What a crazy, awesome, amazing day! We started early enough after a short night and ran into some pretty terrible traffic getting to the ranch. This made us start in the 11:00 wave rather than the 10:20 wave that we were scheduled with. Mike and I settled into an easy pace out of the gate and ambled to our first obstacle, the Kiss of Mud, they don’t waste any time in getting you wet and dirty. The obstacles were a lot of fun though. They make the whole experience infinitely cooler than running a half marathon or close to it would otherwise be.
The second obstacle, Underwater Tunnels, was a little frosty in the water and this was the first obstacle where I really realized why we don’t normally swim with shoes on…it kind of feels like you are dragging a large rug behind you.
Next we faced the Logjam, which was a big pile of logs, some topped with barbed wire, that you had to climb over and go under. It wasn’t specifically difficult but towards the end I was surprised at how tired I was…it could be a long day.
After the Logjam we had a nice little run through a beautiful field with bright puffy clouds. I was focusing on being in the moment and not worrying about what was ahead for us…and then Stephanie yelled over from the side of the track that the Arctic Enema was next. Way to kill my “staying in the moment”, thanks a lot Stephanie. You should watch the video on the Tough Mudder website to get a sense for the Arctic Enema. All I can really say about is that it was very cold. My skin was very crunchy when getting out on the other side. Yet it was oddly invigorating. What kind of weird people are we that do this?
It was a great day all in all. I learned some things about myself, like I really can’t stand having dirty hands for long periods of time. That was my OCD moment. I also learned that Mike and I apparently have the same wrong idea about how to execute the proper cannonball. We talked about it before climbing up on this platform and the picture below shows our interpretation of the diving classic.
We’ll just call that swing and a miss… The electrified obstacles were probably my least favorite because it was really hard to know when you were going to get zapped next. It didn’t really hurt, but it did feel very funny and slightly disconcerting.
I was even a little sad when it was all over. I was definitely glad to be through the Electroshock Therapy but it was hard to put together what we had just done together. While I wasn’t a whole lot of help as a teammate on some of the obstacles (really most of them) I would like to think that I was at least entertaining and far preferable to participating alone. I don’t think Mike necessarily appreciated my efforts to help him over the Berlin Walls by trying to pull his shirt off, though that seemed to be the most convenient thing to grab from where I was sitting, on a very narrow 2×4 on top of a wall about 12 feet off the ground.
One of the parts of this experience that I really liked the most was the spirit of the participants. I have run in all manner of road races, 5Ks, and things like that and people put in their ear buds, turn up their music, and tune out everyone around them. You didn’t have that here, granted voltage and water don’t really go well with portable electronics, but we talked to people the whole way around the course, joked with people, people offered advice for tackling different obstacles. It was sort of the way a society should function, on a smaller scale and with somewhat limited scope. Everyone was pulling for everyone else. People would clear an obstacle and then turn around to offer support or a helping hand or just to cheer on other participants. That was completely awesome! Plus Mike and I got to see just how far my stubborness and his loudness could take us…