Last year I added to my wacky race menagerie when I ran the Tough Mudder. I had a lot of fun doing it and wondered if I should do it again. I decided if a couple of people would register with me I'd be down. (Last year I went solo.) So when my younger sister Amy signed up there was no way I could back down! I had quite a few prospects to add to our burgeoning team, but this is the kind of race where there is often more talk than action. Still, I thought a couple of them were serious. My buddy Shannon was one of those and she was ready to register until she found out it conflicted with a previously scheduled trip. Finally, when I mentioned it to my coworker Sara, she and her husband signed up within the hour. A team was born!
My sister flew out a few days beforehand to hang out in lovely San Diego. Unfortunately the weather was about as cold as it gets here during her visit. But compared to the snow she left behind I guess 60 degrees and cloudy is ok. We did get a chance to shop for costumes and dropped a pretty penny on these beauties.
pristine at the start
but muddy later
Sadly a couple of weeks before the race, Sara injured her knee. It turned out to be a sprained ACL and she was a no-go. I can't tell you how bummed she was, she must have been crying herself to sleep given the woe she expressed at work. And to think all along I thought it would be her husband, Adam who was questionable. (He was recovering from a back issue.) But in the end it was Adam who was able to run.
Sara was going to attend as a spectator but she decided against it the day of. That was a wise choice considering how chilly the weather was. The problem was I have never met Adam and was unable to locate him before the race. Turns out he started in the heat after us so we were probably just a few minutes apart the whole time. So sad but I am told he had a great time.
Once again a team of two, Amy and I were doing great. That is we were until we reached an obstacle called Just the Tip at mile five. I made it all the way to the end but fell on the stairs and bruised my heel bone. It stung pretty good and I was limping for a few minutes. With six miles to go I was afraid I was done for the day. But after a bit of walking everything loosened up. Phew.
falling into the water wouldn't have been a problem. But I fell on the stairs where the guy is climbing out
Then lightning struck twice while I was climbing over the second set of 8-foot "Berlin Walls." As I slithered over the top, I felt an uncomfortable sensation as one rib slid across the top of the wall. Later I learned it had been broken.
about one second away from breaking my rib as I scraped over the top of this wall
i was like a monkey even with a broken rib
The course at Vail Lake is very hilly. Tough on the hamstrings but nice for the views.
just climbed up from the parking area, one of several hills on the course
lots of hill climbing
at the top of yet another hill
I skipped more obstacles this year compared with last because of that rib. I avoided all crawling obstacles after that injury for obvious reasons. Jogging only caused mild soreness in the rib and heel so I was able to finish. After all, I'm a tough mudder.
this was a lot tougher than I thought it would be, very slippery!
Amy crawls through the boa constrictor, I had to skip this one
But I also conquered quite a few of them. The one I'm most proud of is Funky Monkey. It's a jungle gym style obstacle over water. Last year I only made it about 5 rungs before I went down. This year I made it all the way across the 20-or-so rungs. This even though I had to wait in the middle for a guy to clear out below me. I guess that p90X is paying off!
all the way across
a little mud, a little barbed wire
Last year I ran the race with a strained muscle (strained prior to the race). This time I went in healthy but got pretty beat up. Is it still fun? No question about it. This is almost my favorite race of all the ones I do. It sounds kind of horrifying if you've never done it but it's actually not so hard. Certainly not as hard as the 1/2 Ironman I did last year. Probably not as hard as a century ride or marathon even. (Don't tell the organizers I said that!)
The camaraderie at Tough Mudder is about as good as it gets. The first year I did it solo and chatted with lots of folks. Some of whom I still say hello to now and then on Facebook.
that last smooth bit was impossible without help
There are several cultural artifacts around the tough mudder experience. One of which is the post-race beer. I actually drank 1/3 of it before I gave up. That's pretty good for me, usually I can only take 1/4 of a beer. Yuck! I think I've finished a beer twice in my life, both times with the hash house harriers where it's pretty much culturally mandated.
I drank a full 1/3 of this beer
With the race complete, it was time for a late lunch at Phil's! It's an endurance race tradition now. Phil's was my only full meal so I realized I had a calorie deficit for the day. I'm pretty sure that's the first time I could say that on a day that included Phil's BBQ.
Hope you enjoyed the recap, I have several more pics and a great video from TIME magazine.
let the mud fly!
my favorite costumes of the day
that's me hitting the water
Amy says, "I've got this"
Amy says, "never mind"
they don't call it "tough sparklin clean"
Amy says, you think you're dirty!