My body feels like it got hit by a cement truck. Twice. The truck backed up and made sure that it got the other side too.
I did a Tough Mudder in Tahoe this past weekend. 10+ miles, 20+ obstacles, and a lot of blood, sweat, and
tears whining (only after Mile 9, ok maybe mile 7). It was definitely one of the most mentally and physically challenging things I’ve ever done.
Here’s an idea of some of the obstacles and the amount of mud I’ll find myself washing out of my nose, ears, clothes, and shoes for the next couple of days.
The boyfriend was doing it with a team of co-workers and significant others were invited as well, so there were 15 of us. Everything they say about camaraderie and teamwork is true. It was a great bonding experience over the weekend with the team. Even on the course, total strangers will help you over obstacles and lend a hand to help you scale walls. The whole thing took about 6 hours from start to finish, as it was mostly walking and then some waiting to get through the obstacles, but the day was long from parking to shuttles to base, bag drops, check-in, and finally to the starting line.
I did things I didn’t realize that my body was capable of doing. It was downhill from the start, which everyone was enjoying, and then that took a quick turn (U-turn, in fact) and went straight up the side of the mountain face. Climbing up NorthStar Tahoe black-diamond ski trails are no joke. After mile 2, I honestly was ready to call it a day. I had to stop a few times to slow my heart-rate down on that first hill due to the elevation, heat, and altitude. The first few obstacles and the next few miles were doable. By mile 7, I couldn’t feel my legs anymore. I skipped the Berlin Walls at mile 8 because I was physically and mentally done for and needed the rest of my juice to even make it across the finish line. (For the record, it was the only obstacle I skipped.) At mile 9, most of the obstacles came into view, and at this point, I mentally rallied and just mechanically climbed ropes and ladders and scaled walls and dunked myself into ice-cold mud tubs without stopping to think. It was a mental game at that point, and I knew if I could just get my head over these things, then my body had to follow, even though I really couldn’t feel my limbs.
The electroshock therapy – live electric dangling wires over a mud pit – at the end, right before the finish line, is supposed to serve as the final mental barrier. After everything, the last thing you want is to get electrocuted and then hit the mud for the last time like a sack of flour. They do give you the option to bypass it or just do it. But I did it. I got zapped, but managed to stay on my feet (with the help of a curse word or two), and ran through the rest of it to be crowned by a Tough Mudder headband at the finish line.
I also like to highlight that if you don’t fight as a couple during something like this, especially when you’re both hungry, physically exhausted, and mentally strained, you’ll definitely come out stronger. With him being only positive, supportive, and encouraging at mile 7, 8, 9, 10 and he’s just as exhausted as you are, (even though you may hate him for putting you on that mountain, covered in 7 layers of mud and dirt with tired feet and an empty stomach) you realize that he’s going to be there for everything else. There’s a sense of euphoria knowing that if you can get through this, then you’re going to be able to get through anything else together as a team.
Tips for future Mudders:
- Wear fingerless gloves. They make you more fearless. Better grip for climbing too.
- Eat more in the AM. I was starving by mile 8, and they only had bananas and a couple of electrolyte gummies (but they were the best gummies I have EVER had – I may have been super dehydrated and starving though – but seriously, THE BEST) for the whole route.
- Wear lots of sunscreen. I have the funkiest tan lines right now. And my shoulders are so burned.
- Wear and bring chapstick. My lips were neglected, and I totally regret it.
- Bring body lotion for after you cold-water blast off the dirt and mud at the end. After the 16 layers of mud dry on your skin, it’s very unforgiving.
- Drink LOTS OF WATER before, after, and during. You may have to pee a lot but there are restrooms every 2 miles, and if you’re a dude, then the trees are your friends. I feel like I can never be fully hydrated again.
- I wore my Vibrams, and they were great for the mud and climbing, and even up and down the mountain sides. However, there were a lot of rocks on the trails, and those were painful. But I don’t know if I could wear socks through the mud pits. And there were a lot of sad-looking abandoned pairs of muddy shoes at the end of the day.
Now, the million-dollar question: Would I do it again?
At this point, while it still hurts to just brush my teeth and I’m still discovering new bruises every day, I’m leaning towards a no. But ask me again in a month or so, and maybe I’ll say yes with all my new muscles.