Last year my attempt to run the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Tough Mudder was a disaster. Bad logistics combined with a terrible storm meant I didn’t get out of my car for about 10 hours. However, the good people at Tough Mudder issued transfers, so my team registered for the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Tough Mudder. And I’m glad to say it went much better.
Having learned our lesson from last year, we drove in on Friday and got a hotel for the night (thankfully, the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Tough Mudder was in a different location). We all got in, got settled, had dinner, and tried to sleep. In the morning, we woke up early, drove to the lot, and took the shuttle over to the race site. We were in wave three (8:40am), and we were excited, but a little nervous. We had seen the videos and read the blogs, but we didn’t really know what to expect, other than mud, water, ice, fire, and electricity.
Here’s the first Mud Mile. It was early in the race, and it was messy and fun. You saw everyone regressing to childhood, just playing in the mud and having fun. Thankfully, the fiance of one of my teammates came as a spectator, and he took photos of us during the race (Thanks, Ben!).
Here’s a photo from about halfway through the course. At least we’re still smiling. And, as you can tell, no matter what you showed up wearing, it looked like you were wearing cammo by the end of the race.
Here I am running up Everest–a giant quarter-pipe and one of Tough Mudder’s more well-known obstacles. I’ll be honest, I fell back down on my first attempt, but on my second attempt, I was able to get pulled up and over. And if you’re wondering, that plastic around my waist was a sort of thermal blanket. More about the coldness later.
And here’s the Electroshock obstacle. If you look carefully, you can see me getting zapped (one of two times). Not the most pleasant thing, but it was a mad dash to the finish line. In case you’re wondering, the zap feels something like a bee sting and something like an open palm punch. Bad, but not terrible.
And here is half our team at the finish line. You clear the finish quickly, and you’re given a headband and a beer. Things were a little crazy back there. And did I mention the cold? Temperatures were in the 40s, but the wind was blowing at over 20mph, gusting in the 30s. So the windchill was around the 20s. When you combine that with water, you start to get the beginnings of hypothermia. That leads to shaking and confusion. When they asked if I wanted Amber or Lager Dos Equis, I said, “Um, the lighter one?” When I was standing around a heater trying to warm up after the race, so people were shivering so hard that they spilled half their beer.
My team had a great time. We all had our bumps and bruises, and a few of us got bloodied, but we made it through. That’s really the key to running a Tough Mudder: have a team and help each other. Make sure everyone finishes, even if that means skipping obstacles.
And that’s the other key: know your limits. When the cold sets in, people make mistakes. And when people make mistakes, people get hurt. Unfortunately, there were 10-15 injuries on Saturday alone. Even worse, there was also also a death. Running a Tough Mudder can be fun, if you take your time and do it smartly.
And if you want a look at all the obstacles, check out this video. This guy was in our wave (or close to it). I saw him throughout the day. It will give you a better sense of running the race. Of course, the best way to experience it is to run it yourself.
If you want to know more about the race or any specific obstacles, let me know. I’m happy to answer your questions.