Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tough Mudder, Virginia 2011 Obstacles 1-8

1. Braveheart Challenge: This was the kickoff from the start line. Immediately we were pelted by water from the machine that, in the winter, would be used to blow snow over the hill. Hundreds of us rounded the corner and hit the first real challenge- a ski slope. This was effective at thinning out the crowd; some folks chose to run, I chose to walk. Don't let that intimidate you. After this first hill I never saw anyone run up another hill for the next 9 miles! At the top of the hill we had to climb over 10ft walls. It was possible to do alone, but most people needed a little lift.

2. Devil's Beard: This challenge was not difficult in itself. What was a challenge was the route to get there. Once we got to the top of the ski hill we ran fully down to the bottom of another. At the bottom we ran through mud, and had to run along raised hay bales while being sprayed by water, before going back up another ski hill. It was on the upward slope of this hill that we arrived, panting, at a net slung loosely on the ground that you had to crawl under. Luckily I had gloves on so I just dragged myself through. After that we had to finish going up the hill.. oh, then back down the hill towards the next challenge.

3.  The Gauntlet: A water challenge. Because we were the last heat of the day, the ground was absolutely soaked as we ran through getting hosed off. I had mentally decided early on that I was going to try to keep my shoes dry as long as I could; this challenge certainly ruined that! But hey, that's what Tough Mudder is all about!

4. Hold your Wood: Just like the name says, there was a large log pile that had to be transported. Some were huge and had to be carried by 2 or 3 people. I chose a small log that I could carry on my shoulder. You had to walk up a ski hill with it, then loop back around and walk down the ski hill with it and drop it off back at the wood pile. Not too difficult, but awkward to carry the logs for such a long distance.

5. Twinkle Toes: You needed to be light on your feet to get across this one! Boards about 20ft long and 4inches wide were placed on their sides across a pool of murky brown water. The whole thing was put together with plywood stages and rocked quite heavily if anyone on an adjacent board fell. Luckily I held my balance and made it across. Not everyone on my team was so lucky!

6. Funky Monkey: Monkey bars over a dirty pool of water that are on a slope. Oh, and the bars rotate in their holds. If you fall you get a cold shock. Up until this point I actually hadn't been submerged in water yet, like some of my team mates had. Ryan went first- made it. Meg went second- she fell in halfway through. Dave went third- he fell 3 bars from the end. It was my turn. I knew my spindly little biceps wouldn't be able to hold me, so I took a different approach. I held on with my arms AND legs, and crawled across the bars upside down. Success!! (Hint- Do that)

7. Log Bog Jog: This was described as being through a swamp, but it really led uphill through a wooded area. We had to cross over fallen trees (or crawl under them) This wasn't a tough challenge, just another uphill run to get to the next location.

8. Chernobyl Jacuzzi: This was, hands down, the WORST challenge of the race. Others disagreed, but this was a shock to my body I wasn't ready for. Picture this: Dumpsters, filled with wacky colored water, then filled with 2 feet of icecubes floating on the surface. Then they put a board covered with barbed wire in the middle of it. You have to jump in to the chest deep ice water, THEN willingly dunk your head under the board to get to the other side to get out. As soon as I jumped in, my muscles contracted, my lungs refused to breathe, and I basically could not move. Panicked, I tried to get under the board, but because there was so much ice I found it hard to submerge myself, or stay under water.Then I didn't have enough muscle control to pull myself out so my teammates had to. My skin was numb for about a minute after. It felt like I was being punched by a million tiny ice fists. BRRRRR!!!

So that's the first third of the race. Click HERE to read about obstacles 9-16!

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