#1: ***Pictures sourced from Tough Mudder Facebook, no clue if this illegal, but they’re downloadable so I assume it’s legal/please no need to sue me, not even my mom reads this blog****
#2: This cheddar’s sharp (read: this gets cheesy)
Chadz (sorry :) I can't help it) and I headed out of Brooklyn around 3:15PM Friday evening headed to Mt. Snow, Vermont. Clouds parting, sun shining for our 5 hour drive:
As the title of this event had “mud” in it and I’m already clumbsy with my camera I decided to leave it at home. Regret. I wished to have had taken pictures of the house, the stairwell (that everyone fell down once or twice…or three times), the obstacles, the bruises, the smiles, but I’ll supplement with pictures everyone else took that I have now stolen off of the facebook, but we’re totally cool bc of the disclaimer up top, right guys?
The rest of Friday night consisted of arrivals, whiskey, outfit coordination and nerves. Three of the five of us had run the course before. GCT and I were the newbies. I went to sleep with butterflies and had a restless night thinking that somehow with the four of us sharing a room and setting our respective alarm clocks that we may still somehow be late or miss it. It was all just so exciting; it felt like the night before the first day of school.
5:30AM and everything in our room starting screaming. I think GCT’s alarm was a zoo of animal noises (what foreshadowing to our game of animal noises later on that day). We were up an at ‘em immediately. If lions don’t get you out of bed I don’t know what will.
We rised and shined and packed into the bed of Brian’s jeep at 6:30am, bellies full of oatmeal and water bottles filled with branched-chain amino acids.
(not an actual team member)
We got through registration, now adorning our registration numbers, wrist bands and a new set of butterflies. We got one with our number and another for the free beer at the end. I would check for the orange one after every obstacle. Be damned if we paid all this money and then don’t collect a “complimentary” beer.
(holy crap that’s how you spell “camaraderie”)
It was around 8:20AM when we burst out of the start line and up the hill. Our course was in Vermont on Mt.Snow and the obstacles were sprinkled around ski slopes. This lead to a lot of up and down hill runs. The first uphill obstacle, the Brave Heart Run
Everything in your body tells you to get out but at the same time you have to mentally persuade and remind your legs how to move. The water is up to your shoulders and as if that wasn’t enough you have to submerge yourself underwater. There are some things during the course you are better off not allowing yourself time to think. This was one of them for me. I was already in a slight state of panic having to concentrate on moving that I hesitated for a second thinking I would lose myself under water. I grabbed onto the bottom of the wood to feel the other side and guide myself as I was under.
Our course had a lot of running in the beginning, the obstacles were few and far between. We came upon the Devil’s Beard, which if you entered alone realized how much more difficult it was than when you got behind someone and into their stream. That was the point of this right? Things are easier when you work together.
It’s pitch black in the hole and you’re laying down on your chest pulling your body through this tiny space and looks a little like this:Cheese alert: this was hands down the best part of my day bc I would not have been able to do it without the team. You reach the light at the tunnel and hands are there to help pull you out, high five and then continue on.
At this point you are 90% covered in mud and you jog to the obstacle adjacent, Berlin Walls.
We’re off again and surprise! You’re running up hill. After almost every event it’s about a half mile trek either straight up hill or bounding down hill trying not to slip in the mud or break your ankle on a rock.
Next up was likely the Electric Eel another one of my favorites. You kneel down in what looks like a harmless shallow water bath, until you reevaluate the name and realize those things hanging down are live electrodes. There is only one way through so you’re in and under. I didn’t think too much about a slow strategy or trying to avoid the shocks and instead barreled across, first feeling my elbow get shocked, then feeling it on my feet as I scampered along and then again through the water of other mudders getting shocked. It hurts, it travels through you, but it was oddly exciting.
At one point we were running up hill and this shmo in the upper right corner with a hose is just spraying you as you pass by. The water wasn’t as freezing as I anticipated.
Moving on to the best of my jumbled memory there was a swamp crawl where you had to get into a smelly ditch and go under logs and barbed wire to get to the other side, turning around and holding the barbed wire up for others. GCT went full face under the water to get under the logs. We all took a second to admire COBs baby blues sparking against his muddy face
(baby blues not featured)
That might have been my least favorite as it smelt like manure and was chilly. Onto the next event, the Spider Web cargo net. You come up to the net seeing a bunch of mudders on the other side holding the net to make it taught so we’re able to crawl over. Once you’re over you volunteer yourself to hold it down for the next batch. You cannot make it through a lot of these things without help from other people. We climb over unscathed and work our way up hill to the next obstacle coming across a water and banana station somewhere in between.
We were starting to feel dry so of course there had to be a water obstacle soon enough. We came upon the Boa Constrictor. A short tunnel, but a rocky one. You crawl through going down and then up, the water coming in and out from the person in front of you holding you back and the fact that you’ve been physically demanding on your body for the last couple of hours makes this innocent looking obstacle one of the more grueling ones.
I believe most of my cuts were due to these tubes.
Up to the top and off again, we’re almost dry again. Time to jump into a lake.
We ran down possibly the time in the course where you run down hill over jagged rocks, fallen trees, wet leaves and your wrists take a thrashing from falling on slate rocks and knees take a beating from scraping through falls.
At the end is possibly where we came upon the Fire Walk. 4ft walls of fire and smoke are welcoming when you’ve been chattering through the mud half the day.
This obstacle was near the end of the course, only faced with a few more things to completion. There were mile markers everywhere letting you know how close you were getting to that final tenth mile. Two dry events behind us it was time to get cold again and we ran down to Glacier, a mound of snow you had to climb up. There had been so many mudders before us that we were able to find an express lane where foot prints were deep enough on the hill that we could stick our feet in and climb up like professionals (I think a couple of my teammates are actually expert ice mountain climbers). You climb up, hands frozen, red, raw and then have to slide down. I tried to crouch and slide so my ass and hands would not touch the ice, but fell unavoidably and succumbed to the old butt drag, my hands then burning from the cold.
Once successfully on the other side we knew it was almost over. The penultimate event approached: Everest.
This was the most entertaining obstacle to watch. People run up, trip, miss peoples hands, slow down and then bite it into the side of the half pipe. They get up, run back and try it all over again. It looks so hard from the outside and brutal on the body as they thrash into the half pipe and slide back down. How do you NOT slip on an incline that is covered in mud? How do you run up??Some guys were able to run up and get themselves over with no help. It was amazing to watch. COB got himself up to then help us all over. I went next, managing to grab his and another mudders arms who I then pleaded to grab my leg as I scrambled my way up to the top.
It’s simple. You run through the live electrodes jumping over hay bails as fast as you can to the finish while they shock anything they touch. Simple.
They corral you into the finishing area where you collect your tshirt, beer, various protein products and then mudder volunteers put the celebratory head band on your head reading “tough mudder”
“they’re not for sale; they’re earned” rawr!
Hands down best part of the event was crawling through a pitch black underground mud soaked trench singing “Proud to be an American” with these tough mudder fudders.
I was telling Chadz I finally understand adrenaline junkies to which he appropriately responded: “I’m not an adrenaline junkie, just a badass.”