Saturday, March 31, 2012

Tough Mudder "Dallas" 2012

Tough Mudder is a mental and physical battle of strength, endurance, and pain.

Friday evening Ellen's parents arrived in town. We headed over to Genghis Grill so Phillip (my father-in-law) and I could carb load for the big event the next day. I joined the Amarillo Athletes team that was headed by Blue Bagget, the owner of the Amarillo Athletes CrossFit type gym. There were 31 people on our team. Click this link to read the Amarillo Globe-News article about the team.

We woke up at 5:30am and got on the road at 6:30 to head to the hotel in Dallas where the rest of the team was staying. Phillip and I were still full from dinner so we just got a strawberry/oatmeal parfait and I got a smoothie. Our team was scheduled to start at noon and the website said to be there 2 hours early for registration/packet pickup. The team was taking a while to get ready so Phillip and I headed out at 7:50. It is a 100 mile drive from Dallas. We decided to stop in Corsicana to make a rest stop and get any supplies/snacks we needed. Phillip's friend Dr. Bob Gerald was staying in Corsicana and we met up with him because he knew they way to Freestone County Raceway. I had planned to grab some breakfast from Sonic but just grabbed a Powerade instead. We got to the exit for the event and found that the line to get in was backed up over 4 miles. Luckily it was just past 9am and we had plenty of time until we had to start.

We waited a while and slowly started moving. The rest of the team was way behind us. I finished my Powerade and starting drinking the 1.5 liter bottle of water I brought to stay hydrated. It was cloudy and 71 degrees so we rolled down the windows and opened the sunroof. Eventually the water did it magic and I decided to let Phillip take over the wheel while I found some bushes to water. As luck would have it as soon as I got out the traffic started moving. I started sprinting to the car running along side a mini-van full of people. The driver pretended he was racing me. Phillip had pulled over and I hopped in the car and it stopped moving. We lost about 4 places in line. I decided this was the perfect time to put on some sun block and flip thru my CD collection to find music to pump me up. Phillip decided to find a fence so I got back at the wheel and put in my James Brown album. He always gets me pumped up. Half an hour passed and I did not see Phillip but I kept moving forward. About 11:15am the sun came out and the clouds started to fade away. I decided to take am 5-hour energy drink and listen to Rage Aganist the machine. I felt like I was in high school again bouncing around in my car with the music blaring and my windows down. Ellen called me and I explained what was going on. Right about this time I saw Phillip and Bob drinking beers with some cowboys leaning again a fence. Leave it up to those to to find such a thing. I got a text that said, "We apologize for the delay in parking. Don't worry if you missed your start time, time you can start in a later group. See you soon." I started to relax a bit. Alot of people had abandoned their car along the road or paid to park at some ranch houses and were walking and jogging to the entrance. Eventually was got to the overflow parking lot and waited to assemble our group.

We walked into the registration area and turned in our "Death Waiver" and picked up out bibs and got our numbers written on our arms with a permanent marker. We made a dash for the restroom then scaled an 8ft wall to get to the starting line. There was an MC with a microphone there getting up pump and playing the national anthem. At 1:10pm we started. The beginning was a bunch of hills along the motorcross track mixed in with puddle of mud. The first obstacle was a pond with rows of barrells across it. You had to swim under them and get to the other side. Next up there was a 10ft wall. I am only 5'7" on a tall day so I had someone give me a lift and I fell backwards right on my ass. The second attempt was a success. Next up we had to crawl under some barbed wire in the mud. We waded thru another pond then came up on a bunch of mud/clay hills with shoulder deep water between them. There was a photo op right in the middle. We got out of the mud and came up on three dumpster and an ice truck. We climbed into the dumpster and had to duck under a board into the ice cold water. I screamed like a little girl as I came back up and climbed out. Mile 1 complete. Next up was a long run and I trailed just behind Bob and Phillip. I slowed down when we crossed a watery mud puddle. The next two miles had a few obstacle but i can't really remember them or the sequence. We had the crawl thru a dark tunnel, under more barbed wire, and thru a wooden narrow trench. At mile 3 we came up on a sign that said "You just completed the Warrior Dash but you are a Tough Mudder and still have 9 miles to go." Yay, looks like this is a 12 mile obstacle course! We came up on a traffic jam. We got a chance to pee and catch out breath.

We had to cross a creek with steep muddy banks. Everyone was going to the left so our guy decided to go to the right. Phillip was the first one up and warned me about the thorny wild roses so I climbed up a steeper area. I grabbed a thick root and used my right leg to climb up and my right calf cramped up a little. We started running again and came to an water station. I grabbed a banana and chugged 3 cups of water. I felt a boost of energy and started back on the trail with a some pep in my step. I think it might have been at this point that we did the log carry. Bob, Phillip, and I carried an 8-10ft log together. I got in the middle and had to hold it up while they rest it on their shoulders. We waded thru a pond then put it back. It was at this point we lost our other team members and headed down a long straight out and back. Next up was rows of walls across water with 2x4s for your toes and fingers to scale across. Phillip went first followed by Bob and I was right next to him. When we got 3/4s of the way across the board got thinner and I was putting all my weight on my finger tips. I slowed down and made it across. That was a fun unexpected obstacle. We took up running again and Bob twisted his ankle so we slowed down for a bit. The next task was crossing a long with two ropes. One for your feet and for your hands. The other guys in our team catch up and Bob crossed with them and I cross the same rope as Phillip. It got wobbly but I found holding my facing each other on the rope helped me keep my balance. We got across and Phillip cleaned out his shoes and Bob fell on his face in the slimy mud. I think we were at about mile 6 at this point.

At the next water station I grabbed a gel back out of my bag, tore it open with my teeth since my gloves were caked in mud and just quirted it at my mouth. We took off running again and came up on a HUGE hill that was muddy. We decided to go up the left side since it was a little dryer. When we got to the top the other side was slick so we slide down on our butts. I hit my tailbone halfway down and winced in pain a little. We ran over some smaller hills and with the last of my endurance I took off sprinting and waiting at the beginning of devils beard. We got behind a guy that was 6'4" or more and walked under the heavy muddy rope nets holding it above our heads. The next obstacle was twinkle toes. 8 double 2x4 across a pool. We went to the one on the far right but soon found out it was bowed and wobbly. Phillip went first and made it almost halfway before he lost his balance and fell in. I decided to go next and lined my feet up straight with the board. When I got to the middle it started to shake so I stopped and found my balance. I slowed down and made it across. Next up was Bob and after seeing a girl take uff her shoes he did the same holding hit arms out like a T with his shoes in his hand. He made a ways but fell in when the board started shaking. We got back on the trail and crossed mile 10 marker.

We ended up in some super sticky mud and my left shoe was close to being sucked off. We got down into a creek bed and everything came to a stop. I found pointing my toes downward and keeping my heels high reduced the mud sucking in my shoes. Bob and Phillip and some other got fed up with the traffic jam so we hopped a fence and back tracked to the next obstacle, MOUNT EVEREST!!!. It was tall curved wall that was oiled down. There were guy was the top laying down with there arms out to catch people. Bob went first and ran up but could not grap their hands. I went next and sprinted but missed and slid down on my toes. Phillip and I tried about 3-4 times and on the fourth time I banged my knee and scraped as I came down the wall. We both decided we were done not wanting to injure our knees. We watched Bob keep trying and he finally made it. He is a tough 63 year old. We waited while he helped up a few fellow mudders. Bob's wife Laurel was there taking pictures. We were at mile marker 11 and there were alot of spectators watching the final 5-6 obstacles.

Next up was the electric eel. It was similar to the one where you crawl under barbed wire but this one had electrical wire dangling lower and it with full of thick muddy slimy water. There was a guy saying,"The power is off, GO! GO! GO!" so Phillip dived in and I followed right being him. We managed to make it without a shock but we had to keep our whole body and half our face up to our nose in the mud. We got out and Laurel took a picture of the three of us. NEXT UP the one I had been dreading for a while, Funky Monkey, pyramid shaped monkey bars over water. When we got to it the water was deeper and it was shorter than it looked in the videos and pictures I had seen. Phillip and I used a discarded piece of cloth use while the mud off our gloves. I said my goal was to make it 5 bars but when we got closer we saw the bars were not secured and rolled in place. I decided to go last. Bob and Phillip both fell in and I made it 2-3 bars and did the same. Right after we came up to the plank. You have to climb up a slanted wall to get to the platform. I climbed up first once we got on top I decided to jump as soon as possible because height tend to make me nervous. I jumped in and held my bag because the zipper was stuck open. The water was refreshing and the cleanest we had been in all day. I was able to zip my bag under water and we headed to the final obstacle... Electric Shock Therapy! There was a big group wait to cross so we cut over the left side. They were letting waves of people cross in rows. The first wave we saw a guy got zapped fell into the row a hay in the middle you have to jump over. He grabbed his knee and crawled off to the side getting zapped as we winced in pain. Next thing I know we went next skipping about 30+ people who were waiting. I got zapped in my right shoulder and dove over the hay and crawled then jumped up and hit a few wires at the end but no shock. We took a group pic at the finish line and grossed it about 5:38pm. It took us 4 hours 28 minutes and we have planned on 3 hours. We got our orange headbands and grabbed a victory beer, chugged it, then grabbed another for good measure.

Next we headed to the showers (a firefighter with a big hose). I laid my stuff in a pile and got sprayed down. I took off my shirt and my superhero boxers and got sprayed again in just my compression shorts. It felt sooo good to be cleaned off. We found Laurel and she gave us our checked bag and took a picture of Phillip and I. We hung around for the rest of our team to finish. Everyone was done by about 6pm. They were headed back to Dallas/Addison and go out for drink but since we had a long walk to the car and a 2+ hour drive back to Denton we decided not to join them. We called our wives and asked them to have some dinner for around 9pm. When we got to south Dallas we called again and they had not figured out food yet so we went to Torchy's Tacos. I had never been there before but I heard of the taco of the month, "Ace of Spades." Since it was March 31st and all be had to eat that day was a parfait, banana, and trail mix I figured it would be the perfect snack before dinner.

I took my Olympus Stylus 720SW Shock and Waterproof came with me in a fanny pack. Some areas there was just was too much mud to clean off the lens. Here are the pictures I took along the way:

I will upload more pictures later and update this blog...

The Course

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