I can honestly say I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I registered for the Charlotte, NC Tough Mudder as part of deal with my buddy Kathryn.
She agreed to run the Twin Cities Marathon with me if I would do Tough Mudder. DEAL! I registered and then read and watched the obstacle videos! Artic enemia, electric eel, electric shock therapy… what had I gotten myself into? I did not fret to long as I was excited about a new challenge and a running buddy for my fall marathon.
Team #BAMR Bad Ass MUDA Runners was officially formed and the recruiting for additional team members began. We recruited 12 team members but lost 3 prior to the event. We were 9 members strong on race day!
Having never participated in a mud run I had no idea what I was getting myself into or how to train. The running was a no brainer for me it was the sheer lack of muscular strength that was of concern. Luckily Kathryn had that figured out for us and talked me into a trying out Raleigh Crossfit. I had heard of Crossfit, seen numerous tweets about it but honestly had no idea what it was. I went into my trial class not knowing what to expect (or what to wear) and left KNOWING I would schedule my foundations training ( to learn the 9 fundamental Crossfit movements) and add Crossfit to my weekly training routine. I was hooked from day 1. I maintained my marathon training and incorporated in 3 Crossfit training days. I love CF so much I have actually dropped a running day ( 3 post CF marathons completed and no regrets). The addition of CF to my training regimen has been very beneficial to me. ( perhaps a future post)
Obstacle recap, of the ones I can remember, from the Charlotte, NC event. Weather was overcast, chilly upper 40’s.
- To get to the starting line you must scale a small wall. Don’t let the size fool you! I had a friend fall, crack a rib, and tear her intercostal muscle on this very wall. In complete BEAST mode she completed the course with the help of her team. You go Sarah S! The day of our race, the medics were tending to a fellow mudder whom had injured themselves attempting the wall. Be careful!
- Running- the running between the obstacles was similar to single track trail running. Uneven surfaces, roots, rocks, holes, you name it. Luckily, I had spent many miles on the trails during training. Tip: Leave the asphalt when you can and train on single track trail
- Kiss of Mud– surprisingly I was able to to do on my hands and knees based on height of the wire
- Glory Blades– no issues with a foot boost, from team mate, to pull myself to the top and and slide down the other side.
- Arctic Enema– mentally and physically HORRIBLE! The freezing water completely stunned me, I could not catch my breath. I pulled myself together, went under the wooden plank only to be welcomed by huge ice cubes on the other side. When I made it out I had an full body ice cream headache. Torture! Thankfully they had Mylar sheets to help warm you up. All I could think about was those poor people on the Titanic. Tip: close your mouth, jump out far, to get to as close to the plank wall as possible.
- Cliffhanger– must have been a none event. I don’t even remember it.
- Warrior Carry– no problem, got practice with this in crossfit. I proudly carried Kayla whom is 2 inches taller than me! Tip: have team wait to distribute carry based on size and weight.
- Balls to the Wall– no problem, due to notches in the wall for foot placement. I was actually surprised they were there. Would be much harder without.
- Hold you Wood– no problem, the name of this obstacle brought many laughs and crude comments from our co-ed team with only 2 male members.
- Mud Mile– FAVORITE! I found slugging through, and sliding into the cold mud fun. There were plenty of fellow mudders available to pull you up the dirt mound as needed.
- Berlin Walls– this one takes team work to hoist team mates up high enough to pull themselves over the wall. The drop from the top to the other side can be intimidating thankfully the landing is softened by a think layer of mulch. Tip: don’t rush your drop from top of the wall. Attempt to execute a safe landing.
- Boa Constrictor– no issues other than being in a confined space. The pipe was so small I could not crawl on my forearms. I had to side crawl.
- Just the Tip– I did not make it past the first section and dropped into the cold green water. Possibly easier without gloves. Our 1 team mate who made it the entire way was glove free! Way to go LIZARD!
- Electric Eel- UGG! Dive in FAST, low,crawl, shimmy, whatever it takes as low and fast as you can to get out. It sucked! It was worse for some than others. It was not as bad as I thought. I feel like having on two shirts help insulate me from the shocks. Tip: wear two shirts, keep you mouth closed and head down.
- King of the Mountain– Fun! team work is needed to boost each other up some of the bales. Tip: use the twine to help pull yourself up.
- Cage Crawl- I am very comfortable in the water so I had no issues with this obstacle. Due to my layers of clothing I felt like I was floating. For those not comfortable being on their back in water this could be tough.
- Walk the Plank– Close your mouth, exhale from you nose ( or hold it) and JUMP! I forgot to exhale and got muddy water up my nose YUK! No fear of moderate heights no issues.
- Unknown Cargo Net Obstacle- Jump across water to a cargo net. If you miss you go in the water. I caught the cargo net but lost my grip and fell into the water. My left shoulder has hurt ever since:( Way to go Sundrop and J-Wow for mastering this one!
- Funky Monkey– HARD! After teammate slipped off first rung and fell onto her back on the metal platform (Thankfully she was fine) I decided it was not worth the risk. I jumped into the cold water and swam across. The bars are slick and placed 1.5 feet apart. Way to go J-Wow who effortlessly tackled this obstacle!
- Everest– I made it on 1st attempt! Thankful for the strong volunteers at the top who caught me and pulled me up. Tip: seek out the group of volunteers that look strong enough to hoist you up.
- Electroshock Therapy– SUPER HORRIBLE! I swear they “juiced” up the shock on this one. They hurt! To make it worse the ground was thick, slick mud. I kept falling and had trouble getting up (envision the person in the horror movie running away and they keep falling…that was me) . To increase the fun they placed a huge hay bale, that had to be scaled right in the middle of the shock torture. Scaling a hay bale while getting shocked non stop was ridiculous. I finally make it over the bale only to face plant into thick mud. At this point, I was laughing out of fear I would never make it out. Finally, I made it. We were all so disoriented, we did not realize Mama Bean was stuck not able to get over the bale. Fortunately, she decided to go around. Sorry Mama Bean:( Tip: attempt to go as fast as you can. Find mental strength in knowing this is the last obstacle
My random tips:
CLOTHES-Wear old clothes and shoes they will be NASTY! I wore long sleeve compression shirt under my team shirt. It kept me warm and was a great barrier against the mud and shocks. Capri pants and high socks! Its not the best look going but it provided a great protective barrier from scrapes and scratches. We had BadAss Socks 🙂
- GLOVES- I wore them and was glad I had them. Half the team had them half did not. Really no advantage just preference.
- HAIR-If you hair it long wear it up or braided. If you hair is short like mine…brace yourself for a seriously bad,muddy, hair day.
- SHOES-We did not duck tape shoes. Just tie tight and double knot. Nobody lost their shoes. The trails were littered with duck tape that fell of peoples shoes.
- DROP BAG- Bring flip flops to wear after you toss your shoes, towel to dry off with after the COLD rinse down, change of clothes. Qtips to get a jump on your ear cleaning. $ if you want more beer or food. Phone so you can take post race photos ( we did not take on course..too risky)
Overall thoughts– For me Tough Mudder is a “One and Done”. It was fun, a good experience, new challenge, but I did not finish with a strong desire to do another one. It was a great team effort and I am most grateful for the friendships I enhanced and developed with my awesome team mates. I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard in my life. Tough Mudder is truly is a TEAM event. Recruit as many “like minded” people as you can and stick together! No team? No problem, there are plenty of volunteers and mudders at the obstacles helping each other out. The support is amazing!
Was it the toughest most physically and mentally demanding thing I have ever done? For me no. Ultra/marathon running and some Crossfit WODs(work out of the day) are far more physically and mentally challenging…FOR ME. The experience is so personal based on an individuals physical condition, experiences, and fears. For someone with fear or heights or water I think Tough Mudder would be mental torture.
Tough Mudder is a a quality event that will not disappoint! Give it a try! Getty Muddy! You really don’t know what you are capable of until you give it a try.
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