Tough Mudder 2012: A muddy and fun time
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Looking back, I'm not quite sure whose idea it was to sign up for the 2012 Tough Mudder held in Edna this past weekend.
Whoever came up with the initial proposal doesn't necessarily matter, but the idea quickly gained steam and, before long, we had a team of 11 put together and a fantastic name: Bonecrushin Ballerinas..
The team, comprised of eight women and three men, ranged in ages from 22 to 52, donned shirts with a skull topped with a bow and pink tutus, yes even the guys.
Our fitness levels were all pretty good with some of the team just coming off of a marathon a few weeks back, while others had been hitting the strength component combined with shorter bursts of cardio to get ready.
Excitement was in the air as we arrived that morning, with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-50s. Seeing thousands of other soon to be "Tough Mudders" prancing around in anything from loin cloths to blue jean cutoffs to thongs helped set the mood for a fun morning of getting muddy.
As our start time approached, I wasn't so much nervous as I was excited to get going on this new adventure. I was looking forward to working as a team more than anything, with the motto "No man or woman left behind."
As team captain, I would be the enforcer of keeping our team moving forward together and keeping the crew motivated.We huddled in our corral as the announcer got us pumped up with some inspiring music and words about the Wounded Warriors, where a portion of the money raised would be going.
As we gave shouts of "Hoo-rah, hoo-rah, hoo-rah," we were quickly released on the course to face our first obstacle.
The first obstacle was fun and helped us to quickly get muddy, military crawling through inches of mud underneath barb wire. Most of the crew quickly lost their tutus on the barbwire.
Next, a huge platform, probably 20-feet-tall, that we climbed up and jumped off into a lake.
This was the first big hurdle for some on our team that had a fear of heights, and they came through brilliantly, leaping off into the cold water that awaited us below.
We swam the best we could, fully clothed with our shoes on, over to the shore and regrouped, greeting each other with high-fives all around.
The next obstacle was probably one of my least favorite: The Artic Enema.
It was a huge mud hole, about 10-feet wide and five-feet deep, filled with iced-down water.
Once in the water, your breath was quickly taken away by the excruciating cold, and then you had to go under a platform to the other side, completely submerging your head.We all quickly became very chilled with the winds now picking up, driving the feel of the air temperatures lower and lower.
Fortunately, a bit of a run awaited us which allowed us to warm up, a bit.
The course was approximately 12-miles long, and, along the way, we conquered more than 20 obstacles.
Just a few of the obstacles included: Climbing rope walls, crawling through tunnels of mud, climbing mountains of mud that stood close to 20 feet high, walking balance beams over icy water, wading and swimming through swampy waters and carrying logs.
As the miles went on, it was becoming quite uncomfortable with the cold as the winds picked up and we continued to get soaking wet, obstacle after obstacle.
Our team became particularly worried about our teammate Rachel as she appeared to be suffering from hypothermia worse than any of us.She refused to drop out, however, and forged on like a true trooper.
Also, as we all continued to shake and shiver, valuable energy was being lost from our bodies as we struggled to stay warm.
By mile nine, when we reached the "mystery obstacle," a rope-weaved netting that hung above icy waters, many of us were becoming exhausted.
Many approached this obstacle by crawling upside down, hands first, with feet also working to keep you on the rope netting. As I approached the halfway point, my arms literally gave out, and I plunged into the cold waters.
From that point on, you could tell the whole team was running low on energy and continuing to get colder.
The last three obstacles were mentally difficult.
The first one involved crawling through mud, underneath dangling "hot" wires, getting shocked as we moved through to the three feet of crushed ice you had to crawl through at the end.
The "Everest" obstacle was a sloped wall about 20-feet.
As we stood there shivering, watching person after person unsuccessfully try to run up and grab onto an awaiting hand of a person up top, we decided on a plan.
Two of our guys, Wade and Jared, would lie down, foot on shoulder, and make a type of ladder for the rest of us to work up to be able to grab a hand to the top. After some slipping and sliding to crawl up, a handful of us made it up and over.
The last major obstacle we decided to tackle as a team involved lining up to run through the shin-high mud with electrical wires dangling overhead.
We quickly maneuvered through, one by one getting shocked and falling into the mud and quickly crawling military style to the other side.
Then we ran as a team to the finish, receiving our "Tough Mudder" headbands and the designation of now being a tough mudder.
Missy Janzow owns Fit4U, a personalized training and nutrition service. You can reach her by email at email@example.com or online at www.fit4uvictoria.com.