I was excited, pumped up and prepared for Tough Mudder …unlike Warrior Dash. I was anticipating myself getting super jittery on race day because I underestimate everything but I didn’t! This was the second funnest thing I’ve done so far, the first being The Ride to Conquer Cancer. And yes, funnest is a word in my dictionary.
Here is my full account in point form:
- 10 miles of running and hiking through snow, mud and rocks. And the weather was gorgeous!
- We went at an easy pace because our team was at different fitness levels and accumulated injuries: ankles, knees and the bruise the size of a tennis ball. We wanted to stay together the entire course because Tough Mudder is all about team work!
- Two of my team members barely did any training at all but they did such an amazing job! I’m so proud!
- And we would’ve not been able to do it without our “Captain Ketchup & Mustard.’” He got us all up and over the Berlin walls. It’s always good to have a tall guy on your team.
- Since we were going at a slow pace and knew there would be waiting, we ran all the up-hills and walked all the down-hills (mainly for the bad knees)… or ran ahead then ran back. The opposite of what most people would do. I wanted to make the most out of the course and get a good workout since we planned to go easy.
- The first thing we had to do was jump over a little wall to get into the starting pit. I somehow broke 3 of my gel nails and the race didn’t even start yet. (picture below is actually Berlin Wall #1)
Then we had to swim across a tank of ice-cold green water and had to fully submerge ourselves to get to the other side. When I got out, my butt was frozen. Right butt cheek to be exact. I would like to know why too.
- Only time during the course I thought: “holy shit this race is fucking tough” was right after jumping into the Glacier Lake and then hiking through the snowy trail because I was freezing, couldn’t feel my fingers and toes and was focusing on not trying not to bail on the slippery snow. Then I remembered I was doing Tough Mudder. Oh yeah. Duh. I immediately told myself to SUCK IT UP.
- Did I mention that ice got inside my sports bra from that lake so my boobs were stuffed …with ice …and frozen. Fun.
- When I saw mud after all that snow, I wanted to face dive into it. I’ve never loved mud so much!
- Little did I know we would be getting a lot of mud near the end when we had to hike a long, rocky and uneven trail covered in mud. You couldn’t see how deep it was and your entire leg may sink in. But hopefully that only happened to the guy in front of you.
- The Berlin Walls were scary and intimidating but we made it up. The video shows the first one but the second set was so much higher. I literally got pulled up by 2 random guys then my heart almost stopped when I saw the drop down on the other side.
- My favorite obstacle was Everest where you had to run up the half-pipe. My girlfriend a.k.a Ninja Turtle Abs literally freaking ran up the ENTIRE wall to the top.
- It was fun watching people run the wall while waiting in line and anticipating whether they will make it up or not. Yes, everyone was watching you.
- My least favorite obstacle were any of the trails with snow. Treachery!!
- The obstacle which I want to do better next year are the Monkey Bars. I was more than 3/4 way, felt my hands starting to rip and slightly turned around and saw the 2 guys waiting for me behind me and fell!! At least the water wasn’t cold and those 2 guys finished so I didn’t have to feel bad if they fell too. I was so close. Boo.
- I was seriously going to skip the monkey bars too because I practiced on one a week before and my hands were in so much pain. Nothing worried me about Tough Mudder except for this because I wasn’t sure if I was able to do it and my upper body is my arch nemesis— and something I don’t train a lot. But what did I have to lose? It was just water you fall into and what’s a bit of water when we already went through 20 obstacles and a 10 mile run already?
- Remember the 2k hill that crushed me during Warrior Dash last year? There was one in TM where we ran up alongside the ski jumps and I CRUSHED IT! I think all the Grouse Grinds I’ve been doing helped.
- I did a run/rest— ran to a certain point to wait then ran again. I found this so much easier than walking up which I did for a couple of meters (and almost died). I got to the top before everyone I passed with energy leftover so it definitely worked!
- I did the steepest part easily by reminding myself this is like the Grouse Grind but shorter and easier… and to just do it.
- I was totally fine until the 19th obstacle (Everest). I made it up but slammed my knees into the wall in the process so afterwards, both my legs started failing big time. It didn’t help with all the downhills during the last 4k.
- Shin splints didn’t start until 8k. But they were super mild until the last downhill run. If the course was longer, I would’ve probably crawled the rest of the way. I was already feeling uncomfortable in my right hip half way through but that was “suck up-able.”
- By the end of the race, I had a total of 5 missing gel nails.
- And many scrapes and bruises on my knees and elbows.
- I had lots of fun scrubbing dried mud from the open wounds when I got back to the hotel.
- And it took me a good 15 minutes to scrub dried mud off myself because I didn’t rinse off after the race.
- Legs were in so much pain for about 3 hours afterwards. Shin splints galore!
- The next day, I had mild soreness in my upper-body and none in lower body. I was so ready to do it again!!
No serious injuries! Well.. the nails.
- Most of the obstacles would not have been possible without team work. It was nice seeing everyone help each other out and not just people they knew!
- The guys did most of the helping though like taking turns holding down nets for people to climb over. Us girls had it easy! Not complaining.
- It wasn’t as tough as I thought but I now understand why they make you sign a death waiver! It was dangerous… I almost died so many times. Well not die but you know. Fall.
- We didn’t realize there was $10 parking up at the course and parked in the village and took the shuttle up as instructed from something we printed out. The shuttle down was brutal and it was hailing at the village. Then we proceeded to make the most miserable trek of our lives to the nearest coffee shop to wait for Boyfriend to get our car (which he had to take another bus to get to). Cold, wet, dirty… I have never been so miserable in my life (and it lasted for over an hour). That $10 would’ve been the best money I ever spent.
- But I would go through that misery again if it means I get to do Tough Mudder before it!
- There was an obstacle where you were running over logs. The entire time, I was thinking about camping last year when we were walking on floating logs and my drunk and happy best friend (who also couldn’t swim) was hopping those logs like she owned it while screaming “TREACHERY!!!” then she fell in the river, was fully submerged except for the beer in her hand which she somehow remembered to save and hold above the water. So TREACHERY!!! is the name for our Tough Mudder team next year.
To sum it all up…
Tough Mudder is only as tough as you make it to be (unless you barely trained) but I believe my regular training more than prepared me for this (except I should’ve done more long runs). You can race it or work it with your team. Workout-wise, I was not satisfied and felt like I didn’t accomplish much but I would totally do it again because it was SO. MUCH. FUN. I’m already counting down the days to Tough Mudder Seattle!
So now my question is: how the heck am I suppose to survive my first half-marathon with all that leg pain. I better get my ass to start training properly. Calling all Run Bugs!!
*some of the photos are from the Tough Mudder Facebook page.