Tough Mudder Part 5

We made it to the final chapter.  After Walk the Plank and The Underwater Tunnels, we pressed on.  Not going very far before encountering our next obstacle, the dreaded Boa Constrictor.



This was one of my least favorite obstacles for a few reasons.  I’m not particularly claustrophobic, and they offered tunnels towards the outside that were more elevated so you didn’t have to completely submerge if that is an issue for you, so that wasn’t the problem. The real problem with the Boa Constrictor is the gaugey scrapey factor.  The height of the tunnel prevented even a fairly petite person like me from comfortably crawling on my hands and knees, and even if I could have, that would probably have intensified the gaugey scrapey factor even more.  

So I ended up doing sort of a modified army crawl, and think I still have scars to this day from the sharp rocks that lined the tunnels. 

After the Boa Constrictor we had a fairly uneventful few miles where we ran into a second set of Berlin Walls, and another relatively easy obstacle called King of the Mountain:

And then, finally, when I had totally and completely given up hope, we started going downhill.


As glad as I was to be to be heading in the right directly, the downhill part was no walk in the park.  I think I saw more people get injured on the simple (albeit crazy steep) downhill than any other part of the event.  At the bottom we hit the final 3 obstacles:

A giant cargo net (think it may have been called the spider web or something like that, but I really don’t remember)


The one of my personal favorites: Twinkle Toes

This was one of the few obstacles I felt really good about.  I managed to complete it totally on my own balance skills alone.  And you may think this looks easy, but it is not like your average balance beam.  The boards sway quite alarmingly, and even as a person with pretty good balance, it took every ounce of effort to stay on the whole way across.  Here you can see the priceless reaction of one of my less fortunate teammates.  



And last but not least, everyone’s favorite: ElectroShock Therapy

I was a little disappointed in this one.  By the time we got around to it, many of the cables had been pulled down and it was pretty easy to navigate through without hitting one.  I actually wanted to get shocked (well, kind of anyway, lol) so I didn’t try to miss them, but I still managed to make it through without getting shocked.  

At this point, I was just very very glad to be finished. 




Well there you have it folks.  I know I left a lot out, believe it or not, even 5 parts was just enough to scratch the surface, so if you want to learn more, please post your comments below!  🙂





Tough Mudder Part 4

So we kept climbing, and climbing and climbing uphill.  And then, just when I thought we couldn’t possibly have any more to climb, guess what?  You guessed it, we climbed some more.  

Along the way we encountered some more fun obstacles, like Hold your wood:


Photo Credit


Photo Credit


This was actually a lot of fun, and it was especially cool to see groups carrying a big log together, like in the picture above or even more remarkably, a single person (and I saw both men and women doing this) carrying one of the huge logs solo.  It was totally crazy, but also really inspiring.  This was also when it started to get pretty hot on the course.  

Then we hit the Berlin Walls:

Hard to believe considering this was late September, but it was a nice sunny day, and with all of that hard work climbing to the summit, then carrying logs and then climbing the 12′ walls it was actually heating up a bit.  

So I was pretty excited to see the next obstacle come into view…


That’s right, Walk The Plank


This was an interesting obstacle.  As someone that is afraid of heights, I used my typical just jump fast, don’t think about it, and don’t look down approach that had served me well in the past.  This was both good and bad.  I managed to make the jump, but then I because I was not looking down, I was not prepared when I hit the water and it was FREAKING FREEZING!!!!  And I mean freezing.  

My body went into that shock response where its really hard to focus on anything, like how to swim, how to breath, you know, all of those things that are kind of important when you find yourself in the middle of a freezing cold body of water with no life jacket.  

Fortunately for me, this kind of thing had happened to me once before when I was whitewater rafting, fell out of the boat and almost died of hypothermia.  Although the guide had told me that if I fell out I should just point my feet downstream and float until I caught up to the boat, it didn’t work.  The boat was getting farther and farther away, and I was getting colder and colder.  So I ended up doggy paddling my way back to the boat because that was the only stroke I could remember with my impaired motor-skills. 

So off I went, heading for part two of this obstacle, the Underwater Tunnels.


This part was a little tricky, again I chose the don’t over-think it, just go approach, which was probably good because it seemed like a lot of people got stuck hanging onto the pontoons.  And I couldn’t really blame them, after ducking under the first one, it was very tempting to just give up and swim for shore asap.  But I gritted my teeth and made it through, and once ashore, we were treated to a water station with apples and bananas.  We felt AMAZING.  The cold water had acted like an ice bath for our poor fatigued muscles, and the water and fruit helped to give us that much needed second wind.  Which we would definitely need, considering there were still something like 4-5 miles to go.

To be continued yet again, but probably for the last time (at least I hope!)


Please comment with your own Tough Mudder stories or questions.  🙂

And after that…

Tough Mudder Part 3

Let’s see. now where were we?  Oh yes, just summited Everest and arrived at High Camp.  Leading up to the race the TM website had claimed that this particular TM would be approximately 10 miles in length, and would incorporate approximately 2000 feet of elevation gain.  In the last month leading up to the race, the length changed from 10, to 11 to finally 12 miles and after speaking with some of the Saturday participants who had worn GPS watches, we learned that the course was really closer to 13 miles.  13.2 to be exact, more than a Half Marathon!  In all that time the elevation numbers remained the same, 2000′.

So I figured sweet!  All of the uphill is out of the way, all downhill from here…

Boy was I wrong.

I wish I’d had my fitbit at the time, it would have been really cool to see how many steps this would have counted for!

So after Everest, we hit a whole bunch of obstacles back to back:

First came Funky Monkey


Now if you’re like me and you haven’t tried the monkey bars in a few decades, it was not just like riding a bike.  Not even close.  And even if the bars didn’t spin and weren’t slick with mud, I doubt I would have made it the whole way across.  It was really impressive to watch the people that did though.  And they made it look so easy too…Image

After the Funky Monkey came a rope climb, not sure what it was called, and it is no longer on the TM website…

But it basically entailed the gym activity we all remember of climbing the rope.  Fortunately team work came into play on this one too and if you had someone hold the bottom of the rope steady for you, the climb was a whole lot easier to complete.


This one was actually pretty fun, and allowed me to pretend I had some amazing upper body strength!  lol


Then we hit Log Jamming

This was definitely one of the tamer obstacles on the course, which was nice because, shortly after completing this obstacle, we started to climb again.  Imagine my surprise, considering by my calculations we had easily surpassed our 2000′ feet a few hundred feet ago.


To be continued yet again…


Have any great TM stories to share?  Post a comment below!  🙂

Tough Mudder Part 2

So we had finished the death march and soon after another obstacle came into view.  The Arctic Enema.  Now the Arctic Enema may not seem all that intimidating if you were to simply see someone else go through it, but it was actually one of the scariest obstacles for me.


The idea is pretty simple, it is a large construction dumpster with a wall half-way across that forces you to submerge completely and swim under it.  Nothing too crazy right?  And it wouldn’t have been if they hadn’t been dumping forklift loads full of ice into the other end.  So the icy water hit you immediately as you jumped in at the start, but that wasn’t so bad after the initial shock.  The scary part came as you approached and submerged to go under the wall.  I expected to just be submerged for a second or two and to pop up into open water on the other side.


When I went to try and re-surface however, I encountered resistance.  This was really scary because I didn’t want to push up really hard only to find a solid surface that could cause injury, or even maybe knock me unconscious.  So I went a little farther, in case it was still the wall I was encountering, but still there was the resistance when I tried to surface.  This was when it started to get really scary, not only was I running out of air, but that cold water was really starting to kick in, and I could feel my motor-skills getting sluggish.

So I decided just to push up hard and take my chances.  It turned out that the resistance I was hitting was about 6 inches of ice.  They had put so much ice into the other side of the dumpster that it was actually making a barrier, not just on the surface, but a mountain on the other end that would have been impossible to navigate without help from others.  Fortunately for me, there were people on the other end that were grabbing peoples arms and dragging them out.  If it weren’t for that assistance, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have made it out on my own.


Then once I was out, I ended up getting into a group hug with total strangers because we were all so cold we needed to share our body heat to warm back up again.  It was a pretty surreal experience, and definitely showcased the embodiment of teamwork.

That’s another thing that I love about this organization is the pledge that every Mudder must make prior to participating in a TM event:

This is part of what makes the Tough Mudder such an amazing event to participate in.  And it absolutely saved me in a few of the obstacles, most specifically on Everest, the next event after the Arctic Enema.

The idea behind Everest is:

The reality on race day was this:


A huge bottleneck had sprung up drastically changing the approach to this obstacle.  Instead of Mudders sprinting to and up the half pipe before grabbing onto their teammates, there was a huge mob at the bottom that prevented any kind of running approach.  Instead several human ladders formed.  We had our two tallest team members (6’3″ and 6’5″) and with one standing on the other’s shoulders I was able to climb up onto the second guy’s shoulders and just barely reach my teammates arms at the top.


From there most Mudders are able to pull themselves up using their amazing upper body strength, I however did not have any amazing upper body strength to rely on, so I took the approach of swinging one of my legs up where another team member was able to grab it.  Without the help of my teammates at the bottom and the top, this obstacle would have been completely impossible for all but the most agile and athletic Mudders to complete, but instead, it fostered an incredible sense of community and camaraderie.



This is the obstacle that still resonates most clearly to me today, almost 3 years later.


To be continued again…


What are your thoughts on these obstacles?  Post a comment!  🙂