Today was the Tough Mudder event I posted about a couple times before. And...
It was an early morning, for sure, as I had to get up at 5:50a, dress, pack my post-Mudder bag (i.e. change of clothes) and meet my teammates for a quick breakfast before jumping in some cars and making our way to Beaver Creek for sign-in and bag drop. At sign in, you handover their "death waiver" (their liability release), get your bib number for your shirt, and get your bib number written on your forehead and arm or leg (they do the latter for identification purposes should anything go awry.)
The "wave" I was in began at 8:20a (the first one of the day was at 8:00, and the waves went off every 20 minutes until 1:00p... at about 600 people per wave, a rough estimate of the people who signed up for this is approximately 9,600.) When I first heard this was my start time, I was a little nervous for a) it can still be pretty cool at that time in the morning in the mountains, and b) I knew there were some cold water obstacles in my future, and wasn't sure how a "cold air, cold water" combo would play out. But, thankfully, the weather was perfect, and I started out comfortably in shoes, wool anklet socks, synthetic shorts and a synthetic short sleeve shirt. (Cotton is not your friend in such things.)
After getting some instructions and motivation from the starter, away we went. The first couple hundred yards were downhill, but after a turn it two, it was up, up, up. Through a water-slicked, grassy hillside... fun, fun, fun!
Luckily for you, dear reader, I don't remember the exact order of the many obstacle, and won't plan on boring you with a description of each... I'll just bring up some highlights. If you're interested in getting a rough idea of what the course looked like, and some names of the obstacles, look at this *.pdf document.
Some of my favorite obstacles
- Electroshock Therapy. Why? Well, for one, it's the last obstacle. Two, it's not very often one gets to run through wires carrying a 10,000 volt current. Unfortunately, me doing this obstacle is not on the video clip below. But here's a video from the Tough Mudder folks about it.
- Berlin Walls. These are wooden walls anywhere between 8-10 feet high, and their in sets of 2. I put this one as one of my favorites not because of my off-the-chart upper body strength allowed me to clear these walls easily (hah!). Rather, it's because these are ones where being one team really paid off. I helped my teammates over, they helped me over. Heck, you get into a rhythm and start helping anyone who comes buy.
Some of my "proud" obstacles
These are ones where I wasn't sure I could do completely or unassisted.
- The Rings/Hanging Tough. Given what I wrote above about my upper body strength (or lack thereof), I was pretty darn proud to have made it across this obstacle without falling into the murky, cold water below.
- The Quarter-pipe. I'm not sure of the official name of this one, but it's essentially an arched ramp, about 10-12 feet high, vertical at the top, and you need to make your way to the top of it. Because of the mud on people's shoes, it's a slick one ramp that. I'm proud of this one because I did it unassisted (this one is on the video clip below.)
Some of my least favorite obstacles
None. Honestly, I enjoyed them all in some (perhaps) small way. But, if I were to name some that hurt a bit, or one's where I didn't do so well on, well then I'd name:
- (Name unknown.) This one also involved electrified wires, which didn't bother me so much. Rather, to negotiate them one had to be completely prone and crawl your way through or underneath them while traversing a snowfield. To call it "snow" though, is a misnomer... think "shards of ice."
- Funky Monkey. The Tough Mudder term for monkey bars. These are no ordinary monkey bars, though: instead of being laid out parallel to the ground, these are arranged on a slight incline for the first half, and then a slight decline for the last. I think I made it to just the 3rd rung before falling into the cold, muddy water below.
The exact figures are elusive, but it ended up being an approximately 12.5 mile course, with 23-ish military-style obstacle thrown in. It took place all along the hillsides of the Beaver Creek ski resort, so a rough approximation of elevation gain during the event was 4,250 ft.
As a rookie, I was often asked afterwards, "Would you do it again?" And my unequivocal reply was "Yes!" In fact, I'm already pre-registered for the 2013 edition... it's June 15th and 16th. You busy?
Here are the things you are probably more interested in viewing.
- A 10-ish minute video clip.
And hey, it's not too late to donate!