Thursday, 1 August 2013

I am a TOUGH MUDDER!!!

Well, this past Friday I packed the family up and we drove down to Rochester to stay with our friends who had convinced me to partake in Tough Mudder. I couldn't believe that July 27 was finally here. We had signed up nearly 8 months ago and it seemed like we had a lifetime to prepare.  When I signed up, I thought that I would be able to strength train and prepare but it just never happened. I figured that I was on maternity leave and would have oodles of time. Duh, what was I thinking.

My other concern was that I am still nursing my son and have not completely weaned him. He just turned 10 months and I cannot believe how fast the time is flying by. I had calculated that I would be away from him for at least 7-8 hours. I decided to try to get him onto a bottle a week before and luckily for me he took the bottle. This also makes me happy because now I can actually do the long runs that are planned in my training plan without fearing that he will starve at home waiting for me to run home and nurse him.

Tough Mudder Buffalo was located in Andover, NY. It was a gorgeous scenic drive to the ATV park where the event was to take place. It is billed the be 'Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet'. With this in mind, I was nervous and anxious to see what was ahead. My 5 friends and I had gone over the course map briefly the night before. All I knew was that there was 11+ miles that we had to cover with 15 muddy obstacles in between.

To start of the event, we had to scale a 6 foot wall just to get into the starting bay which they waited to be filled up with all the participants that were starting in our wave. Once we got all in, we were given a very motivational speech and reminded the its "not a race. It is about camaraderie and helping your fellow team members complete the race and get to the finish line".

It was an overcast day with rain clouds hovering. As soon as the horn went off, we were off.

My team and I taking off, we were so eager and CLEAN!

Obstacle 1 - Blades of Glory
After running for 1.5 miles we came up to our first obstacle.  We had to get over 2 sets of 8 foot walls that are angled towards you. Thank goodness we had the guys to help give the girls a boost. I really should have worked on doing more chin ups 

Obstacle 2- Kiss of Mud
Our first mud obstacle got us down right dirty. We had to crawl commando-style in the mud under barbed wire that was set 8 inches from the ground. This one made me think of my little guy because he will only crawl in this position. Other than getting muddy, I didn't mind this one so much.

Obstacle 3 - Funky Monkey
Just before mile 3 we came up to the monkey bars. But, these are no ordinary monkey bars. You need to do them over pool of muddy water. I loved monkey bars as a kid, but that was many eons ago. I tried to wipe off a much mud off my hands as possible and surprisingly, I made it all the way across.

Obstacle 4 - Walk the Plank
This one was a tough one for me. You are required to jump off a 15 foot platform into dark muddy water. I had never been afraid of heights until I had kids. It took me a few attempts before I actually took the plunge. I had thought that I would touch the bottom of the mud pool, but never did. It seemed like forever before I came up for air.  Even our friend who couldn't swim jumped. Thank goodness, he brought a life vest.  But now my shoes were soaked and we still had 7 more miles of running to do.

Obstacle 5 - Electric Eel
This obstacle came up shortly after mile 5 where once again we had to get onto our bellies and crawl and slide our way through more muddy water with electric shock wires dangling about you similar to the kiss of mud. I tried to go slowly avoid the live wires which carry as much as 10,000 volts of electric shock. However, it was unavoidable. I was shocked on my arms and legs as I was trying to climb out of the mud. OUCH, it was not pleasant.

Obstacle 6 - Mud Mile
Dirty, dirty, dirty. It is exactly as it sounds. We had to climb over 5 mounds of mud to land into waste deep pools of mud. I ripped a pretty large hole in my bottom area of my pants on mud hill #2 and scraped my leg on hill #3 and then decided to skip the last 2 hills. After the mud hills, we continued running for a mile through the muddy woods. It was muddy trail running with lots of up and down hills.


My awesome team mates, Love her goggles.
 I'm wearing pink in the back
Obstacle 7 - Warrior Carry
This was one of the easier ones. Our group of 6 split into 2 teams of 3 and carried 1 person each. It's nice that we had a team so that we could pair up.




Obstacle 8 - Arctic Enema
This was a deep plunge into a FREEZING pool of ice water. Once you are in the water, you have to submerge yourself under a wooden plank before you can jump out on the other side. The water was SO SO SO cold. I could barely get out and felt my legs tingle as I was finally out.


My team and I after climbing out of Arctic Enema
As you can see from my face. I am NOT a happy camper

Obstacle 9 - Hold your Wood
This is pretty much what is sounds like. We had the choice of carrying a large stump of wood or a heavy log on the course for about 1/2 a mile. I paired up with a teammate and picked large heavy log and hoisted it onto our shoulders and marched on. It sounds and looked easy, but I was ready to drop that log when I saw the drop off point. 

Obstacle 10 -  Cage Crawl
This was another water obstacle and not for ones fear confined spaces. I had to flip onto my back and pull myself across 60 feet of cage with only 6 inches of breathing room. It wasn't so bad as the bottom of the mud water was lined with plastic, I just held on as tight as I could to the cage and dragged myself to the end.

Obstacle 11 - Boa Constrictor
This is another one that is not for those who are claustrophobic as you are required to crawl through a plastic tube on your stomach into a more muddy water and then crawl back into another dark tube and crawl your way out to the light. The guy behind me must have been in a rush because I could feel his head bumping into my feet every time I made a move to crawl out.

Obstacle 12 - Mystery Obstacle
This one was unexpected and we had no idea what we were going to face. As we got closer to the obstacle, I could hear banging noises. We were directed to run through 2 freight containers (the ones you see on 18 wheeler trucks) as we were running through them all  we could hear was the loud banging noises and was not sure what it was coming from until we exited the last container and saw our obstacle. We had to jump over a series of 5 plastic barricades while tennis balls machines were being fired at us. It was the tennis balls hitting the side of the container that was making all the noise. I ran as fast as I could to each barricade and hurdled myself over trying not to get hit with the tennis balls.  I lucked out and made it through without getting hit, but a little bit bruised up from banging into the barricades.

Obstacle 13 - Berlin Walls
This one was another team effort obstacle. With the help of our teammates, we had to get over a two 12 foot wooden walls. Thank goodness we had guys on our team. I'm not sure if we would have made it over without the extra boost.

Obstacle 14 - Everest
This obstacle is near the end of the course and it was starting to rain as we approached. Everest looks like a skateboarders half-pipe wall. You have to run up the slippery, muddy wall and try to make it to the top with the help of your team mates and the volunteers at the top to pull you up. I was very undecided about this obstacle as I have to run a half marathon in 2 weeks and did not want to injure my knees, so I decided to walk around. Maybe next time I will try it out. I am so proud that all my teammates made it to the top

Obstacle 15 - Electroshock Therapy
This was the last obstacle before the finish line and is it what it sounds like. You have to run through a muddy, hilly field of live wires, some carrying as much as 10,000 volts of electric shock. I opted out of this one as well. I didn't like being shocked in electric eel and this one was going to be bad. 



Our husband and wife teammates are so sweet,
they held hands through it all

As we crossed the finish line, we were rewarded with the Tough Mudder signature orange headband, a finisher shirt, a cold beer and most of all the overwhelming pride of having finished "Probably the Toughest Event of the Planet".

Overall, it was a great day. The rain held off until the very end which made trying to clean all the mud off a little difficult. The course was VERY muddy and quite hilly in parts. I did see a few people get taken off the course in stretchers for various injuries. I saw many people off the the side stretching their legs and dealing with leg cramps. The Tough Mudder event is definitely a hard event. Many of the obstacles are mentally and physically challenging.  I would recommend it to anyone who was looking for something fun and challenging, but please do train for it. My running helped me get through the course quite easily, but a bit more upper body strength training would have helped more. I would suggest wearing clothes that you don't mind throwing out as you will be completely submerged in mud and your clothes may tear or rip on the obstacles. Covering your knees and elbows will help with the crawling obstacles and for my friends that can't swim, a life jacket will come in handy. Some of my team mates had gloves and goggles. Expect to get a few bumps and bruises along the way.

A huge thank you to my friends for sticking with me to the very end. A big thank you to the Ng's for hosting us and for buying all these awesome photos. Way to go team CanAm Mudders. Looking forward to another Tough Mudder.

Team CanAm Mudders
Have you ever completed a Tough Mudder event? Would you?

Have you done any other "muddy" type of obstacle events?

Have a great day !

4 comments:

  1. Wow! Great job! nothing better than putting that orange headband on!

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  2. Awesome!!! And congrats!!! i've been so nervous about this darn race, reading your recap helps. We're signed up to do it in October! I have a question for you, actually. What happens to people who can't get over the wall to get in the start area? LOL!

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    1. I was terrified as well, but you're going to ROCK it. The wall at the start area is not that high and everyone is very very helpful and will help you get over it. I found that everyone was will to help out at all the obstacles. Good Luck and let me know how it goes.

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