Monday, October 22, 2012

The Tough Mudder

In a fit of insanity (I am prone to those), I decided to do The Tough Mudder. I committed to it months and months ago with a whole bunch of my friends.  I've been doing my best to train for it for quite a long time- kickboxing a couple times a week, weight lifting a couple times a week, and running several times a week (still hate running, for anyone curious).

I was also desperate to lose weight prior to the event because I knew it'd be much more difficult with the spare pounds on. Much to my dismay, nothing I did worked. Looking back, I'm wondering if it was because I was training too hard.  In July, I took drastic measures and quit drinking Mountain Dew, swearing I wouldn't have a single sip until the Mudder was over. I did it, too. I didn't cheat even once!  Race day came though, and I was the usual weight. -sigh-

For those who haven't heard of the Tough Mudder, here's a quick video that shows an overview of the event.

The morning of the event, we filled our car with teammates and got out to Tooele at the Miller Motor Sports park. Temperatures were in the 50s and I was sooooo cold!

To get into the starting pen, we had to jump a wall.

From there, we had the MC talk to us for a bit. He did such an amazing job of pumping us all up, getting us revved up and excited to go.

Our race was right around 12 miles, and there was 21 obstacles. Most sounded pretty intimidating, but the three that had me the most worried were the Arctic Enema (jumping in a huge pool of ice and water), The Electric Eel (crawling through muddy water and getting shocked while you're at it), and Electroshock Therapy (more electrocution). It turns out my concern was not misplaced.  Arctic Enema was just as horrible as I suspected it would be. I was really nervous about it, especially given how cold I was. Mike, an ironman teammate of mine told me that every time he's done an ice bath like that, within 30 seconds of getting out, he would have this rush of heat and felt pretty good. I threatened to beat him up if I didn't get said rush. I did get that heat rush, and it was wonderful! My toes and fingers were still cold, but otherwise, I felt warmer afterwards than I'd felt all morning.

Electric Eel
The Electric Eel was deeply unpleasant, but since I've accidentally tangled with the electric fence in our back yard, it wasn't too bad. It didn't seem to affect me as much as others on our team- several reported having the sensation of waking up and being disoriented after each shock. One team member even had to have EMTs look at her afterwards because she felt so horrible.

We plugged on, going through the obstacles. Some people had a lot of trouble with heights on some, others preyed on people's claustrophobia. I made mental notes to work my upper body strength more in preparation for the next event because I definitely wasn't as strong as I needed to be. I was incredibly lucky in that I had awesome, amazing teammates who were willing to give us short people boosts on the obstacles.

One obstacle that I didn't have time to fret about was Walk The Plank. You climb up a 15' tower, and then jump into water and swim to the other end. If I'd really thought it through, I would've been more nervous. I'd simply not had enough time to worry about it after the other biggies for me! It wasn't a big deal though.

Finally up Everest!

After that came Everest, (see video for example) which I hadn't worried too much about because it was simply unattainable for me without a lot of help. I figured the tall boys would help me out. To make it even tougher, they actually lubricate the wall to make it even more slick!! It took me several tries to get high enough up the ramp to get caught though, so it was equal parts mortifying and exhausting. They finally were able to catch me and hoist me up.

At that point, we were more than 11.5 miles in, and only had one more obstacle left- Electroshock Therapy. Yay! More electrocution.  I managed to get through it without losing consciousness or otherwise embarrassing myself.

Once you finish that, you're done! You go through the finish line, and people are waiting there with the famous orange headband that they stick on your head for you.  The sense of accomplishment was exhilarating!

Our team is missing two people in this photo- one of our teammates was just exhausted and freezing, so she opted to skip the last few obstacles and just finish the race. Her boyfriend went with her. Once they got past the finish line, they just left- she was too cold and tired to wait for the group.

After that, we got to get our participant shirts. You didn't get the shirt or the headband unless you actually completed the event. I've always loved my race shirts, so I was really excited.  Then I got to the table. In ladies' sizes, they had a junior's size small and medium. They were cut small for size too- I'm not sure that my daughter could've worn the medium without it being awfully tight. Since I have a bit of a belly and broad shoulders, I KNEW that ladies' medium wouldn't fit. The next size available was a men's large. I got that, and it turned out to be quite large- it fits my husband perfectly, and he's 10" and 70 lbs heavier. I know it's a stupid, minor thing, but it absolutely crushed me. Instead of feeling like superwoman, I felt like a fatass. If I hadn't been so tired, I would've cried. I know I shouldn't let a stupid thing like that get to me, but it did. I'd tried so hard to lose weight in the months leading up to the event that it was a very sensitive point for me.

I'd planned to buy a couple stickers to put on our cars, but at that point, I was feeling so humiliated and exhausted that I forgot.  I went the next day to buy them online, and they were charging EIGHT DOLLARS SHIPPING. For two stickers.  Seriously?! I decided that I would just have to live without the stickers at that price. I'm trying to find someone running in an upcoming race who will pick them up for me, but so far, no dice.

The next couple of days brought a gorgeous array of bruises and scrapes all over my teammates and I. My upper body was absolutely trashed, but the rest of me felt pretty good.

Next June, our group is contemplating either running another Tough Mudder, or trying the Spartan Beast. I'm leaning towards the Spartan for two reasons. First, I think it would be interesting to compare the two events, and secondly (silly, emotional me), I have kind of a bad taste in my mouth for the Mudder, and it's not the mud.

Overall, the experience was positive, and a lot of fun. I had such amazing teammates, and I felt so lucky that they let me be a part of their group.

Post Script:  A friend of mine ended up volunteering at a Tough Mudder event and picked up a couple stickers for me.

And, more exciting: At the urging of my friends, I ended up emailing Tough Mudder and told them how I felt. They wrote back within a couple of days and promised to send me a new shirt.  I got it today!! It fits perfectly.  I am thrilled.   The only sad thing is that Utah has been taken off their map for 2013.

1 comment:

Kristen said...

I was just going to suggest we take your shirt to Steve's aunt who is a killer seamstress and have her alter it to fit you instead of being a dress. I am glad they got the right one for you. I don't think it is silly that you were so crushed and I am glad that they fixed it for you!