There a few sensations that I dislike more than being cold. Worse than that is being in cold water. Contrast that with how much I love the feeling of conquering something difficult or pushing myself to the extreme, and you'll understand why I signed up for the Tough Mudder.
A lot of things sound like great fun when they are far off. As the day drew closer, the course details were sent to us, and we began considering how uncomfortable it would be to run 12.5 miles covered in
mud and cold water. Thankfully, Lorie had added more weights to my training and I felt as prepared as I could for the walls, nets and greased half pipes that we were going to be scaling. It is difficult
to train for diving into radioactive green water full of ice that is being dumped by the truck loads, and the accompanying shock to every system in the body, though. Needless to say, we were grateful for the
unseasonably warm January weather and sunshine.
I decided to wear my Gorilla tri top since it's designed for wet/dry racing. I went with shorts and knee pads rather than pants because the thought of cold water and mud chaffing didn't sound like the best
option. I wore weight training gloves as well for good measure, thinking it would spare my hands on some of the obstacles. Overall, it worked out just great, but we all decided that by the time we got to
obstacles where gloves would've come in handy, they were too wet and muddy to really help. I wouldn't wear those again if I had it to do over, but I was glad to have knee pads when crawling through crushed rock and mud pits on my belly. It wasn't essential to have them, but my knees were better off at the end of the day. I just pulled them down by my ankles while running so they wouldn't chafe.
It helped that we looked at the Tough Mudder as an event rather than a race. It was a good approach that allowed for more fun and team spirit than pressure, unless you count carrying a railroad tie with a
teammate for half a mile pressure. We decided to just stick together and have a good time. It was an excellent idea once we realized how essential teamwork was in conquering the 22 obstacles. Several times we relied on others to pull us up muddy, slippery slopes after trudging through the mud pits. In turn, we lent a hand to those below us before continuing on. We enjoyed facing the multiple challenges, jumping from the 15 foot plank into the freezing pond below, and getting to know fellow Mudders on the course. Another highlight for me was the apple sauce squeezes that were offered at an aid station rather than gels. An interesting and tastier alternative in my opinion. It took us longer than we expected, finishing at exactly 3 hours. I'm glad that I'm not a "natural athlete" like several of my
teammates claimed to be who didn't train more than a few miles a few times before the race. I'm glad I'm not a "natural" because my training helped me really enjoy my time on the course and feel
perfectly fine the day after.
A side note, a soak in a hot tub immediately following the run to thaw out with lots of delicious food to replace all of the calories burned is a must. In addition, compression tights are not just an
expensive and sexy piece of wardrobe, they are an excellent aid to recovery. On the way to the event, my husband mused that it was appropriate to do the Tough Mudder for our 7th anniversary. Symbolic,
maybe. Intense, hard work, a bit messy sometimes and a definite endurance event. He was right, but I'd like to add that it really was good fun and very rewarding after all. How fitting.
Here are some photos of Greg Arnett who also participated in the festivities aka Tough Mudder.
|The Arctic Enema|
|Trying to heavy my body over walls|
|Jumping into a big pool of slime|