill! Begrudgingly we started climbing this one too, but by this point every step was a challenge. We stopped looking up and just took it one step at a time stopping to catch our breath. We jogged/walked down towards the finish partly because we were tired but mostly because we were not looking forward to being shocked with 1000 watts of electricity in the final obstacle, the Electroshock Therapy. We saw people being zapped and fall to the ground, we saw people trip in the muddy waters, fall and get up only to be shocked…it wasn’t pretty!
No one really wanted to go through, even though the Finish was just beyond it and of course you have spectators standing there watching the carnage. So a group of around 20 of us were standing there looking at one another. By now we had been through so much together and it was only fitting that we went through this as a team…so we counted to three and ran…
Did we get shocked…yes but we kept going and we got through, proudly crossing the finish line! I can’t say that being shocked was painful but it sucked nonetheless!
We were handed water, bananas and granola bars, I AM A WARRIOR armbands, Tough Mudder t-shirts but best of all, a glass of beer…once again, well done Tough Mudder, you know what’s important at the end of a competition.
As you see in the after pictures, we were full of mud, pride and accomplishment! We didn’t time ourselves but think that we did it in around 3 hours which I have to say, flew by. Despite the obstacles and all the hills, we had an amazing time and were so glad to have done it!