Saturday, March 2, 2013

Miami Tough Mudder 2013

"You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
-Eleanor Roosevelt

55 degrees. For you Northerners, 55 degrees on March 2nd is reason for shorts and celebration. Contrast 55 with the temps at the start of last week's Spartan Race, roughly 80 degrees. Add to that a disheartening discussion among "adventure athletes" on facebook about the pointlessness of Tough Mudder's qualification times for the World's Toughest Mudder (my goal had been to qualify). Add to that my disappointment with last week's Spartan (details here). Add to that the fact that I was once again going alone... and I was ready to NOT do the Tough Mudder. 

Last week, I thoroughly avoided the Tough Mudder website, having previously watched videos, seen pictures and read up on the obstacles. I knew that any additional research would only psych me out. Frankly, I was terrified at the thought of the Arctic Enema, the Electric Eel, Electroshock Therapy and Walk the Plank. Pulling up in the parking lot, knowing I would face those obstacles, uncomfortably "cold" temps and a solo experience, I considered leaving the parking lot and driving the 75 minutes back home. Instead, I chugged some coffee, grabbed my bag and headed to the start.

The race took place at the Homestead Miami Speedway, which seemed strange to me. Because of that, I opted to wear my old running shoes, the same pair that did the GoRuck with me. My plan was to donate them after the race. I also wore a pair of long running tights and a long sleeve Under Armor type shirt.

Approaching the start line, we encountered our first obstacle-- an 8 foot wall. I was immediately impressed. Before the race even started they were messing with our minds and making us work. I was also happy to see that they played the National Anthem before turning us loose on the course. I knew the first obstacle would be the Arctic Enema, luckily I was running side by side with another lone female. We agreed to "not think, just jump," which is THE best strategy for all of the scary obstacles. Let me tell you. Nothing can prepare your for the shock of an ice bath that deep. And it was probably 6 feet deep, maybe more-- I just know that I thought I would be walking through. No such luck, I had to swim. It was difficult trying to fill my lungs with air to dunk under the board, but there was no other choice. I inhaled a little water. 

There were plenty of people available to help each other over the obstacles. Except, I'd like to offer a word of advice-- when boosting a fellow runner over a wall, it's more helpful to provide a step, either with your hands or body, than to grab their butt and try to shove them over. It seemed that many people weren't quite sure how to help each other over obstacles.

The Electric Eel wasn't too bad-- I slid through as quickly as possible. The shocks felt more like I was getting punched, rather than an actual electric shock. I was impressed with TM's use of the site-- we traveled up and down a real hill! Well, it was the outside of the steeply banked race track, but it was awesome. 

By mile 10 of the course, I was literally by myself. And it was just in time for the 12? foot walls. Yikes. My calves had already begun to let me know they were about done (why can't I figure this calf cramping thing out?!), so I was worried about getting over these on my own. The volunteer working was a woman, and I knew she wouldn't be able to offer me help.  At that point, I was pretty sure I was the 3rd female and the 4th female was just behind me. I had to get up and over those walls on my own, which I did. 

The last obstacle was Electroshock Therapy. About halfway through, I lost a shoe. Stupidly, I turned around and tried to retrieve it. After 2 extra shocks, I decided to abandon my shoe (duh.) and run though as quickly as possible. I finished in 2:02 and happily accepted my headband, t-shirt, cup of water, 1/2 a banana and a Builder's bar. I found the female who finished in front of me, and she confirmed that she was the 2nd woman to finish, which placed me 3rd. We got our bags together, took pictures and showered off before going our separate ways. 
Overall, this may have been my favorite event so far. Never before have I had to confront so many fears on one course and do so many things I desperately didn't want to do. Probably my proudest moment was nailing the monkey bars. I have never swum in/fallen into so many pits of water in a race. I slid/crawled/swam on my belly through a water filled tunnel (frightening!), lay on my back and pulled myself through a water filled trench with a chain link fence just inches above the water (which means not much breathing room!), and jumped 20? feet into a pit of water. 

Now, onto the CrossFit Games.

*Footnote: I can't believe I forgot one of my favorite parts of the event-- spectators on the course! It was so awesome to be out there on my own, running my own personal race, and have people there cheering me on. It was so uplifting! And I'm convinced they gave me the boost I needed to hang on and complete the monkey bars.

2 comments:

  1. Awesome Amy. Great commentary. Thank you and good luck with the CrossFit Games.

    ReplyDelete