Tough Mudder is billed by the organizers as "Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet".
I will be the judge of that.
It is. It is the the toughest event on the planet. At least it was the toughest event I have ever done.
On July 13, my brother Ken and I participated in our first Tough Mudder. The local mud run at Dell'Osso was not really a preparation for the Tough Mudder, but for both of us, it served as the inspiration for what we wanted to accomplish.
The starting gate is like nothing else I had ever experienced before. The starting line emcee, Sean Corvelle, gets the crowd psyched like no other. His inspirational opening really got me jazzed to start the challenge. Even though he gives the speech all weekend long and throughout the year he delivered it in a way that showed true passion for this event.
He reminded us that the challenge was just that, a challenge, and gave some pretty cool shout-outs to Tough Mudders from the military. He also reminded us of our pledge as Tough Mudders:
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.
And then we were off!
Tough Mudder Tahoe Sumer 2013 was a 10 mile course at Northstar California Resort. We climbed over 8,000 feet over the first 5 miles of the course. Within the first mile, we experienced the first two obstacles: Glory Blades and Kiss of Mud.
And then, just after the first mile, the obstacle that would prove to be the hardest one of the day: THE ARCTIC ENEMA. Yes, it is nearly exactly what it sounds like. After you've ran up a steep incline and you're really starting to sweat you have to jump in a tank of ice water. Although it seemed to me that it was nearly all ice. And there was no skimping on this one... in order to get through the obstacle you have to go underwater (notice the wood divider with barbed wire in the pic below... that is half-way through the obstacle). The most challenging part of this obstacle was catching my breathe afterward. I was already short of breathe because of the elevation, the cold water dunk just made it worse. I thought about quitting right then. I'm glad I didn't. But I truly didn't think I could keep going after that.
After a few more obstacles we reached the summit and went through the Electric Eel: crawling through mud and water where wires are hanging down ready to jolt you with 10,000 volts of electricity. Sounds like a lot, and although it certainly gets your attention, it is not as bad as I was afraid it would be.
There were a total of 19 obstacles, and I'll spare you the details for the rest of them.
Here are some of pics they snapped of me. If you want a better idea of what the obstacles look like, visit their Facebook album for that day - Tough Mudder Tahoe Summer 2013, Saturday, July 13
At the end of the Mud Mile obstacle, grateful it wasn't actually a mile:
The obstacle that I was the most worried about, Walk the Plank, a 15 foot jump into cold water (thankfully there was no ice):
The last obstacle, Electroshock Therapy, was painful, but at least I had some idea of what to expect after having gone through the Electric Eel at the summit:
At the end...
Overall, it was an incredible event. Lots of excitement and energy before and after (not to mention all of the Tough Mudder branded stuff you can buy).
As I mentioned, it was the toughest event I've ever done, mentally and physically. Did I mention that I had to carry Ken on my back for part of it? Not that he needed it, it was just part of the Warrior Carry obstacle.
Already looking forward to Tough Mudder Tahoe 2014. I'll be there with my orange headband!