Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tough Mudder SoCal - My Insane Adventure

Monday, May 30, 2011


(This recap is going to be in two parts. The first, here, is the objective description of the Tough Mudder. The second, still to come, is the way I felt before, during and after running the event.)Saturday, May 28th, I ran the SoCal Tough Mudder. Without a doubt, this was the single most intense, demanding, and inspiring athletic event I have ever done. It was ten miles of rugged terrain, an elevation ascent equivalent to climbing a 300 story building, and a lack of oxygen that comes from running at nearly 8,000 feet altitude.

In other words, the Tough Mudder was exactly what they promised me: Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet. And this is the official description: Tough Mudder is not your average lame-ass mud run or spirit-crushing ‘endurance’ road race. It’s Ironman meets Burning Man, and it is coming to a location near you. Our 10-12 mile obstacle courses are designed by British Special Forces to test all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. Forget finish times. Simply completing a Tough Mudder is a badge of honor.

And this is the Tough Mudder pledge that every Mudder swears before the start:

As a Tough Mudder I pledge that…
* I understand that Tough Mudder is not a race but a challenge.
* I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time.
* I do not whine – kids whine.
* I help my fellow Mudders complete the course.
* I overcome all fears.

Here is a link to the video I made during the event using a helmet-cam. The times on the obstacles below correspond to their appearance in the video, in case you want to fast forward to a specific obstacle.



And here is a breakdown of the obstacles, and nearly every one of them was done while we were being sprayed with ice cold water:

(06:00) Braveheart Charge – The start of the event, with a wave of 500 people cheering and yelling and charging downhill



(09:00) Boa Constrictor – Crawl through small pipes with sand, mud and grit



(13:00) Kiss Of Mud – Crawl on your belly through mud under low wire 8” off the ground




Platform Cross – Up and over a slick wooden platform


(14:30) Mile of Mud – Run through a mud pit



(15:00) Jocks on the Rocks - Jump into a pit of mud and ice


(17:45) Log Bog Jog – Leap over fallen logs

(21:30) Funky Monkey - Swing across monkey bars over cold, muddy water



(23:00) BBQ Pit – Low crawl through a pit, underneath hot coals and ash


(25:00) Hold Your Wood - Pick up and run up a steep hill with a heavy log


(27:30) Underwater Tunnels - Swim underneath barrels held on the surface of the water


(31:10) Ball Shrinker - Traverse ropes stretched across a pond




(34:15) Walk the Plank - Jump off planks into a super cold pond and swim across



(39:00) Dirt Hill – Climb up soft sand and a lot of it


(39:55) Box Trot – Leap from box to box… or fall like the rest of us and slog through the mud


(41:00) Bottleneck – Single file through a tight trail, then rock climbing to get up and out

(41:50) Devil's Beard – Crazy cargo netting

(43:15) Death March - Steep climb up one of the ski slopes

(43:35) Primal Scream – Near the top, let the world hear your call

(46:55) Evil Knievel – Race up the greased half-pipe, reach out, and hang on


(49:15) Cliff Hanger – Climb straight up the mountain



(52:58) Greased Lightning - Slide down a steep hill into the cold water and swim back out



(55:08) Kentucky Derby – A crazy mix of logs to navigate over


Gauntlet - Up and down a steep ski slope while being sprayed by high-pressure hose

Berlin Walls - Climb over 12’ walls made of wooden planks


Platform Crawl – Crawl through a low passage drenched in mud and packed with hay


Electroshock Therapy - Run through live electric wires (seriously, live wires)



And of course, the glory that came with finishing!