Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Tough Mudder: Race No. 11

Of all the races I’ve done in 2015, this is the only one I fully, hard core, trained for. And for good reason: Tough Mudder is a 10-mile mud and obstacle course run. Most of the obstacles require some serious upper body and core strength, which I seriously lack.

My training began in March when I joined a local Cross Fit gym to prepare. In addition, I started eating paleo almost exclusively, and Chris and I both gave up drinking about 6 weeks before the race.

At the height of my training, I was sometimes working out twice a day, and I definitely started to notice a difference in my overall fitness and endurance. I have no doubt this is why I ran my fastest 5K a few weeks before Mudder. That said, for all the work I was putting in and all the food I wasn’t, I didn’t lose much weight. My already fairly toned shoulders gone even more toned, but my jiggly middle didn’t change at all, which was really discouraging. But that’s another post for another day.

As for the race itself, all that prep definitely helped, but a lot of Mudder is mental. Sliding into a bath of ice water doesn't require upper body strength. But that obstacle (Arctic Enema) was the one I feared the most, and it was one of the "toughest" for me. Going under, your lungs contract from the shocking cold, and you have no air. It's terrifying, I'm not gonna lie.

I'd go through each obstacle one-by-one, but that would be pretty boring. A lot of the race this year was in a river, so what I remember most about the race was wading through waist-deep water for miles. There were a a few I couldn't complete, but those were the ones most other people couldn't do either (Balls Out, Funky Monkey). But I did conquer Everest, which still amazes me.

Shawshanked was another one that was pretty tough and I'm amazed I did it. You climb up a tunnel and drop out the end into water. It sounds easy, but the tunnel is slippery and already caked in mud from other people. There's a rope inside to help you, but that's also slippery and caked in mud. There was a minute inside I didn't think I could make it, but someone else was already behind me so I had to keep pushing forward.

Overall, the best part of Tough Mudder was doing with it Chris. It was just the two of us, and although the race requires teamwork, strategy and support, we never argued or got upset. Considering we've been together for 13 years and we still argue about whether or not he's driving erratically (he always is), it's amazing we got through it drama-free.



Race Summary

Race name: Tough Mudder
2015 Challenge Race No.: 11
Location: Richmond Hunting Club, Richmond, IL
Organizers/Sponsor: Tough Mudder
Beneficiary: Wounded Warrior Project
Cost: $170
Distance: 10 miles
Best parts of the race:
- Physical demand
- Camaraderie
- Organization

Worst part:
- Location. The site itself is perfect for this race, but it's a two-hour drive from Chicago. In fact, the parking lot for this event is technically in Wisconsin. 

Following events:

JPMorgan Corporate Challenge, May 21 @ Grant Park, Chicago, IL
Soldier Field 10 Mile, May 23 @ Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
North Shore Classic Half Marathon & 5K, May 31, Highland Park, IL

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