For those of you that don't know what these are, they are basically running made fun. You run, but you also have to go over obstacles and stuff. Which is much less mind-numbing than running for four hours in a straight line (marathon runners, I'm looking at you).
When I ran the Warrior Dash, it was great fun. The course was 3 miles long, with ~10 obstacles. The obstacles were easy, short and fun. I had to jump through some tires, climb some ropes, go under some nets and wade through some dirt. Fun times.
|It took 3 days to get the dirt out of my hair|
I finished in just over a half hour and was pleasantly surprised with that time.
The Tough Mudder couldn't be that bad could it?
I was not prepared for the domination that the Tough Mudder was. 10 miles and 25 obstacles. Oh and did I mention it was on a mountain? In the 90 degree heat?
First, let me tell you, I did not go into the Tough Mudder (TM) without training. I had run a full 10 miles straight before the TM, in 95 degree heat. I had climbed another mountain while timing myself. I did trail runs wherever I could. I am lifting more weight now than I ever have before.
But the Tough Mudder laughed at my puny-ness and punched me in the face.
The mountain is a ski hill during the winter. And of course the first hill on the course was not a bunny hill. No, it was a double black diamond. I don't know if any of you have ever climbed a double black diamond? Let me tell you, it is very challenging. The elevation changes make it hard to breathe. It is difficult to keep your footing because the ground keeps shifting. Furthermore, they line the ski hills with hay, and your footing slips on this. Rocks, roots and branches litter the path.
Once I got the top, I remember being so excited that I finally got a rest. And I started down the mountain. I don't know what was worse, going up or going down. Those rocks and roots that had provided purchase going up were now a deathtrap for my ankles. I was sure I was going to roll or break something. You couldn't even really control your speed well going down. The incline was so steep you were forced into a shuffling run gait all the way down the hill. And oh my goodness, my lower back was not prepared for those downhills. By mile 3, I was in pain.
Now imagine all of that 8 OR 9 MORE FREAKING TIMES. You heard me. I lost track of how many black diamonds I climbed.
Oh and did I mention there were still obstacles through all of this? Yeah, the first obstacle was a super chilled bucket of ice water. You almost could not breathe when you hit the water. The list of obstacles just goes on and on. Carrying a really heavy log. Wading through a river of what can only be described as excrement smelling muddy filth. Walking along a bouncing thin plank suspended above water. Jumping off a 15 foot high platform into a pond and swimming across. Crawling on your belly through mud, barbed wire, tunnels that had no light, tunnels filled with water.
The coolest obstacle by far was the half pipe. Everyone doesn't understand what it is, so here's a picture.
Unfortunately, that picture really does not show how massive the halfpipe really is. You need to be running at a sprint to make it up, and you leap into the air and hope that whoever is on top catches you.
It was commonplace to see someone fall. It was commonplace for yourself to fall.
For 10 miles straight.
Up until mile 9.9, it was awesome. I was beating the race and it was super fun. I was being challenged like I've never been challenged in my life.
And then came the last obstacle. Electrocution.
|Yes, those are live wires|
Yeah, I know what you are all thinking.
"You had it coming, K8. You knew what you were getting yourself into."
"Did you think being electrocuted was going to be like being snuggled with a warm blanket?"
"You're a sissy, suck it up!"
"Train harder next time."
They tell you to run fast and try to not get hit. So I tried it. The first jolt of electricity knocked me off my feet into a shallow pool of water they have underneath those live wires. When I say knocked me off my feet, I mean that one minute I was running, and the next minute I was on my stomach dazed.
After that, I blacked out. Yeah, you heard me. I blacked out. I remember the first jolt. Then I remember drowning for a while.
The next thing I know, I woke up walking around past the finish line. I have no idea how I got there. But no one looked alarmed, so I presume that I was acting normal. Even though I wasn't conscious. You know, no big deal.
It was the scariest thing ever. I have no idea how much time elapsed, but it probably wasn't more than 5 to 10 seconds if I had to guess. I've never blacked out before and I was hoping to keep it that way. The Tough Mudder has really solidified in my mind how horrible it would be to be electrocuted.
Thank you for that.
So what was supposed to be a super fun race actually ended with me really freaked out, saddened and disappointed by what was supposed to be an awesome challenge.
I mean, honestly though, 20,000 people run this race. I did not expect the electrocution at the end to be so violent. Go back and look at that picture. That woman is actually smiling! None of those people are unconscious underneath them. I mean, it doesn't look like the actual experience in any of the pictures or videos. It is not common for people to black out during this, I guess I just got lucky. I really expected it to be difficult, but not like I would be scared for my life.
Yeah, no thanks.
So I really cannot recommend the Tough Mudder for those of you aspiring to do these obstacle course races. But if you decide to go anyways, be prepared for the worst on that last obstacle.
If you want a 10-12 mile race, try the Spartan Beast. No electrocution on those courses, which I count as a big plus. Although the Spartan Beast does try to break your spirit. For example, they give you something to memorize halfway through the course like J456V3254. Then, they ask you what it was near the end of the course.
Eh, I'll take a broken spirit over electrocution any day.