Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tough Mudder, Virginia 2011 Obstacles 17-24

17. Spider's Web: This was not done at the top of the mountain like the official map says, but was actually done earlier in the race (right after the Chernobyl Jacuzzi). This challenge was to climb up and over the loose cargo net. People helped by pulling the net tight at the bottom, so there were a few cases of fingers being stepped on and mud falling into peoples eyes. Another obstacle in which gloves were essential.

18. Berlin Walls #2: Similar to the walls at the beginning of the race, but about 5ft higher. This is the first time in the race that we experience a wait to get through the obstacle. I used the time to eat more bananas (as we passed another hydration station). In order to get over the walls, you needed to be hoisted basically above someones head and then pull yourself over. I saw one guy get dropped and land right on his tailbone. Looked painful.

19. Shake n' Bake: After another long run between stations we arrived at shake n' bake. This should fall under the category of cruel and unusual punishment. You have to walk thigh deep through water, then crawl under barbed wire through a sand pit. This ensures that all those little white pieces of sand get everywhere on your body, especially your legs and feet. On the plus side, it was a sunny day and the sand was sparkly, so I glittered for the rest of the race!

20. Mystery Obstacle: If I told you what this was I would ruin the mystery, right?! Just kidding. This obstacle played on fear of heights. We climbed up to the top of what looked to be the backside of a half pipe. Then you had to crawl in to a smoke filled space completely dark. The only exit was down the dark tube below you. Literally a 6ft drop before you curved down. Like a slide on steroids. It was much scarier than I thought it would be. To add insult to injury there was no cover once you emerged out the other end, so everyone who finished the obstacle hung back to watch the faces of those who had just taken the plunge. Pure fear. and sore tailbones.

21. Kinky Tunnels: Not difficult unless you had a fear of the dark or closed spaces. Crawl along the rocky ground along the twists and turns of a dark tunnel. More bleeding knees in the process. Another instance where my gloves came in handy.

22. Turd's Nest: Crawl across a big cargo net while a guy laughs and sprays you with a high pressure hose. Simple enough. I would say, the best strategy to get across this one is not to crawl but actually roll across. Less chance of having a limb slip through the net. And stay away from the guy with the hose.

23. Everest: By this point in the race we were totally hyped up. We knew we were nearing the end of the race and only had a few challenges left. Everest meant running up the side of a half pipe. A really tall half pipe. I saw a few people managed to pull themselves up on their own, but for the most part, you had to run at the ramp as fast as you could, then have someone grab you to help pull you up. If you fell, well, you hurt yourself. This obstacle had the largest crowd and longest wait. Probably because it was such a slow process to pull people up, and many people had to try a few times before they made it. Luckily it was sponsored by suchandsuch a company, who took a picture automatically as we ran up.

24. Fire Walker: This seemed like it would be a cool thing to do at the time, but was much less cool and pleasant than I thought it would be. you had to run maybe 30ft uphill through a maze of burning hay. You're already tired and panting, so we weren't moving too fast. Once you inhaled, the smoke grabbed you by the throat and choked you. It got in your eyes, and burned your nose and throat. If the path had been much longer I might have dropped from holding my breath too long. The fresh air on the other side was just in the nick of time.

25. Electroshock Therapy: Finally. The big obstacle right before the finish line that has everyone talking. Run through a jungle of live wires that snap you with 10,000volts of electricity. If you're lucky, you make it through with only a couple of shocks and keep running. If you're unlucky, you get zapped in the face, or the leg, or so hard that you drop immediately and lose control of your muscle. I got zapped three times in a row. The feeling is hard to describe. It is surprising, numbing, and painful. Your body does weird things. I found that after the third shock I stopped running and was glued to the spot (then got yelled at by the girl behind me who was getting cooked as well). Once guy got zapped right near the end, jumped, and belly flopped out of the end. But you finished and felt like you were king of the world. You finished the Tough Mudder!!!!!

Crossing the finish line was an amazing feeling. Our whole team finished together. We were given the orange headbands, Tough Mudder Tshirts, and a cold pint of beer. We were so pumped up we barely felt the swelling in our knees from hills, the scratches on our elbows from crawling through mud pits,  the aching muscles from climbing, the scratch in our throats from the smoke inhalation, or the seeping cold of autumn in Virginia. Nope, those feelings came later.. then the next day when we woke up, and even worse the day after that.

It was time to celebrate!!

Visit their website at http://toughmudder.com/

  • Train for this event- They are not kidding when they say it's tough. The biggest surprise was the actual distance run. The hills were steep and we saw many people drop out because their calves seized up on the uphill.
  • Wear gloves/goggles: I bought some $3 work gloves from Home Depot. Fabric material with the fronts dipped in rubber. Useful for gripping and not cutting up your hands. I didn't have goggles but saw many people did.
  • Think outside the box: Monkey bars? Use your hands and feet. Steep up hill? Run backwards to save your calves. Steep down? Slide on your bum. Use your teammates and help others out. If an obstacle is too tough, think of another way to do it.
  • Don't wear bulky clothes: Things get wet very quickly in the race and it will only drag you down. The less weight, the better. No water bottles, fanny packs, backpacks, etc. Unless you are wearing a costume. In which case I commend you.
  • Bring warm clothes for after the race: that was our fault. It's autumn, and we left most of our warm clothes back in the car. You need to bundle up after the race and those little foil blankets only do so much!

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