Hands down, Tough Mudder is the most physically and mentally challenging thing I’ve ever done, and I loved every minute of it! The temperature was still below 40 degrees when we started just past 9:40am, but the adrenaline was flowing and for the first half of the 12-mile course, it was surprisingly smooth sailing. The one surprise, to me, was the amount of off-road trail running involved throughout (easily 80% of the course), but I actually preferred it over pounding the pavement.
The Arctic Enema was the second or third obstacle, and one of two I was most concerned about, but we plowed right through it and my Under Armour did its job, then and throughout most of the day, as long as we kept moving. We made a mistake lingering a bit too long at the break around the 5.5 mile mark, and the reality of the low temperature (and sporadic wind) started to settle in, plus the course temporarily shifted from off-road trails to hard pavement, so the next mile or two was tough.
Walk the Plank was the other obstacle I was most concerned about, because I can’t really swim, but it turned out that the 15-foot jump into the muddy water was followed by a short swim back instead of all the way across, so I decided to risk it and I’m glad I did, despite a split-second panic that I was swimming down instead of up! Most of the obstacles are a blur, and none were particularly daunting on their own, but the cold became a bigger factor as the race went on, and matter beat mind as I skipped a few guaranteed cold dips towards the end simply because I didn’t want to get soaking wet any more.
Crossing the finish line through the electric wires was as exhilarating as you’d expect, especially since I managed to avoid getting shocked! Salome caught a great picture of me cutting through, and some others of us at the very end, and I’m hoping to add a few more that Dan took from the half-pipe when I get them.
My team was awesome! From Frank & Kate, who inspired me to join them on their second go-round, to Xia & Andrea, whom I already considered two of the toughest women I know long before Tough Mudder, and they proved me right. We all stayed together throughout the day, meeting up at each obstacle whenever our running paces put some distance between us, and some of the best obstacles were those we had to work through as a team, especially running up the half-pipe, which we all nailed on one try!
I’m giving myself two weeks before deciding whether this was a one-shot thing or if I’ll join them for the Tri-State in October, but right now, I think I’d definitely sign up for the Poconos event again next year because of the off-road flavor. [ETA: Hmm… Just saw that next year’s PA event is in June, location TBA.] For now, though, every muscle in my body is sore, and I’m on my second round of Ben Gay! Tomorrow I’m going to try and do a light workout to stretch everything out, and I’m expecting to get back to my workout routine by the weekend.
Yippee-kay-yay, Mudder F**kers!