Melly Was Here

wife, mother, teacher, runner, writer, lover, fighter

I am a Tough Mudder, Part One

on October 20, 2012

My husband, Lance and I completed the 2012 Austin Tough Mudder on Sunday. It was, hands down, the hardest thing I have ever done. Even harder than childbirth. But, Lance says that’s not correct. And, since he was there for both of my deliveries and the TM (and I tend to be an unreliable source of information), I will have to take his word for it. It seemed that hard, though. It really did.

I’m going to describe my day, but I may get some details wrong, like the order of the obstacles…and I am only going to talk about the obstacles I remember. Some are a blur. If you want more information about a particular obstacle, you can Google it and you’ll get a photo and a description.

We got up pretty early. We weren’t really worried about the two hour drive, but we weren’t sure how parking was going to be and we didn’t want to miss our 11:20 start time. Little Brother had crawled into bed with us that night and pulled the blanket off of me. I refused to put it back on, thinking that I needed to get used to the cold. A cold front was due in that day. It didn’t prepare me for the cold. Not by a long shot.

As we drove up, I kept staring at the thermometer, willing it to go up. It didn’t. The temperature held steady at 53 degrees. I hate cold. I was a nervous mess. My stomach was gurgling and I was mad at myself for putting myself in a position that was stressful. I don’t do stress very well.

We got there about an hour before our start time. We checked in, drank some water, got our numbers on and decided to walk around and watch some of the Mudders ahead of us go through the first few obstacles.

We watched the second obstacle, called the Arctic Enema for a long time. Just long enough for me to get completely freaked out. The Arctic Enema is a pit of ice cold water (literally, there is an ice truck dumping ice into it) with a wall that you have to swim under in the middle. I was terrified of going under that wall. Terrified. People kept jumping into it and having to get pulled out by the paramedics. They would just lose their breath. Everyone who successfully got through the obstacle didn’t hesitate. They just jumped in and dove under the wall and got out. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to do it, but I did know that if I didn’t try, I would regret it.

After watching that for a while, we decided we needed to get going and get ready for our wave. We dropped off our backpacks and the bag check, visited the portapotties and made our way to the start.

I was a nervous wreck. I was pissed at myself for agreeing to do this and wanted to go home and be warm.

We all stood at the start and got a pep talk from the amazing MC. He had all of our military stand and then we recited the Mudder Pledge. Then, we sang the National Anthem. It was very inspiring and motivating and I started to feel better and maybe even a little excited.

We started on our way to the first obstacle. We were running at a pretty decent pace and continued to keep a pretty good pace for the whole 12 miles, if I do say so myself. The first obstacle was Kiss the Mud. It wasn’t hard. I was pretty slow and I think it was because I knew what was next. There were a group of guys near us who came known to us a The Orange Shirt Guys. We kept passing them and then they would pass us almost the whole course. They were a very nice group of guys. We were talking and laughing during that first obstacle. I kept saying, “It’s not a race, it’s not a race.” They agreed.

We got through that and ran toward the Arctic Enema. I was so scared. I just kept picturing my pony tail getting stuck on the wall and me being stuck under the water. I knew Lance wouldn’t get out of the water without me (and I didn’t want him to be stuck in that water any longer than he had to be) and that if I hesistated, it would just make it worse. I knew I had to do it. I knew that if I chickened out on the second obstacle, I would be disappointed in myself. We were about 100 feet from the pit of ice and I started picturing someone I refer to as The Kraken. The Kraken is the most unpleasant person I have ever had the misfortune of knowing – a miserable, awful person who basically kicked me when I was down. She was in a position of authority over me during the worst school year of my life and she did nothing but make my life horrible, talk behind my back and make me feel an inch tall (more on this another time). I started picturing The Kraken standing off to the side of the obstacle with her smug smile, telling me I couldn’t do it. And, I just could not have that. I jumped in. It was cold. Breathtaking cold. I didn’t stop, I didn’t think. I just dove under the water and kicked like crazy to the other side of the wall. The next thing I knew, Lance was next to me, pulling me out of the water. I could hear cheering and I just knew everyone was cheering for me. Except Kraken. The bitch was no where to be seen. I must have smiled and hollered for five minutes. I could not believe I did it. I was scared and I did it anyways. And, you know, I wasn’t that cold anymore.

The next obstacle was the Dirty Ballerina. It was a series of soupy mud holes that we had to jump over. But, we ended up in every one of them. It was really our first really muddy obstacle. The mud was kind of stinky. I was still on a high from my Artic Enema, so I didn’t care.

The next obstacle as the Cliff Hanger. All I remember was Lance boosting me up and me climbing as fast as I could up the hill.

Then, it was Walk the Plank. I didn’t have a problem getting up the 15 foot ladder onto the platform. But, once I got up there and looked down and realized I had to JUMP into the water, I kind of freaked. It hadn’t seemed that far down until I got up there. I looked down and saw Lance in the freezing water, telling me to jump. My nose and teeth went numb from fear. Once again, I couldn’t let my man spend anymore time in the water than he had to on my account. So, I jumped, even though I really didn’t want to. And, it was fine. Nothing compared to the Arctic Enema. I scrambled out of the water and was feeling pretty damn tough at the this point.

Next up was the first set of Berlin Walls. These are 10 foot walls that you have to climb over. I knew there was no way I was going to get over these by myself and so there I relied on Lance to give me a boost. He did, because he is awesome. I got up over the top and lowered myself down. No big deal for me, but I think Lance may have hurt his arm lifting my butt up.

Next was some water, I think. Just a pond to cross. The water was warm compared to the chilly air.

Then, came Trench Warfare. I kept asking everyone, “Is there water in it? Water? Is there water in it?” because I knew there was one coming up that was a tube and water. This wasn’t it. It was just a tunnel we had to crawl through. I went in behind Lance and it was nice and warm. I remember thinking, “This would suck if I had clausterphobia.” I don’t, so it was cool. It was a pretty tight fit for me, so it must have been much more challenging for some of the larger Mudders.

Next up was King of the Mountain. It was a big huge pile of hay bales. Lance came up behind me and gave me a big boost and I screamed because he surprised me. We were up and over it in no time.

Then came the Spider’s Web. It was a big cargo net. I froze at the top and said, “I’m scared!” This nice girl next to me encouraged me and I think she may have reached for my hand to help me over, but there was no way my hand was going anywhere buy on that net. I finally made it down, being careful not to jump on the dudes at the bottom holding the net for the rest of us. I waited a few minutes while Lance held the net and then we were on our way again.

Next was the only other one that I was afraid of before starting the course: The Boa Constrictor. They are these huge drainage tubes that go under ground and into the water. So, basically, you have to be underground, in a tube and UNDER THE WATER (have you figured out what I am afraid of yet? I am a good swimmer, but I still have a fear of water). Lance went first and I followed. When I saw him splash into the water, I honestly tried to turn around or back out of the tube. But, it was too slippery and I couldn’t. So, down into the water I went. I heard Lance tell me that I only had to put my head under the water for a second and then I’d be out. He reassured me that he was right there. He grabbed my hand and out I was! Then, the second tube went uphilll and I decided to go into the tube next to Lance and see if I could get up quicker than him. I went in and couldn’t get up at all. I thought I was going to have to scream for someone to pull me out, but then, I got up on all fours and used my back to get up. Lance and I came out of our tubes at exaclty the same time. Since he thought I was behind him in his tube, he was surprised to see me. It was a cool moment. **I need to stop right here and just say that my husband is MY HERO and I never would have been able to do this without him.**

Next was the Electric Eel. Now, I wasn’t afraid of this obstacle because I didn’t know better. It’s a mud pit with electric wires hanging over it, poised to SHOCK THE EVER LOVING SHIT OUT OF YOU as you crawl under them. Before we got to the obstacle, I was thinking, “How bad could it be?” It was bad. 10,000 volts going through your body is no freaking joke. Later, Lance said he saw me watching the people going through it and screaming and was shocked to see me get down there and start. This was one of the obstacles where most of the spectators were gathered (sick bastards). One lady caught my eye before I started and just yelled at me, “JUST GO FAST! FAST!” I crawled as fast as I could, but not before I was shocked all over my body. I screamed everytime and I thought I was laughing, but Lance, who made it through faster and turned around to watch said that I was not laughing. I remember a bunch of guys coming up behind me and making huge splashes, leading me to believe I was going to get shocked more and die. So, I screamed more and finally got to the end. But, then I panicked because I did not have the strength to lift myself out of the mud and my feet were still in it. Fear of more shocks to the back of my legs helped me muster the strength to get the heck out of there.

Ok, that’s enough for today. Stay tuned for more!


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