Sunday, October 21, 2012

I Am A Tough Mudder

Yesterday was one of the most miserable and rewarding days of my life. I went out to Maysville, Kentucky with 7 friends and competed in Tough Mudder, perhaps the most challenging obstacle course on the planet. When the day THE most, I mean it. This course was possibly the most challenging on any Tough Mudder course, let alone some little 3 mile mud run.

I should start out by explaining the race from the beginning because I still have some a concrete memory of nearly every mile; it was that memorable. We were the second group to leave the gates at 8:20am. Fortunately for us, this meant the course was nearly untouched, and therefore, not too beat up yet. Still, it had rained the night before, so an already inherently messy race became even more so; even the starting gate and pavilion were trampled and muddy. The weather was brisk. Very, very brisk, at only about 40 degrees at start time and never working its way much past 45. Keep that in mind when I am explaining the obstacles and the run itself because by the end of this thing, I was colder than I ever have been before, and there was a constant stream on ambulances taking people away because of the elements.

As we left the gate, we were immediately greeted by our first down and uphill climb. As the event would continue, we would become quite familiar with this inherent obstacle on the course. This whole location was one giant climb or decent, with some parts of the course being nothing less than a hands on the ground climb, or a muddy slide down. There were times where you would have great momentum and confidence burst by the emergence of an impossible climb. Often there were people strewn along the hills with cramps or simple exhaustion. Many times you were only as fast as your fellow Mudders because people had to help each other navigate or complete a simple traverse. By the time we reached the first obstacle, some of my teammates were already feeling it. It turns out they had not trained, a mistake made by many a Mudder hopeful. It seemed that there were plenty of people who showed up thinking it would just be a fun hike, but then realized they had stepped foot onto the wrong obstacle course. People were bowing out of this thing after the first big hill. I cannot stress enough how important quality training is, and I was proof of that fact all day.

The first obstacle was simple: crawl under barbed war in the mud. Although not the most memorable, it was still an easy way to get intimately involved with the mud. Fortunately, I am short, so I was able to go through without having to go fully prone. On the other side, we took stock and moved on, something that, unfortunately, would not happen too many more times. The next obstacle would prove to be one of the reasons why: the arctic enema was a vicious addition to the course, especially as a second road block. This involved the dunking of your whole body into a pool of ice water, traversing a short distance, and then submerging yourself to get under a plank. On the other side was more ice water, and a short wait for others to get out infant of you. All the while I had labored breathing as my body felt like it was it by a truck. Every muscle ached and after finally getting out, I had to make sure to keep moving while I waited for my team. This was perhaps the most physically dangerous and memorable obstacles on the course, but it did make the outside weather feel a little warmer for a few minutes.

There is so much more to tell, so I will save it for tomorrow's entry. Additionally, I am planning on focusing my training on some less aggressive running, and more intensive low impact exercise and crossfit. I am going to hone my muscles while giving my joints a rest. Once march hits, I will resume an intensive marathon training schedule. By that point, my body should be in quality shape, and I will be able to really compete come May. I may also start including more two-a-day workouts, as the afternoon just doesn't seem to be enough anymore. I need more cardio, but I still need plenty of time in the weight room. So much to do, so little time. On that note, I leave with this picture that says it all from yesterday.

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