Monday, April 30, 2012

Tough Mudder Pocono

OK.. you know a Tough Mudder race is bad or... good, depending on your perspective, when you get home and the last thing you want to do is take a shower because the thought of being wet, again, is about as appealing as eating a shit sandwich. Which by the way is what I felt like last night.

Rewind to 5:30 am Sunday morning. I woke up with a stiff neck and Bob just realized he forgot to pack his shorts. After a few f bombs and a terribly slow internet connection we found a 24 hour Walmart 1 mile down the road from the hotel. Problem solved. Bob bought some Angry Birds board shorts and I popped some Advil and hoped for the best.

There is no describing the energy level associated with opening ceremonies at a Mudder. The music was blasting, people were jumping up and down, screaming, yelling, chanting, and probably praying. (that would be me). The excitement level is thru the roof. They made us climb an 8' wall into the starting area with the MC chanting if you can't get over this wall you shouldn't be here people! I guess they figured they would pen us up like the caged animals we were. The MC did a nice job of building us up only to slowly crush our will as the day went on.

April in the mountains, yeah, it's pretty damn chilly at 8 am. After a nice run thru the woods (sarcasm) we came up to the first obstacle Kiss of Mud. Alligator crawls under barbed wire, which was covered in icicles thanks to the 24 hour sprinkler system they set up. Yup. Cold. Then there was more running up and down the side of a mountain which felt like miles to the Arctic Enema where you jump into a trash dumpster filled with colored ice water. Well, ours was more like a mud slushy by the time we got there, but colored none the less. Yup. Cold. Luckily I remembered to take my hat off so it would stay dry because I believe my ears just may have fallen off due to frost bite if I didn't. After some more running I'm pretty sure Death March was next. Up hill climb. Way up hill. Heard a lot of panting, whining, asthmatics and possibly a puker. Next may have been the underground tunnels, not too bad, followed by Devil's Beard which is crawling under a cargo net. At least this group had a system, go in backwards holding the net up for people to get thru easily until someone comes up and takes your place while you move up further. It was quite an effort and worked out pretty well. I can't really remember these in order but there was a ton more hilly, rocky, slippery running, maybe the medium Berlin Walls were next. With a good ass shove from the boys, they were no problem. More running into the Mud Mile, thick deep smelly lose your shoes mud. Next was Electric Eel. Crawling on your belly under low hanging shock wires. Oh, in the water. Bob and I made it thru without one hit which was awesome because I was a little concerned. I heard a lot of 'fucks', 'ouches', 'god dammits' and 'mother fuckers' which worried me a bit. Luckily between the drill instructor yelling 'don't even think about it, go go go!' and the skinny mudder in front of me who I noticed wasn't getting hit at all, what do you think I did? Of course I flopped down and followed him, I'm not stupid. Well, not that stupid.

There was a lot more hill running to the Fire Walk. The fire pit was nasty, but I welcomed the warmth. By the time we got there I was freezing cold. It was a pretty nice sunny day, but windy. After that I was wrapped in a mylar blanket and remained that way for the next 6 miles, looking and sounding like a Jiffy Pop container. Running across those open fields was no fun. I don't think I gained the feeling back in my hands until about mile 7 or the Hold Your Wood obstacle. I'm guessing my log was about 50lbs. Not too bad for me. Bob of course carried one that he thought may have been about 120. ha. Silly silly Bob. Next came the Walk the Plank. My worst nightmare. The 15' plunge into the water. At least this time you jumped in and swam 25' out to the side. Huge relief. Didn't make it any less scary when I was up top though. I took 5-6 seconds and two looks, heard the military guy shouting 'go go go!' So as not to anger him, I screamed and jumped or jumped and screamed. Doesn't matter. I almost peed my pants. Same as last time. Although the sense of accomplishment was much greater this time for some reason. I was pumped up after that. I found myself screaming encouraging words to other terrified teammates and random mudders. We hung around there for a while watching a guy we called 'Orange Shirt Guy'. He stood up there for what seemed like forever, at least 10-15 minutes looking over the edge, almost puking, shaking his head, walking back, leaning over, walking back. Military man #2 was doing his best to talk him into it, even started to undress as if to jump with him. The crowd of hundreds were shouting 'jump! jump! jump!'. There were a few cries of 'push him in' and 'jump you mother fucker!' One of them was me. Snicker snicker. It was quite a scene. When we left he was still standing up there. Not sure if he ever jumped. When I saw him a few miles later on the course I should have asked.

After some more running I think Everest was next. The 1/4 pipe. Bob was first up again, no problem. I think someone referred to him as Spider Monkey. Mike went then Carlos. He struggled a bit but finally made it. I was the first girl to take off of course and I made it on the first try. Got a great jump and was able to grab Bob and Mike with both hands. And I actually was able to get my own leg up without them literally dragging me. Awesome. After a few more miles, some more Berlin Walls, 12' this time, and a rope ladder, I was getting beat up. By mile 10 the cold was wreaking havoc on my body, my calves were tightening up to the point I couldn't really run any more, and I could not stop shivering. We came to the Funky Monkey (Bob's nemesis, which he and Mike successfully accomplished on their first try!) and the rings which I could not do. Didn't have it in me. I'm really mad at myself for that but at that point my body was done. I'm not sure if it was the fact that I didn't drink enough water or just the cold, probably a little of both. After that it was the Trenches I believe. 50 yards or so of thigh/waist deep water and mud to climb over. Slow going for me. I was trying not to extend my left foot to avoid a cramp. Then to the Boa Constrictor. Tubes partially filled with water. Yep, cold water. My calf tightened up  in there too, but I got up on my knees and crawled out. I'm pretty sure Twinkle Toes was next. Walking across a beam over, you guessed it, cold water. I think only 2 or 3 of us made it across. My only goal was to not fall in the water. And last but not least, Electric Shock Therapy. Bob's favorite. When I saw him standing there waiting for us there was a look of dread on his face which can only be duplicated when I tell him it's his turn to give the kids a shower. This was the only obstacle he was worried about. I was resigned to the fact that I will probably fall on my face while jumping over the hay bails when my calf gives out halfway thru and end up like a smoked sausage. As our team gathered, with a few moans and sighs, we all took off. Bob ran thru pretty fast and finished with a look of complete satisfaction. Peggy tried crawling under and got stuck and some other guy fell on his face so I had to wait for the carnage to clear because I knew that if I started I wasn't stopping for anyone. So I just bolted, again. Anyone in the Pennsylvania area smell smoke yesterday around 1pm? That was me, I got lit up like a fucking Christmas tree, again. Not as bad as last year, but it was still awful. When you hear buzzing in your ear, you know you've been zapped pretty good. I didn't fall thank the lord, but it wasn't pretty.

I'm sure I missed some obstacles, but thats the general gist of the day. The mood of my rookie teammate just about summed it up. It went like this 9am 'this is fucking awesome whoohoo!' to 10am 'wow I haven't run this far in a while', 10:30 'oh man, I'm not sure if I can do that', 12pm 'My hips are killing me I can barely walk', 'I'm in so much pain right now', 1pm 'last obstacle oh thank you god.' Our team was great again. The course was tough as hell this time around but I think we all did a fantastic job.

The Pocono course made Englishtown look like a cake walk but we all got thru it, relatively unscathed. (I'm sure a few would disagree) I'm feeling pretty good today, calves are healing up, I have a few bruises in odd places and some sore knees but overall not too bad. Would I do it again, right now my answer would be hell no but in 6 months it may change to fuck yeah!

Tough Mudder

Rest Day
breakfast - oatmeal
lunch - egg muffin, larabar, hummus
dinner - sausage stuffed portabellas, broccoli slaw salad

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