Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tough Mudder Utah, event report, part 2 – the part describing the first 11 obstacles

Obstacle #1: Kiss of Mud #1 Mud pit with cold water – I don’t know how long it was – boards and barbed wire 18 inches above the muck. Get in it. Get messy. Get out. Based on the AWESOME advice from my friend, I didn’t do the gut crawl to begin with. I used my feet/knees/hands as much as possible because it would be easier. We were going to get enough difficulty as the day wore on. I snagged my shirt a couple of times, but for the most part, I made it through without too much difficulty. Muddy, for sure, but not too awful. If the whole day was like this, then the whole thing would be a piece of cake.

Obstacle #2: Arctic Enema Three long dumpsters. Filled with water and 50,000-80,000 pounds of ice (over the course of the weekend). In the center is a wooden barricade with barbed wire just in case you want to go over. Oh, no. You MUST go under if you want out. I don’t know how much ice was in it, but it was enough for it to be ridiculously code. This from the girls who can’t stand a cool bath after a 26.2 mile marathon. I would rather shove bamboo splinters under my fingernails than take even a lukewarm bath. I’m about to jump into a pit of ICY WATER – with actual ice cubes in it… and lots of mud. Um. F. Capital-freaking-F. Geezus. It was awful. Again, though, with the advice from my friend, I waited until the person in front of me was at least under the barricade so that I wouldn’t have to be waiting behind someone while just standing in the frigid hell. So, we could touch the bottom fine. The water was probably up to my armpits. But, I had to go under. This really freaked me out. The water was so muddy that I couldn’t see anything even if I wanted to. I could feel the bottom of the barricades; it was probably only four inches below the level of the water. I was pretty scared to do it, but I finally just grew a pair and did it. When I came out the other side, I was so freaked out (frozen brain?) that I started to dog paddle. I could touch the bottom, but I was dog paddling?!?!?! What the? At the other side, I stupidly expected a ladder or step or something so that I could get out. Uh, no. The first of the “thank gawd that my friends were there to help” statements. If they hadn’t been, someone else would have. I’m sure of it. We got out, and that cold wind just bit into us. Awful. Based on what we all read, this was to be the worst obstacle. Happy to have it out of the way, we ran on.
This is us after the Arctic Enema.

Obstacle #3: Berlin Walls #1 So, the pansy-assed 8-foot wall at the start line were nothing compared to these 12-footers. Bless my friends. MW got to the top of the wall (without much trouble at all, might I add) and sat there. RG and BO boosted me and the other girl, LN, up so that we could pull ourselves up. Yeah, right. What this really means is that they boosted me. Then they extended their arms until we were all in some cheerleading pose all while MW is pulling me up, and I’m squirming around trying to get one of my feet over the wall. Then, I had to get the other foot over and go carefully down the other side. Oh, ha-ha. I basically dropped quickly, whacking my left knee in the process. I landed and wrenched my back, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Then, we did it on wall number two in exactly the same way – including the left knee whack because I’m graceful like that.

Obstacle #4: Bale Bonds Meh. This was no struggle. It was just a bunch hay that was easily traversed. And, it was soft when tripping up and falling. A nice change.

Obstacle #5: Hold Your Wood There were short logs and long logs. I’m not going to say “small” or “big,” because they were all very thick. Although my Seattle friend said that carrying a single log was easier, and most of our team did that, BO wanted to carry a long log. So, I said that I would team up with him. It was all I could do to get the log to my shoulder. It’s not like it was pine or balsam. This was some heavy damn wood. I don’t know what kind, but heavy. Once I got it to my shoulder, we were good to go. BUT, another teammate, JN thought that it would be too much, so after he helped his wife get a short log up on her shoulder, he came over and took our back end. This left me in the center with almost nothing to do since both guys were taller than me. I still tried to help. I took a turn at the end while JN left for a bit to help LN re-position her log. We completed this obstacle (basically a walk around the block) without problem.

Obstacle #6: Kiss of Mud #2 Just like the first Kiss of Mud, but muddier and deeper and the barbed wire was a bit closer to our backs. I know this because my shirt was caught a few times. At the end, I absolutely had to gut crawl.

Obstacle #7: King of the Mountain BIG square hay bales (each coming up to boob level) stacked in a pyramid. These were easy to get up as long as I put my right knee up to the top of each and then pulled myself up. The guys were there to help, but I let them help others who were shorter than me because I was doing fine. Going down the other side, I simply sat down and easily lowered myself to the next level. This was a nice and easy obstacle.

Obstacle #8: Trench Warfare Crawling through an enclosed trench which turns almost 90* to the right and again almost 90* to the left before getting out. So, this was pretty fun. We had been smelling something dead, on and off, while we had been running. You know, dead cow or sheep. Before we got to this obstacle, we saw the source: a dead horse. Sad . The top of the trench was enclosed with particle board or plywood and then covered with several inches of dirt. On top of that dirt were animal carcasses and bones and hides and cow skulls. It was pretty awesome gross. It wasn’t too hard. Behind me, a girl said to her teammate “it’s getting too dark – I can’t see any light!” I shouted back “that’s because my big butt is blocking the light.” She and her friend laughed a lot about this.

Obstacle #9: Dirty Ballerina The website describes this as a series of trenches, 4-feet wide, that you can try to jump across. If these were 4-feet, then I’m at my ideal body weight. They were easily 6-feet across. There was no jumping. They were all knee to chest deep with muddy water. We just got in and trudged through. These were fun. The mud was slick and gray and gross. It was awesome. A lot of the “entry” points to the trenches were like mini-slides, so I just sat down and slid into the water. There was mud in places where mud should not be.
After exiting the Dirty Ballerina

Obstacle #10: Lumber Jacked More wood – but bigger in diameter. These were actual logs. You couldn’t put your arms around them. The idea is to go over the tall ones and under the short ones. The trouble? There were no short ones. We had to go over all of them. The trouble with that? They were all at my chest level. The girls had a hard time with this because we were generally too short to get any decent leverage, and even if we could, we generally lack the upper body strength to hoist ourselves up. Some girls were OK. I was not. There was a lot of helping. I managed to get my foot in an angle made by 2x4s, but my foot kept getting stuck. Eventually, the guys just let us step on their knees or cupped their hands so that we could push off of something. These were also pretty fun.

For the record, we had managed to run between all obstacles until mile 9. This is significant because one of our teammates is a self-proclaimed non-runner. He did awesome.

Obstacle #11: Electric Eel This obstacle is like the kiss of mud but instead of having barbed wire above your back, there are about 200 dangling live wires. You’re wet. You can’t hurry very much because you’re on your stomach. And, these live wires aren’t just itty bitty zings. These are seriously wretched shocks. All I remember was saying “I’m unhappy! I’m unhappy! I’m unhappy!” After that, I cannot be held responsible for whatever I said. I don’t even know if I said anything. I’m not kidding. With the exception of childbirth before the epidural, nothing in my life has ever hurt so badly – over and over – about 25 times. All I know is that my entire body convulsed each time I was zapped, I felt like my heart actually stopped every time, there was white in my vision with each shock, and I was certain that a hole had been burned through my pants at one point. My right buttock burned for at least an entire mile, if not more. I also know this: I will NEVER be a criminal. If a police officer even reaches for a tazsr, I will confess to anything. Yes. I murdered Jimmy Hoffa. Yes. I stole the queen’s jewels. Yes. I produced the movie Billy Madison. I will take responsibility for ANY crime – just don’t taze me – because they are even more voltage than what I crawled through.

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