TOUGH MUDDER RECAP!!!!
First off this was my first and hopefully only ever DID NOT FINISH.
At 9 Kilometers in, my knee was crunching with every step and no longer bending at all. I had to stop at the half Mudder distance, there was still 9 KM to go and the first KM was all uphill I couldn't do it. BUT the officials of the Mudder still count it as a WIN/COMPLETE because stopping due to injury is 'legitimately badass'.
But more interestingly, let me tell you about what I DID manage to do:
Friday Sept 9th: a shitton of driving. Seriously. Driving to the event is a 6 hour trip one way. And a good solid chunk of it is traffic near Toronto. Oh Toronto, why is it that you all drive like you’re the most important person on the road?
So much driving.
But the Best Western we stayed at was nice, and a decent price and short drive to our Mudder so WIN-WIN.
We ate at Kelsey’s as it was next door to the hotel, and I was happy with fajitas for dinner. Also, seriously REDONK portions of food there. I could not eat all the toppings/veggies they gave me though I felt they were a little cheap on the actual meat. Meh. Still a totally legit dinner.
Saturday Sep 10th: 5:58 my brother’s phone goes off and I want to murder him. Try to sleep a bit more, get up at 7:00 am. Start getting ready and go eat. I did not end up with a compression sleeve; instead the best I could do was get a tensor bandage and wrap my knee with it. Surprisingly enough this tensor bandage MADE IT THROUGH THE WHOLE THING. I am impressed.
We drive the 20 min to the event and park (I always get preferred parking because it’s worth the $30 I shit you not). And then go sign in. Super easy process but to be honest I was in a shitty mood already. 1- my husband was being a grumpy asshole and I was snapping back at him for it. My poor brother. 2-nerves that I was doing my best to ignore 3-the next person who stops RIGHT in front of me/cuts me off/walks into me because they can’t be bothered to LOOK I was going to SHOVE.
We survive the sign in process.
At this point we are as taped, wrapped, sunscreened, and present as we are ever going to be, and we already peed too. 9:20 my brother and I join the queue for the warm up section, and lo and behold technical difficulties make the MC lose his mic off and on, but it was still riveting to watch. We did warm ups (jumping jack, butt kicks, high knees, squats, fast feet etc) but sweet lord they hurt the knee. So I did modifiers [good sign NOT].
After warm up I see the hubby snapping pics as we make our way to the start line. There we do the Tough Mudder Pledge:
And we’re off. My hubby has video and pics and eventually I want to share those, so I will.
Suffice to say that immediately limping makes for a sorry start, but it beats the pants off of a Did Not Start.
The course map I have is in fact NOT the exact course I ran, not sure why but there are a few THINGS OFF*
Still, after a fun little meander uphill and down, around a few trees and parallel to the road, we come across the first obstacle:
Get to the top of an angled, 9 foot high wall and get over it. I helped get my brother and a few people over it, but when I tried myself, my knee wouldn’t do it. It wasn’t hurting too much yet, but the bend to climb wasn’t happening. I am annoyed but pragmatic and move on.
The Kiss of Mud
Crawl through mud and water, over a hay bale, all while crawling UNDER barbed wire. Lots of fun, and even with the crawling aspect I was fine with this obstacle. I just dragged my right leg as useless and scuttled with my arms and left knee. I am surprisingly FAST as scuttling through these things according to the volunteer watching this obstacle. Go me.
My brother…. Not so fast. Even with goggles on to keep his eyes mud free he was going unexpectedly slowly.
More uphill. F*ck you uphill… No I take that back, uphill hurts but downhill F*CKING SUCKS! Wow, trying to do full extension bodyweight resistance on a knee that was twisted less than a week ago downhill on uneven ground does not feel like kisses from kittens.
I make it to Obstacle Three.
Pick up a ‘wounded teammate’ and carry them. My brother piggy backed me as much as he could (because I am heavy, and because my knee just LOVED being held onto) but I know better than to try and carry someone else’s weight ontop of my own, on uneven ground, with a knee that is already not tracking well. Again I am annoyed but pragmatic about it. (at least until my brother almost walked us off the trail and into a creek because for some reason he had left his goggles on and COULDN’T SEE)
On the course map the next obstacle is listed as Mine Shafted. That is not what we got. Instead we got Boa Constrictor:
Crawl into an downwards angled PVC pipe, end off in water and crawling UNDER barbed wire, crawl into upwards angled pipe and climb out.
Once again not an issue for me, I just dragged my bad leg and tripod shuffled my way up the pipe. My brother was faster through this one but not by any means FAST. Which at this point is making me suspicious as my brother is fairly fit. He’s a runner. But now I am realizing that he did NOTHING but running to get ready for this. No strength training whatsoever. Oh goodie.
And by Andraste’s Flaming Nipple Tassles by this point the uphill climb SUCKS.
Also, as a side note: I passed by someone on the side suffering calf cramps. This guy was FIT, and he was still not doing well. I poured some water, a gel pack, and some TUMS into him and hobbled my way onwards. From this point on he and I would leap frog each other from obstacle to injury to arduous uphill hobble. It was kind of heartening to see someone who HAD trained properly for this get laid low because he underestimated the bodily toil, not because I want to see someone suffer (lies I am sadistic), but because even though I am going slowly I have not yet underestimated the course nor overestimated my abilities and it feels good to know that I have gauged it right so far.
Ladder to Hell:
I love climbing things, and if I stick to one of the places where the angles are, it’s super easy and fast even with a bum knee. I was up and over that thing in SECONDS, and helping people. My brother is afraid of heights, so I do not rush him here EVER. Instead I stand behind where he is climbing and help direct his feet so he doesn’t have to look down. My knee did not love this, but I could compensate with my left side, and surprisingly my upper body strength (though I still cannot do a pull up or chin up)
The map is wrong again because there was not Devil’s Beard obstacle but instead there was some GNARLY uphill jaunts.
Then the Berlin Walls:
Two nine foot walls back to back. I helped my brother over them, and several others, but I walked around myself because I knew better than to try with my, by this time a little crunchy, knee. I did however have an absolutely WONDERFUL gentleman call me Love and offer to help me over the wall and I wish I could hug him for being awesome. I am not tiny, he was not hesitating.
Gimp on Gimp on.
The next obstacle we see the CROWD long before the item itself. It’s a new one, I’ve never done it before. The Blockness Monster. It is also, currently, broken.
Basically it’s a mandatory teamwork obstacle. Some people grab and hold on while others push or pull the block to spin it. There were two, one had ripped right off it’s mounting. So with the massive crowd still waiting in front of us, my brother and I SKIPPED it.
Instead we head to an obstacle not listed on the map and on on the course the map lays out:
Go through a pond, sounds easy enough. HAHAHA. It’s all sticky, sucking, goopey mud. And it’s at random heights. And there are people in front, beside, and behind you, all flailing about. And to EVERYONE’S vast amusement, I crawled/swam my way through it. I do not care about slimey, sticky mud so getting handfuls of it was no issue. As opposed to the pic above, our location also had WATER on top of the mud so there was no simple crawl, 99% tried to walk it. Moral of the story here is ego be damned, crawl like the worm you are But in all seriousness, I am glad I was able to crawl because this could have been REALLY BAD for my already twisted and having trouble knee.
My favourite obstacle was next: Mud Mile, and injury or not I was NOT skipping it.
There are 4-5 of these mud hills, each one preceded by a trench of water and mud. I love this obstacle because it’s my area of expertise. I am a wonderful base to help power people up and over, and I love scrambling my way up and over. But oh my lord and lady the pain. Rocks in the mud scraping was completely overlooked thanks to the grinding crunchiness that was my knee during this obstacle. But there was this one lady, tiny little thing my mom’s age, and she LAUNCHED me over one of the hills. I’m 215 lbs (when I weighed myself 2 months ago) and she was amazing. Every time we saw each other after that we blew kisses at each other it was great.
We continued, somewhat down hill, towards the next obstacle and find another crowd. Here the holdup was not due to anything being broken. People were just struggling to get through it.
Crawl under troughs of water filled plastic. Only we didn’t get the ease of the image, we had to go under 4 ones perpendicular to us, so imagine something pushing your head down, weighing heavily across your hips and then something laying on your feet. It is VERY claustrophobic. I have a trick that works very well: I go one shoulder forward and scoot on my hip. That way my hands can always help move my body around and I beetle my way through fairly unfazed. My brother struggled with it more but he got through it.
At this point the map varies WILDLY from what we actually ran. We did uphill, across hill, down hill, on a diagonal etc…. but there was no Killa Gorilla obstacle (it’s a steep mud cliff to climb up and over). Instead an ENDLESS jaunt up and down hill and I am in so much pain it is stupid.
Run up a half pipe and get over the CURVED lip at the top.
I was not up for trying this one. 1- I could not run EVEN if I wanted to 2- the crowds waiting for it was HUGE 3- My brother also did not want to try it, as every year before he tried and failed and couldn’t be bothered to try again (I will HOUND his ass on this next year when I am up for it, trust me)
All throughout this so far, my hubby would pop in at random spectator locations and take pictures or wave at us, despite the random down pouring of rain. He was here for this one particularly to try and talk me OUT of attempting it. Thankfully I had already acted like I know what self preservation is, and just limped my way past it. But it started to POUR again so my husband took off to the truck to hide in.
Across the mountain we go again. Up, down, diagonal, damn near sheer cliff face, slippery rain slicked mud, slippery rain soaked grass. We get to the next new obstacle:
Again, it’s an obstacle I cannot attempt. My knee by this point is swollen so much my tensor bandage is HURTING, it is constantly crunching, and so stiff I can almost not bend it at all anymore. The rest of me feels great though. I let my brother attempt it, and I just go to the back and help talk him down the ladder.
We hobble on and at the half Mudder cut off (there is a Half Mudder and a Tough Mudder; I was supposed to do the full Tough) I admit to my brother that I cannot keep going. Energy wise I am fine. Cardio and strength are actually, SURPRISINGLY holding up. My knee however, is not. And I am in enough pain that I want to cry.
So I send my brother off and limp to the end of the Half distance, 9.8 kilometers. Though I still try the last Legionnaires obstacle:
Frequent Flyer’s Club
Basically climb up, jump off and try to hit the colour of your run. I would have been jumping for yellow. But I couldn’t get up there. I wanted to. I tried. But my knee would NOT bend enough for me to climb up on my own, and no one was around to help. I was inbetween heats. Ugh.
Instead I limped to the car, grabbed my husband and ended my 2016 Tough Mudder event.
So now I am sitting half disappointed, half proud.
Proud: I did it despite depression and injury
Disappointed: I didn’t actually do all of it and I missed out on obstacles I love.
Proud: I took care of myself instead of just getting more seriously injured
Disappointed: I didn’t do obstacles I know I can do, and generally enjoy doing
Proud: that my brother managed to go on and finish on his own (my brother gets lost in a room with no doors, and lands on the autism spectrum ever so slightly)
Disappointed: that without me to push him he went SLOWER (seriously, I was already going to slow why did he slow down even more??) and skipped obstacles that he knows he can do but doesn’t necessarily like.
Next year my husband says he’ll run it with us again though, so it looks like I get the chance to make amends.