Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tough Mudder Utah, event report, part 4 – retrospective and lessons learned

**Unlike every marathon that I’ve ever done, I didn’t cross the finish line and immediately start thinking about the next race. Balls and Eel will make me really think long and hard about whether or not I will do this again.

**Obviously, if I had been 35 pounds lighter – as was my original plan back in January – this would have been easier on me and on my teammates. IF I ever do this again, I will only do it if I’m at my goal weight.

**Did you notice how there were 23 obstacles, and not 20 or 21? Originally, it was a 10 mile course with 20 obstacles. By the time we were done, it was 12 miles and 23 obstacles. So, if I ever do it again, I will train for what is listed on the internet and then some.
Most of the dirt came out of my shirt! Yay!

**I need to do more upper body work. I truly am proud of where I am based on where I came from. I am considerably stronger than I’ve ever been before. I only regret not starting this type of weight work when I was younger. More is necessary.

**Clothing: Tights – yes – a very good idea. My knees and legs are quite bruised. If I hadn’t been wearing tights, I would have also been scraped and cut. I am glad that I duck-taped them to be tight near my shoes. Shirt – a short-sleeved shirt was fine, but my elbows are a bit scuffed. A long-sleeved shirt would have been OK but only if the sleeves were tight fitting. Loose sleeves would have been a real pain in the butt. Gloves – yes – for sure. Although they were wet, they actually kept my hands warm. I took them off at the Funky Monkey and tucked them in the waist of my pants. Unfortunately, I lost them at Walk the Plank. I’m happy that I only spent $3 on them; I didn’t feel too bad about losing them. Glasses/Contacts – I went sightless. No way was I going to worry with my glasses, and I didn’t want to get dirt in my contacts. I chose to go without anything. I’m not so blind that I couldn’t do this. I can see far enough ahead of myself to know if I’m going to fall down or trip over something. I’m glad that I did it this way. Shoes – I used a pair that was ready for the trash. I didn’t want to ruin something new. This was probably a good idea, but some traction might have been a good idea for a couple of obstacles like Just the Tip. Socks – I chose an unmatched pair and trashed them at the end of the day. I didn’t feel badly about this at all.
My ears were so dirty! This is after two baths.

**Difficulty: This was one of the toughest races I’ve ever done. I still think that Mid-Mountain Marathon was harder, but not by much and only because the distance was double what I did for this event. Mentally, it was just as hard as anything I’ve ever done. The fear I felt on Balls to the Wall was like nothing I can remember. The intensity of the obstacles was incredible. The organizers really know what they are doing. Like I said before, I couldn’t have done this on my own.

**Bodily injury: While I’m only bruised and scratched (thanks to my teammates), there were others there with bloody lips and cut arms. In a 20-minute period where MW’s wife and kids were walking from the parking lot to the event, they saw two ambulances head to the hospital. We also saw several 4-wheeler EMS vehicles tearing around the grounds with their sirens on and their lights flashing. This is a hard event, and has the potential for serious injury. I honestly worried about my own safety on Balls.
Look at my poor left knee that I kept whacking against the Berlin Walls.
This is a side view of my knees. You can see how swollen the left knee is.
This is a picture of my left leg two days after the event. It's even blacker now. The other leg is not quite as bad. My triceps are both bruised, too.

**Having great teammates is essential. If you’re going to do this with a group, you’ve got to go into it knowing that you’ll all work together and not get upset with each other. If you’re going to run it with family or friends that you easily argue with then don’t do this event; choose something else. If you do it by yourself, expect to ask for help, expect to receive help, expect to make friends – even for just a few moments.

**I need to do some rock-climbing type of work so that I can learn how to re-leverage my body.

**I need to try every obstacle. Even if I fail, I need to try. Then, I won’t have regrets.

**It was crazy. Crazy fun. Crazy hard. Crazy awful. Crazy awesome. All at the same time.

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