“Smart people have plans, Stupid people have stories.”
This weekend is for sure one of the stupidest things I have ever done, but it is also is the one weekend where I learned the most about who I truly am. I now know I am tough, an athlete, a teammate, a strong believer in god, someone who looks fear in the face and laughs; and of course a little crazy. This weekend has taught me more about myself than I would have even hoped for. Here is my crazy Tough Mudder recap!
I had no clue what I was getting into when I signed up for the Phoenix Tough Mudder. This race was NO JOKE. This race pushed me physically, mentally and spiritually. I have pushed myself physically before in races but this was a different kind of physical.
Date: Jan 14, 2012
Weather: 35 degrees
Location: Mesa, Arizona
I have never had to get to the start line by climbing over an 8 foot wall. That was just a bonus obstacle for tough mudder and one that started my blood pumping. This start line was one like no other. Sure I get nervous before races and I have excitement, but this race I was feeling scared, anxious and mostly proud that I had the honor to stand next to so many amazing athletes.
The tough mudder announcer had an amazing speech. He really made my heart start pumping, gave me some serious chills and even made me cry a little. He told us that we were basically stupid for being there, but bad ass for taking the challenge. He told us why we were all there and what the race was all about. The wounded warriors, he even told stories about those warriors completing this race. Some with no legs, eyes or arms. Amazing! He reminded us that we are all teammates and to leave no one behind. That truly is what Tough Mudder is all about because without others you could never finish this course.
There was a lot of running 12.5 to be exact but the running was not at all the hard part. Every obstacle challenged you in some way or another. I gained about 10 pounds within the first 15 minutes of the race. The mud was so heavy and thick, it didn’t matter how you tried to get it off, it was staying there.
The second obstacle is one I will NEVER forget, one that scares me now and one that literally took my breath away. Artic Enema is the name. You basically jump into an ice cold bath and have to swim under a board to make it to the other side. Some mudders couldn’t take the challenge and had to get out halfway. While others took the challenge head on. You could hear how cold the water was by the words coming out of mudders mouths. *DISCLAIMER this is not an event for children. No mudders mouths were clean that is for sure!
I completely couldn’t breathe when my body submerged into the water. I couldn’t believe how cold the water actually was. Now I know why people die when they fall into cold water. You lose your mind basically and all sense of direction. My whole body was numb; it took about 20-30 minutes to start getting feeling back in my fingers and toes. Crazy obstacle and probably one of the hardest one’s there.
Passion! This race clearly had it and you had to have the determination to continue. We jumped across bails of hay, had to jump over 12 foot walls and continued to have to take mud baths over and over again. Amazing, Challenging, Awesome!
Boa Constritor was a series of pipes filled with water and mud. This obstacle made me nervous and made me panic a little. The pipes were so small, but I laughed at my fear and continued on. All I could think about was Andy Deframe! If he made it out in a sewage pipe, I could certainly make it in a mud one.
Twinkle toes was a very narrow, long bridge. If you didn’t make it across you were in another bath of ice cold water. The middle was the hardest because the bridge had some give, giving your balance and concentration a challenge. I made it a crossed in one piece, thanks to my yoga skills. Log mile or as Tough Mudder would call it "hold your wood" seemed to be an easy obstacle. But after a while that log didn’t feel so light and that mile felt forever. Luckily, Corinne and I got a small piece but it still didn’t feel so small at the end.
More walls and mud baths were in between the log jammer. This looked easy but really got my heart pumping. You had to climb over and under a series of logs. Some of the logs had barbwire on them to give you another challenge. The logs continued for what felt like a half a mile. I was happy when this obstacle was over; it was not easy on my knees.
Next up walk the plank. I have jumped off things before but I have always had a life vest on me. I love life vest! I really had to talk myself into jumping off the 15 foot plank. I stood there what felt like 10 minutes before I made myself do it. Thanks to the crowd that started to cheer really loud for me. I believe if it weren’t for them I probably would have chickened out. What shocked me the most was the water. My body was numb again and the water was deeper than I expected. After a few strokes up, I was still underwater and I started to panic a little. You can’t see in the water because it was muddy from all the mud baths we had to take. I was glad this challenge was over and happy I completed it.
Now we are about 10 miles in and we are starting to get hungry, tired and are cold. I was worried because we have only completed 20 obstacles. I knew I had to dig deep if I was going to get 2.5 miles out of me, while attempting 8 more obstacles.
The next challenging obstacle was shocks on the rocks. Let me tell you! When they say you get shocked they are NOT joking. I didn’t think coming into this that it would really happen but it did and it hurt like hell. Shock on the rocks was a radioactive water pit that meets kiss the mud. You had to basically army crawl under live wires in a bath of cold water. I stayed low but I think my big butt must have been high enough to hit the wires. Shock, Shock, Shock… 10 times. I used every cuss word I could, while the crowd laughed and pointed while my body trembled. No lie this obstacle was the one I hated the most.
After that obstacle, I was ready to be done. But I knew I had to defeat that damn mount Everest, monkey bars and another amazing shock therapy maze. So I started to talk to god. This is when I started to think I have nothing left and I am not sure I would get my free beer or my headband. Just talking to god and praying to him helped me continue on. This is what I mean when it spiritually challenged me. I have never talked to god this much during endurance races, I could almost feel his presence.
Cliffhanger was a giant hill of mud that you had to climb up. Slippery as hell! You had to rely on other hands and bodies to get you to the top. Tough Mudder magic is what I call it!
Next, the obstacle many talk about and the obstacle that many do not complete. Mount Everest is a skater pipe that is greased, muddy as hell and hard to accomplish. I had feared and talked about this obstacle the whole race. I almost didn’t even attempt it because I was so tired and didn’t think I had the amount of energy needed to get to the top. You really have to rely on other mudders for this one and have to take a leap of faith to even get to their hands. I failed twice. It hurt like hell sliding down the mudder man made pipe. I started to bleed and burn all over. I told myself that is enough give up. I looked to Chris Crabtree (our number one fan) and asked how close was I? He said, so close just give it all you got. So I told myself, one more time!
I had a long talk with god and basically asked him to give me a few more inches. I took off in a made dash and took my last leap of faith. One mudder grabbed my left arm, while another grabbed my right. I made it, sort of! I hung there forever, until two more mudders grabbed my wrist to pull me up. I accomplished something I feared the most because I believed in myself and never gave up. This my friends is what this race is all about! You find something different in you when you are tired, something that comes from a deep place. I thank tough mudder because now I know I can achieve any obstacle in life. As long as I have people to lean on, a faith in god and a faith in myself. I did a victory stance like no other on the top of that 15 foot pipe, I thanked god and thanked myself for trying one more time.
At this point I knew I could finish. Two obstacles to go! Funky Monkey and the Electric maze. We spit in Funky Monkey face by climbing on top of the monkey bars. Thank god because a cold bath wasn’t what I wanted to do at that time, since I was already freezing. Electric maze. Get low or get shocked. So I did! Thankfully, I didn’t get a zap this round but you could see the mudders beside me get zapped. Painful!
Finish line. I was tired, dazed, confused and cold but I made it! I got my crown, the Tough Mudder headband and my well-earned free beer. No need to celebrate my time, because there was no time chips or checking in to see where I finished. This race isn’t a normal race it is a challenge. A challenge within in! I am glad I completed this journey and am proud to be part of the Tough Mudder family. We are unique individuals, we are believers and if you ask me we are all badass!
So if you want to challenge yourself, DO IT! Take on this challenge of becoming a warrior, a true mudder! They say if you can’t complete the obstacles go around, but come back next time and try again. There are no losers in this race because it is about one goal leaving no one behind. I am getting the 2012 Season pass! Next, Tough Mudder Challenge is Ohio! Bring it I say cold water and all!
Let's not forget that I did run the Rock "n" Roll Half Marathon the day after this Tough Mudder! Yep! That was pretty much awesome too!
I would like to thank Corinne Crabtree for being my teammate in this challenge. Without you I know I wouldn’t have been able to finish. We had the best of time and had time to reflect on how amazing our lives are. She is like a sister to me, one I look up to and one that brings out the best in me. I am so glad I found you online and have you in my life now. She inspires me to push myself and continue to dream big dreams. You truly are changing people’s lives and inspiring so many people to live healthy happier lifesytles. Thanks for being that badass mudder with me and thanks for believing in me.
Thanks Chris Crabtree, Jane from PNP and her husband Todd for being our biggest cheerleaders. It was great to have someone there to support us, to take pictures and to help whip the mud off.
Tough Mudder is a race I will never forget! I can’t wait to complete a few more and hope to bring someone of you with me! I would say mission tough mudder accomplished!