Over a week has gone by since I was in the Pocono Mountains running almost 13 miles through rough terrain; trudging through knee-high mud, crawling under barbed wire, hyperventilating in ice cold water.
I was told to train. I was warned since the start- when I signed up in September to both mentally and physically prepare for Tough Mudder. I did my personal best to alleviate the fear of being out of shape, but very little could have prepared me for what was in store for my body.
I left my house around 3:30 a.m. on Friday morning to get to my friend’s rental cabin in Long Pond, Pennsylvania on time. The drive was beautiful across I-84; the dark and empty roads gave me a lot of time to think. I ended up along the Delaware River at the tail end of my trip, pulling over to snap a picture of the sunrise- of course. Quiet and peaceful, chilly but relaxing- satisfying in every way an early morning alone is meant to be.
I met up with my team and we carpooled to the Pocono Raceway, the track where NASCAR takes place from time to time. Hundreds of cars already parked, we were put into buses and shipped over to the Tough Mudder grounds about 20 minutes away.
After registration, we all stretched, danced and slapped nervous high-fives to one another. The time came to go to the start, and before we could get there, we had to climb a pre-event 10 foot wall. No problem, the adrenaline was most certainly there.
A huge group of TM-goers kneeled and we had a moment of silence. The announcer prayed for our men and women overseas (the event raises funds for the Wounded Warrior Project) and he did his best to pump up participants with endless “oo-rahs” before the horn was blown and the masses headed into the woods for a run like no other.
I underestimated the run between each obstacle. After crawling under barbed wire, we were faced with the absolute worst of all obstacles- the Arctic Enema. Huge dumpsters filled with frigid iced water awaited us, and we had to swim under the wooden partition. As soon as I dove under, my heart stopped beating. I could not catch my breath. Running was necessary after the bath, and so we did… lots of running.
And with that came:
Death March– a walk or run on a red graded ski run
Electric Eel– a shallow swim under live wires
Everest– a run up a half-pipe
Boa Constrictor– crawling down and up dark tubes with muddy water
Berlin Walls– there were plenty of sets of these, walls ranging from 10-15 feet. Our teammate fell onto his backside and broke his tailbone… and still finished! Oo-rah!
Monkey bars, rings, picking up 30-50 pound logs to carry for what seemed like eternity, balance-beams, jumping over 15 feet into cold muddy water, crawling through pitch dark trenches in mud, and running over fallen tree limbs. Oh, but there is more: Mud Mile was my favorite because I was laughing the whole time; delirious at the hilarity of people wiping out and being exhausted myself, climbing up (Spiderwebs) and under nets (Devil’s Beard), and running through thick black smoke in fiery heat.
The end was near and I could taste the victory beer in my mouth as myself and newly named team (Slowjams) Colleen and Bernie ran through the Electroshock Therapy. I threw my body into the mud in happiness, picked myself back up and hugged my teammates, then got my trophy- the signature victory Tough Mudder headband.
I wanted to blog an update on the event considering I did a fair share of discussing it in the past. My photos are below, courtesy of teammate Colleen, and to check out the weekend’s professional staff photographs click here.