2014 Virginia Tough Mudder Summary

Well, I’m back from vacation and my posting hiatus. I figured a summary of my Tough Mudder might be more interesting than a summary of my time on the beach.

To begin with, I ran the 2014 Virginia Tough Mudder, and for those who are interested, here is a course map.

If you remember my experience with the my 2013 Tough Mudder, this year’s race was a much different experience. The 2014 Virginia TM was on a much flatter, shorter course. And more importantly, the weather in Virginia in June is much warmer than the weather in West Virginia in April. So no mild hypothermia. Yay! I will only run future Tough Mudders in warm months. The fact that the course was shorter and flatter was just icing on the cake.

And with warmer weather, my fingers aren’t frozen into claws. I could still move them and grip things, so I was able to complete a couple of obstacles that I didn’t even try last time–like Funky Monkey (think monkey bars that are shaped like a roof, going up and down instead of just straight across). I also got to try some new obstacles, like the unfortunately-named “Pole Dancer” (think parallel bars that follow a similar triangular pattern) and the Legionnaire’s Loop. This was a series of extra obstacles for repeat runners that, sadly, was a bit of a disappointment.

Prior to the race, the folks at Tough Mudder had really hyped the Loop, but the real thing didn’t live up to expectations. It was pretty much a hike through a muddy trail. I expected something big at the end–namely, a waterslide with fire at the end that featured prominently in the advance e-mails–but there wasn’t really anything fun or big. Actually, there was no fire at all. Maybe there was a burn ban or something. The loop was just “meh.”

But the Loop is a relatively new thing, so maybe it’ll get better over time. I mean, Tough Mudder has shown an ability to adapt and improve. For example, after last year’s tragedy, the Walk the Plank obstacle was revised to make it much safer. So we’ll see what happens next year.

All in all, it was a much better time, even if I did get a bit more banged up than last year. My legs have some great scabs, and both hands were bloody by the time it was over. And I got zapped far more than last year during the final obstacle. So, spending a week on the beach relaxing and healing was just what the doctor ordered. See you in 2015, Tough Mudder!

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