TOUGH MUDDER TIPS & REVIEW
As a Tough Mudder, I pledge that…
I understand Tough Mudder is not a race but a challenge.
I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time.
I do not whine – kids whine.
I help my fellow mudders complete the course.
I overcome all fears.
This weekend, November 12, on a sunny, but windy day, I participated in the Tri-State TOUGH MUDDER at Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ! I have been
dreading looking forward to this day for months and can’t believe it’s already over. It is one of the biggest and best challenges that I have ever done: 12 miles & 32 obstacles.
From the Start:
6 years ago I was a senior in high school, co-captain of Cross Country and Track, running my butt off every day. Then, 5 Years ago, I tore my ACL playing intramural soccer in college (at least we came in 1st place in our division). Safe to say it was a real lifestyle change for me. I wasn’t able to do much. After I had the reconstructive surgery I had to learn how to walk on it again, go through physical therapy, etc. etc. Instead of gaining the Freshmen 15, I ended up gaining the Freshmen 40+.
After I graduated college, I signed up for a personal trainer and kept that up until I felt comfortable to continue working out on my own. It has taken me 2 years to lose 36 pounds. Now my sister is in college and going through somewhat of the same thing that I did, so when she brought up Tough Mudder to my dad, he immediately jumped at the opportunity to get back in shape. We didn’t really know what we were in for…
Tough Mudder Prep:
I’ve been in the habit of working out with weights twice a week and doing cardio whenever I can. My sister never works out and my dad hasn’t for 30 years. When we signed up in June, they started running together to train, but didn’t do much weight training. Tough Mudder recommends that you be able to run 5 miles and do 20 pushups, but I think you can get by with doing less if you are determined enough and take it easy. Even though most people told us we were crazy for doing it (some jerks actually placed bets on who would drop out), my dad (59 yrs), sister (21 yrs), and I (24 yrs) finished strong.
My sister and I both got very lightweight Under Armour short sleeved T-shirts and Under Armour spandex shorts. My dad wore full bodied Under Armor. We fared a lot better than he did. One of the very first obstacles was an ICE bath: the Chernobyl Jacuzzi. It was a dumpster full of ice water that had a barricade in the center with barbed wire over it. In order to pass through you had to dive under it. Because of this, and all the other water obstacles, I would recommend wearing as little clothing as possible in order to dry as fast as possible. Besides the initial shock of all the cold water, I was pretty comfortable in what I was wearing. Another thing – we had considered wearing gloves but didn’t end up ever going out to buy them, which was a good thing. It would have been a waste of money. There was a table at one of the obstacles full of gloves that everyone was ditching because all they did was get wet and gross. Last but not least, be creative! I was surprised at the amount of effort everyone put into their Team costumes. We were the KILLER BEES!
Sidenote: I bought a disposable underwater camera at Rite Aid to document the event, so unless you have spectators coming to support you and photograph you overcoming the obstacles, I would recommend getting one because it’s something you don’t want to forget! (plus you might need to provide evidence to the people who bet against you – take that Aholes!)
I had a Turkey Sausage Eggwhite bagel from Einstein Brothers for breakfast with a bottle of water and I was fine throughout the race. Our start time was at 11 am, so we gave ourselves an hour extra for traffic and registration. There was a long line of cars waiting to get into the parking area so you get to freak out over all of the obstacles you can see from your car. Parking was $10. Once we parked, registration took literally 10 minutes for all 3 of us, but I heard there were lines at some point. They aren’t strict with your registration time, which was good because the line for the bathroom was crazy long. They started heats every 15 minutes so we took our time stretching and warming up.
There are port o potties throughout the course. They also have people giving out free mini Clif bars, Mojo Trail Mix bars, Energy Snacks that tasted like fruit snacks, and bananas. Water stations were plentiful. They also gave out metallic heat blankets if you were really cold.
12 Miles & 32 Obstacles:
It kicked off with the Monster Truck chase, crawling across cargo nets, and plunging into the ICE bath. I’m glad that we got the ice out of the way in the beginning because jumping into all of the other cold water wasn’t as bad. Surprisingly, one of my least favorite obstacles was Walk the Plank – jumping off the cliff into the lake and swimming across. Since I am a scuba diver, I’m used to taking a Giant Stride into the water, but not from so high up. I wasn’t afraid to jump off the ledge, but I think my body reacted to not hitting the water right away and I felt panic hit me half way down. The panic plus the previous shock from the ice made swimming across that lake really difficult, but that’s what Tough Mudder is all about right? My favorite obstacle was crawling through the stretched out cargo net as a group. Everyone under there was hilarious!! They really made me laugh. I also liked the Underwater Tunnels. To tell you the truth, I enjoyed most of the obstacles, although I had a difficult time with the upper body ones… I’ll have to work on that. Climbing over the 2nd set of Berlin Walls, bigger than the first, was a challenge. The more teammates you have the easier it is though. Also, I couldn’t do the Monkey Bars. They were spread apart pretty far and peaked in the center. Maybe if they had been closer together I could have reached more easily. Being 5′ 2,” I’d say that I’d have to be pretty beast to swing myself from the 1st to the 2nd, my arms really weren’t long enough to do it this time around.
Bragging rights: I got over Everest first try! Go me!
My mom, and dog Roxy, surprised us by showing up at the finish line just in time to witness the 10,000 volt Electroshock Therapy obstacle! She got to cheer us on while we earned our orange Tough Mudder headbands, T-shirts, and beers making us feel like champions of the world. 2 days later I am still feeling strong and invincible. Would I do it again? You bet! Definitely a fun activity for a whole group of people (if I had pledges I’d have them do it). It’s a set of challenges perfect for camaraderie. I haven’t taken my headband off since I got it!!
My left leg (my good leg!) is in rough shape. Yesterday I was limping around and couldn’t lift it without physically picking it up. The arch on my left foot is also suffering, although it feels better with wearing sneakers today. I also took a couple muscle relaxers. I have bruises EVERYWHERE. Seriously. They are pretty nasty looking. I am going on a scuba diving trip to Florida this weekend too. Ugh, at least they will make an interesting topic of conversation.
If it’s something that you keep thinking about doing, I’d say go for it! It’ll give you a real sense of accomplishment, and like my dad always says: Persistence knows no defeat!
Plus, it’s for a good cause – Tough Mudder helps raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.
Take the challenge! Get dirty! Become a Tough Mudder!
Accept the Challenge:
Are you Mad enough for the Mudder?