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Monday, October 8, 2012

I Am One Tough Mudder Fudder!

We be tuff!
Hey, with the team name, “Fuddmudders,” I can’t not make that joke.

So, how would I describe the Tough Mudder experience?  By stating the obvious:  It was tough and it was muddy.  They definitely named it right.  Never before have I been more deserving of a beer!  Okay, okay, I didn’t drink it but I could’ve used a good buzz after that experience!

The pre-race wall that separates the mice
from the mudders!
Here are the hard facts for my Las Vegas Tough Mudder 2012:
  • 11 miles
  • 20 obstacles
  • 5 team members (4 boys, 1 girl)
  • Total time:  3 hours, 50 minutes (they don’t time you, but I had my stopwatch going)

My experience could be summed-up (but not limited to) these four words:  crazy, awesome, torturous and exhilarating.  Read on....

First of all, they make you climb a stinkin’ 15-ft. wall to even get to the starting line.  It was like they were telling you: “If you can’t even handle getting over this wall, just turn around and go home, loser.”  I would’ve been so ticked if I’d gotten injured on that thing before the race even started!  But it was a good taste of what was to come.
Jammin' through some logs.  Grrrrrr.

The first 5-6 miles had more running than obstacles.  It’s the 2nd half where they really hammer you with a heavy concentration of challenges, when you’re most tired and depleted of energy!  It was interesting to see all the different shapes and sizes of people, which goes to show that just about anybody can do this, but I was certainly glad I had taken the time and effort to put some mudder-specific training into the months preceding the event.  My team was usually running between the obstacles whereas most others were walking – especially toward the end.

What I loved best about the Tough Mudder is the emphasis on teamwork.  I had great teammates that expended a lot of their precious energy in helping to haul my arse up and over several of the obstacles.  I couldn’t have done it without them.  Even complete strangers came to my aid several times and the entire atmosphere was totally charged with enthusiasm and encouragement.

Some memorable moments:

Did I mention there was lots of mud?
Artic Enema obstacle:  they fill a huge dumpster with ice, ice, ice-cold water and make you dive under a wall to get to the other side.  Holy cannoli.  I didn’t know hypothermia could set in so quickly.  I was almost too paralyzed to hoist myself back out of the water. None of us could feel our bodies for at least a quarter mile afterwards.  We could’ve been running on bloody stumps for all we knew.

Walk The Plank obstacle:  this requires jumping off a 15-foot platform into water.  This was the obstacle that I was fearing most.  I’m not a fan of heights and I actually did force myself to do some cliff jumping this summer to prepare for this obstacle, which I am soooooo glad I did.  However, at the top of the plank I still totally froze for several seconds.  Thank goodness my teammate Brady told me to stop thinking and just jump.  Which I did.  And I lived!
Real Tough Mudders plug their noses.

The albino thong dude:  there were definitely some fun outfits and accessories that people had on.  Many tutus, some superheroes, plenty of funky socks and t-shirts.  But the guy that stole the show was the albino dude wearing a white thong.  The sight of his alabaster skin and his surprisingly mud-resistant white banana hammock was quite a shock after gazing at mostly brown mud for miles and miles.  Unfortunately for all of us, this guy was NOT Chippendale’s material!  I really hope he was wearing sunscreen.

The cold water:  I already mentioned the heart-stopping Arctic Enema, but I was also surprised at how cold they kept all the other water obstacles.  They had us trudge through endless mud trenches with water depths anywhere from thigh to chest-high.  We also had several deep water swims, some requiring diving under barrels and pulling ourselves along a cable.  This is all while fully dressed with sneakers, just to remind you.  But what got me was how cold the water was, especially considering that the weather was fairly warm – probably in the 90s somewhere.  In smaller doses, the coldness was refreshing but the longer swims were definitely energy-sapping.  Even the lifeguards were shivering in their wetsuits!
A nano-second after this picture,
I was in the water.

Why I will do the Tough Mudder again:  I can’t say with enthusiasm that I want to repeat all of the events I’ve been involved in:  The Ragnar Relay – not if I can avoid it.  Half marathon – maybe, but I’m in no hurry.  Marathon – I haven’t done one yet but if/when I do, it’ll probably only be once.  The Tough Mudder, however, I will repeat.  First, it was FUN!  It really did make me feel tough and accomplished and like I can take on (almost) anything!  It was so much more interesting than simply running mile after mile with little else going on.  Also, I’m unsatisfied with my performance on a few of the obstacles – namely, the monkey bars, hanging rings and Mt. Everest – so I want to improve my grip and upper body strength to do better next time.

The Tough Mudder might not be everyone’s cup o’tea, but it is definitely right up my alley.  I am so thankful for the healthy body that I have right now and I figure, why not test it every now and then.  Stuff like this is a great way to realize how amazing I can be… yet it’s also a humbling reminder that I’m not invincible, either!
I'll spare you any pictures of my bruised and swollen knees and elbows.  Let's just say I won't be wearing any mini-skirts this week.
Now off to take a terapeutic mineral mud bath!
Done and dirty!


  1. That is so awesome!!! Not sure if it is up my ally but it does look appealing from a distance, I think i'd rather take 2 days of no sleep and running through the night:)

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