Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tough Mudder Atlanta 2015 Race Recap

The year I got into running longer distances (aka ran more than 6 miles for the first time in my life and did two half marathons, aka 2013) my younger brother started suggesting to me to run a Tough Mudder together. We’d done a couple 5Ks and a 10K together and as much fun as it was to compete with him, I let him know that running for me was hard enough – there was no way I also wanted to get electrocuted while in the process!

The year that I committed to doing a marathon and had been regularly running with friends and a full on victim of “running peer pressure” the idea came up again, from my regular running buddies to do a Tough Mudder. I contemplated it more seriously knowing that the people I trained with on a day to day basis were thinking of it, called up my brother asked if he was still interested, and we all signed up, trained for, and ran the Tough Mudder New England at Mount Snow in Vermont last year.

As soon as the race ended, after high fives and a beer or two (or three) the idea came up to run another the following year. My brother I think had just had the time of his life on the course and was already, moments after finishing, amped to run another. The race was putting on a pretty significant discount for a 2015 race if runners signed up that day. In my finisher’s high and 3-beer buzz, I said what the heck, 2015 is far away, and registered to run a Tough Mudder the next year.

At the time I had no idea that moving to Atlanta was in my future.

Somewhere over the course of the next 8 months as my career and life moved me to Atlanta and the 2015 Tough Mudder race schedule was released – Jeff and I settled on Tough Mudder Atlanta as our 2015 race. In January we registered, flights were booked, and the idea that I would be voluntarily running through live electric wires and freezing ice baths again became a reality.

Saturday morning we woke up around 7:15 or so to head out to the race as we were in the 10:00 a.m. wave start. We wanted to get there early and I was nervous about traffic so we gave ourselves a decent amount of time to drive out to Fairburn, GA for the race. Turns out traffic wasn’t a problem at all, but it was good we were there early because the parking lot was about a mile from the course and we left some cash that we needed in the car at one point so we (Jeff) had to go back and forth to get it.

The race start was pretty uneventful. We kept up last year’s tradition of removing the sleeves of our shirts with our hulk like strength (sleeves will just hold us back!!) – mine proving somewhat difficult-- marked up our foreheads and arms, and also checked in at the “legionnaires” tent for runners who had competed a Tough Mudder previously.

The delays had us actually starting in the 10:30 a.m. start wave rather than the 10:00 am, which really doesn’t matter since they don’t track or time the waves. And after a dance party in the warm up area, a runner-led version of the national anthem that had me choking up, and a group recitation of the Tough Mudder pledge we were off.

Jeff and I had made a plan to run as much as the course as we could. A lot of people walk through much of the course, but we wanted to do our best to keep moving throughout. Keeping in mind that part of this race is about helping people, we knew that we wouldn’t fly through the obstacles, but during the run portions – we wanted to run.

Right away we realized that the race was going to be more running than last year when we spent like 6 hours going up and down a mountain!  We were able to run through a bunch of the course and the very first obstacle had us COVERED in mud.  It was the same first obstacle as last year where you crawl under barbed wire, but I swear, this year, the mud was thick clay mud that just coated you and did not come off.

We had a weird rope swing obstacle.  An obstacle where we had to do the monkey bars, which I promptly fell into the water again with.  And an update to an obstacle from last year where we just jumped off of a platform into water, had us jumping to reach a lever that we would grab, it would swing, and then we had to try and hit a bell.  It was really, really scary and I was nervous I wouldn't be able to grab the bars I needed to, but I did and it made me so happy!

There was the same "obstacle" of having to carry your partner for a portion of the race, but this time it included little bumps and hills that you had to go over.  A guy carrying another guy slipped and crashed to the ground in the middle of it and it sounded like it hurt A LOT.  I actually carried Jeff for a little bit on my back but we didn't get a picture of it.  I so wish that we had!!!

A new to us obstacle was Mount Everest, where you had to run up a slippery wall and then others had to try and help pull you over (unless you are part of the very small group of people that can do this solo.)  It was a replacement I think for the slanted slippery wall last year where you had to form human pyramids to get over.

We had to crawl through tear gas, which made me really nervous, but ended up really not being bad.  We had to do the "arctic enema" again where you dunk into ICE COLD water, and this time required you to first dunk under water through a slide, then climb over a barrier in the water.  I don't mind this part so much but others HATE it.  The hardest part to me is when you are out of the water and all of your muscles are just totally tight and in shock.

Another new obstacle was called birth canal where you crawled on the ground with tarps of water on top of you which was actually WAY harder than I was anticipating and I was so tired when I came out the other end.  There was a big floaty blob that you had to get over as a team.  There was lots and lots of mud pits to trudge through.  A giant rope that you had to descend down and then a netted dirt hill you had to climb back up.

And then at the very end there was the elecroshock therapy.  Honestly, it is the biggest mental challenge for me.  This was so hard to convince myself to run through because you don't know what to expect.  You don't know which of the things are going to shock you or how hard the shock will be or where it will hit you on your body.  It scares the crap out of me and was still the thing I was looking forward to least throughout the whole race.  I definitely stood taking deep breaths for quite a few minutes before running through, but it wasn't bad.

After we got through that -- we were done!!  We ran into a friend of mine who snapped a picture of Jeff and I and then we moved on to the finish line.

So that was that, we are now two time Tough Mudder champions!!!

Of course, I made us take about 100 more pictures than just these ones.  I felt really proud of myself at the end, not for just completing the race but for attempting so many of the obstacles on my own.  Of course I wish I had the upper body strength to complete the monkey bars and to get through all of the obstacles on my own, but I really was very capable at most of the events and it made me proud.

At the end of the race we had our finisher beers and then we went and completed the extra "legionnaire" challenge that they had which consisted of sliding down a pole, through a ring of fire, and into a pool of water.  The things that we pay money, and earn the right to do, huh?

The next step after the "Ring of Fire" was to find my friends who were also doing the race to say hello and see how they did, and of course, take some pics.  We dropped off our shoes in the donation pile and took a quick shower to clean off a bit as well.  I really think we got a lot muddier than last year!

We wanted more beers but also didn't feel like doing the walk back to our car to get more money and then return back to the Tough Mudder area, so we just decided to trudge back to our car and get something to eat somewhere else.

It was hot and we were achey and I was so ready for a beer and some good food, which we found at a local burger place near me.  The amount of food that I ate on this day was outrageous but it was all very very delicious.

At the end of the day, as hard as it is, Tough Mudder is a blast and I had so much fun not only doing this race, but doing it with my brother.  I can't wait until the next time we find a race to do together.  I am hoping that it is something of epic proportions :)

Oh and hopefully it also doesn't leave me unable to wear a dress for a weak and looking like a completely destroyed and broken and bruised up person.  Here is a picture of the aftermath.... I swear I wish I had taken a picture the day after though because I think it looked worse.  And on that note, Tough Mudder 2015 is a wrap.  Goodnight, people!

No comments:

Post a Comment