Monday, October 24, 2011

Gettn' Muddy Wit It

       I'm so excited that I finally get to write up this post. Looking back at all of these photos makes me HAPPY. You may remember that here I mentioned that we had signed ourselves up for a team style obstacle adventure race in September. Don't think that the fact that I'm just now getting around to telling you all about it means that it wasn't awesome, because it was.  Stop reading this now, go to the Tough Mudder website and find out if there is one coming to your area. Then sign up immediately! It will be a day well spent, I promise.
       This is the first time the Tough Mudder has come the Tahoe area, and our course traversed up and down (but mainly up it seemed) Squaw and several other peaks. Our course was around twelve to thirteen miles, which was longer then we had originally expected it to be (the original course plan was for closer to ten to eleven miles). Leading up to the race, let's just say that I was a bit anxious about how the day would unfold, because our training was on the side of minimal to none. Jon had hardly run in the year before the race and I was only able to squeeze in a few runs, and not much else. I  had never not finished a race and didn't want to start now.
       Our team had nine members, but I should clarify that a bit. We started with nine (three couples and three singles), but the week prior to the race two of the singles decided to opt out. However, the bigger news was that just prior we also learned that two of the girls were pregnant (I am not one of case you're wondering)! So really, we had seven adults and two babies on board. 
(*** Please note that I did not race with a camera in hand. The other two mamas on our team did however, and that snapped lots of great pictures throughout the day. I also borrowed some from the official Tough Mudder website, for purposes of helping to tell the story.)
When we arrived to register it was about 7:00am, 
the sun was just coming up, 
and the air temperature was only about 37 degrees.
Despite the cold temps, 
were were looking and feeling good.
I'm not sure where she found the time or energy, 
but Danielle whipped together these Mama Mudder tanks,
for us ladies with babies at home and/or babies on board.
My brother Neal came up from the valley to race with us.
Warning: My tank and funky socks didn't last me too long. 
I had to strip them down after they became wet and baggy.
After getting our bibs and numbers on,
we headed to the starting line.
Waves started every twenty minutes beginning at 8:00am,
with the last one taking off around 11:40am. 
We were in one of the first waves, 
kicking off at 8:40, 
and it had heated up to a balmy 47 degrees by then.
The race started by heading uphill immediately. 
These two lovely ladies were with us at the starting line, 
but then grabbed themselves a hot drink,
and took the cable car up the mountain, 
so as to avoid the uphill 3 mile run/walk. 
They were saving all of their limited 1st Trimester energy 
for all the fun obstacles ahead.
We got wet right off the bat, 
having to crawl through 
mud water under some barbed wire
(no pictures of that to share).
Just before we reached the plateau of the mountain top,
we were greeted by these:
ice water bathes.
Hopping in was a shock to the system, 
but the drill sergeants standing overhead kept you moving.
The CRAZIEST part was that you had to 
submerge yourself under wood and barbed wire.
(You may notice that none of these people look familiar.
We were too cold and wet to be taking photos,
so these are borrowed from the website.)
Yes, it was cold.
Trucks kept the baths cold by replenishing 
them with ice throughout the morning. 
It was NO JOKE. 
After throwing my body out of the ice tub, 
I remember having ice IN my tennis shoes. 
But the fun had really just begun.
After making the three mile uphill climb from 6200' to 8200' 
we were wet but feeling good. 
Here we met up with our mama friends to tackle the next obstacle.
It was the first team obstacle that we faced and it was an exciting one.
It involved hurling yourself up and over a half pipe.

There were lots of strangers helping strangers
(I have no idea who that guy in the green is).
Here's Danielle
going for it,
baby and all.
After the wall
(you can see it below in the background, 
with lots of people waiting for their turn),
the plateau of the mountain offered a refreshing breather.
Soon, we came to the monkey bars. 
Monkey bars that were wet and for good measure, spun.
 Jonny made Mr. Muscles next to him look bad.

Danielle nailed it too,
as did all of the guys. 
Lindy gave it a valiant effort, 
and I realized that my puny arms were worthless 
(I can barely make it across a few monkey bars at the park),
so I took the pictures!

Next up was a surprise obstacle...
the rope climb.
It was like gym class all over again.
My brother Neal had no problem.
I got a little help from friends, 
but was still quite happy 
that my puny arms came through.
From there, 
there was lots of this. 
We were like ants marching all over that mountain.
And this.
And some of this.
After lots of sweating and panting, 
we made it here. 
It was easy peasy.
The views were almost worth the intense uphill trekking.
Then it was on to logs. 
Over-and-unders with barbed wire. 
If you haven't noticed, they put barbed wire
on just about everything on this course.

The next obstacle was probably a mile+ away,
and it was Hold your Wood. 
As in, pick up a piece of wood,
and trek down and then back up with it.
We chose some puny pieces.
You should have seen the muscle builder types carrying these things.
One guy had thighs the size of Jon's waist
(in Jon's words).
As we were making our way back down the mountain,
(and actually got to do some jogging)
we faced a great team obstacle:
12' Berlin Walls. 
These were a great test of teamwork.
And I NEVER would have made it over by myself.
Jon's height definitely gave him a nice advantage.
While at the walls, 
we got a glimpse of what was below us.
In my opinion, it was the CRAZIEST obstacle of the day.
That's a platform for jumping off of, 
and that's a very cold natural lake for plunging into.
This is what it looked like as we approached it.
Like al of the obstacles, the stream of people behind you made 
it hard to hesitate, and you just had to GO FOR IT.
The platforms were about 15' high,
and I'm not one for heights,
so before I had a chance to think
(and with a bit of quick coaxing from a Marine), 
I jumped. 
(Mama Lindy may or may not have done a flip into the lake, tutu and all.)
Plunging into that water was a SHOCK, 
and it certainly took your breath away, 
but what was next presented itself to be even more challenging.
We had to swim under a series of barrels, 
and between them of course, was barbed wire. 
It was cold, dark, and murky. 
If you came up too high, you'd catch yourself on the barbed wire. 
Which is what happened to Bubba.
He ripped his scalp open the day prior to us
(we don't know him, but we heard about it).
Surviving that obstacle was invigorating, 
and another really fun one was just around the corner.
The Boa Constrictor.
In invovled tunnels partially flooded
with cold muddy water, and barbed wire.
It was not an easy feat to pull yourself
through the rocky cramped space.
We decided that this was the perfect spot
for a mid-race team photo.
After that, 
there was LOTS of this. 
It seemed like endless miles of this really.
The terrain unfortunately made if hard to run for long stretches,
but we did our best and kept it moving.
We climbed peak after peak, 
and were oh-so-happy, 
around mile 10 or so, 
when we began to descend. 

There were a few obstacles waiting for us right at the finish line.
Some of us made it, 
some of us didn't.
I was so happy that I was able to stick it out 
(although I very nearly lost it several times),
and make it across and stay dry. 

Last but not least was 
Electroshock Therapy.
It's pretty much what it sounds like: electrically charged wires
that shocked you upon contact.
The buzzing zap that you heard as people were shocked,
was enough to make you mighty careful
Happily, I made it through unharmed
(FYI, the preggos of our group opted out of this one for safety reasons), 
but others weren't so lucky.
The next thing we saw was this.
And it was a beautiful sight to behold.
Of course, we needed an "after" photo to show that we had all survived.
The biggest team casualty of the day was this. 
Poor Nate, he chipped his front tooth, yards from the finish line
when he got shocked one too many times and bit down a tad too hard.
I'll never look at barbed wire the same way ever again.
Nolan looks so cute in our Mudder sweatband that
we thought about making him a Baby Mudder for Halloween,
but then we realized that very few people would understand it. 

Thank you to Danielle & Lindy for all of the amazing photos!
(And in case you're wondering, both pregnancies are on track 
despite everything the Mudder threw at them!)