So while I have the end result of the weekend at Penny Oaks, I have zero media and I am hoping I can get some before I make a post. Until then, I am updating ya'll on the Tough Mudder this weekend; it actually does relate to riding a little bit.
So if you don't know what one is, or haven't done one before, I will say it is definitely as they advertise. Not for the faint of heart or those who don't like getting dirty. I signed up with 11 other people from my Crossfit box, most exponentially more fit than myself and I was incredibly nervous. I also made the mistake of looking up the obstacles beforehand, which only increased my anxiety about it all.
|Part of my incredible Crossfit family (including my parents and Bangor- who also CF)|
I knew there would be heights to concur, mud to slog through, tight spaces to navigate, walls to climb and miles to run...as well as the electroshock therapy at the end. All to earn to the coveted orange headband and to say you did it.
It all sounds a little insane and cult-like, but so is Crossfit and I enjoy that. Completing a Tough Mudder is on my bucket list, but I honestly dd not believe I actually could with zero training. We had to sign up for the one in May instead of July, since some of our crew is deploying (military) which meant if I wanted to train by running it would have to be outside in the wintertime.
Moral of the story; I didn't train at all and in hindsight it was OK, but beforehand I was FREAKING out that I would actually keel over and die from rhabdo.
To describe the experience is impossible. You just have to do it. I can say that it felt incredibly surreal, like I wasn't actually doing any of it. Mostly because it was so fucking crazy I couldn't believe I was doing it.
From start to finish, it was an incredible time. The organization was incredibly accommodating for hosting such a large number of competitors with bag drops, tape, war paint, changing rooms, hoses afterwards, beer afterwards (free), water before and after as well as snacks and energy drinks every mile or two along the race (also free) and photogs!
They got us amped with the most American warm-up ever and a loud group national anthem. I was pumped and energized and ready to go. Once we were off, we came a to a tunnel in the first 400m of the race and chanted USA all the way through it...hardcore.
Then we ran. A lot. I was dying, but then settle din a bit. having a team next to you and everyone else around motives tired legs to keep going and I just kept saying 9 more miles, 9 more miles. We came to a massive hill and climbed it in the mud and then the real fun began. First few obstacles were easy and spread very far apart. It was so much running. So. much. running. My team kept creeping away from the 3 "anchors", myself, my dad and my friend K. We eventually caught up at the first massive and daunting obstacle.
We had to climb 15 feet up then launch ourselves onto a slingshot and try and ring the bell and drop 15 feet into water. It was terrifying and I almost didn't do it.
I sat at the top with hundreds of eyes watching me and stuttered to jump.
But I did it. I never thought I could or would.
Hitting the ice cold water at the bottom of my jump made me feel ALIVE and I was so proud of myself for overcoming one of my fears.
We trucked on through mud and barbed wire, rope climbs and more walls.
|Bangor and myself before the race|
A lot of it was pretty standard stuff. Slog through mud here, swim through here, jump over walls here, run some more.
The next big challenge was a team log carry- up and over walls and hills. That was truly fun to do as a team and test the teamwork!
I ran every mile up until mile 6 then tapped out. I seriously knew if I tried to push myself farther I would actually collapse. I took walk breaks on the uphill and ran when I could elsewhere. At this point, there were a fuckload of rocks in my shoes too and we taped them on, so I couldn't exactly take them off easily.
It was getting slightly miserable.
Next was the Arctic Enema. The water in the challenges before had been cold, but nothing like this. I thought I knew what I was getting into, but I truly had zero clue just how cold water could feel.
|Thats my teammate chad and then my head to the far left , HAH|
We had to slide into it and OH MY GOD it startled me awake. Luckily too, because by mile 8 I was dragging.
It was the coldest I've ever felt in my life and it made me thankful I've never fallen in a lake in winter time. We had to climb a wall in the challenge and I almost didn't make it my hands were so numb.
One year, a man died in there because he had a heart attack...kind of crazy.
Moving on from that, the course got much more hilly. It also started to rain and my shoes were full of rocks. If we hadn't been at mile 9, I don't know if I could have forced myself on, but I did.
It was here that I wasn't really sure what was keeping going. to say I was exhausted is an understatement and I was absolutely in agony from the knees down. Every step killed and I felt it in my soul. But I had to finish! I was so close!
I skipped Mt Everest & and the monkey bars over ice, because of my shoulder, which made me sad to not have "fully done" the whole course.
|Mt Everest was more daunting in person|
All that was left was the "Muddy Mile" "Cage Crawl", "Pyramid Scheme" and "Electrotherapy".
The Muddy Mile was challenging simply because the mud was sticky and the challenge was taxing. We got through it as a team though, as with everything else. Cage Crawl was my second favorite and led up to Pyramid , which was the hardest by far to complete. It involved stacking humans end on end then pulling the chain up to the top. Its hard to describe, and took ages to get everyone through.
Then, our last obstacle. Electrotherapy. I was limping by this time and was ready to be done. I had been shocked by horse fences before and really thought nothing of this obstacle. Simple, walk through, be done. Then, I watched my first teammates go through and I heard the loudest pops I've ever heard in my life. So many swear words.
The rest of us were like, WTF why, and then I was like fuck it, threw my arms up and charged through.
|Kind of like this (not me)|
I was immediately thrown on my ass by the power of a shock across the neck and literally cried out as I shredded my pants and flailed in the electricity to get up out of the mud. Each volt I felt in my teeth and I kind of blacked out a bit. The end seemed so far away and now that I knew how powerful the shocks were, I was unwilling to move. I think I got zapped about 8 more times on the way out and Bangor escaped with not one shock. How, I will never know, but that was truly the worst thing I've ever felt in my life and I won't do that again, ever. You couldn't pay me, seriously. Luckily, Legionarie's (those who do more than one) never have to do it again and go around that obstacle. WHEW.
We weren't as muddy as we actually got in-between some of the obstacles because Pyramid involved a lot of water, but it was still a great pic. We truly earned those headbands.
They kind of reminded me of horse show ribbons. Cheap and simple, but they mean so much!
Along that crazy 10 mile ride, I learned a lot about myself and that I can do more than I initially thought I could with this body. NO joke, the mudder is mentally more challenging than anything. When things are really shitty, like rocks in your shoes, you can't just complain and it go away- you keep going. When the mud is pulling you down and you want to stop, you keep going. When the water is so cold you feel dragged down, you keep going. When your legs are so tired they're numb, you keep going.
There are so many times in life when I feel all of that- dragged down, pulled down, exhausted, worn out, annoyed, at you end...you keep going! This weekend I learned I CAN keeping despite not wanting to. I know was crazy, and I paid to suffer, but it was worth it to me to finish something I truly had no belief that I could..
|We did it!!!|
We finished sub 4 hours which was the goal and I just couldn't believe we did it all. I recommend this type of thing if you're an adventure seeker or an extremist but it is definetly not for the faint of heart! I also recommend training a little bit at least beforehand. I am dead today and I'm pretty sure my legs might fall off my body.