Saturday, June 15, 2013

Tough Mudder 2013

This weekend Chris, Eric and I headed out to Fossil, OR to the Wilson Family Ranch Retreat to run our first Tough Mudder event.  Emily had wanted to go but we couldn’t find anyone to watch Leo last moment when we found out dogs weren’t allowed.  It also cost $40 for spectators so it saved us some cash.  Luckily Emily got her Prius back from repairs on Thursday which allowed Eric and I to take it Friday night for the long drive out to Lake Billychinook where Holm and the others were camping for the night.

To be honest, Eric, Chris and I were all pretty pissed about how much the mudder cost and how they promised it would be 2 hours from Portland and it ended up being 3 hours and all the way out to the Painted Hills!  Then we learned there was a $5 bag drop fee, a $10 fee for parking, and $40 for spectators.  We pretty much felt like they were milking us for all we had and all of us responded as such when we got a survey after the event.  So, we pretty much bitched and complained the whole way out on Friday night when Eric dropped his car off for Emily and we headed out with the Prius. 

We made it to the campsite before Holm and were luckily allowed to park and get setup before them by a nice park official.  Holm’s roommate Eric and his friends David, Laurie (Dr. J), and Danielle were already there and we introduced ourselves.  Eric and I had barely been able to look at the course map before leaving and pretty much had no idea what to expect.  Contrary to us the others seemed to have done their research into the obstacles and had been training for it.  They even rented a rental truck for the drive and the weekend.  

When Holm showed up we got caught up each others lives over a few beers as I hadn’t seen him for a long time.  He handed out our team shirts which were yellow and had brown chicken and a brown cow on the front... “Brown Chicken Brown Cow...”  Mine had Danger written on the back as usual, Chris was “Mr. Furious” for reasons from the past I won’t get into here.  Eric had Kurt Schilling on the back as a joke which was hilarious because he hate’s the guy and the Red Sox... hehe.  We all ended up hitting our tents and cars for sleep around 11:30. 

In the morning we made it out of camp with Chris climbing in the Prius with us as he, Eric and I all had a start time of 12:30 while the others were 11:30 and left earlier.  The three of us stopped at the Black Bear Diner in Madras where I ordered a huge breakfast of 3 eggs, ham, bacon, sausage, home  fries and two pancakes to the amusement of Eric and Holm who thought I was nuts to eat that before the 10 mile long event.... Nonsense!  

We made it to the event after even more driving by around 11:30 and met up with the rest of our team who decided to wait until our start time so we could all run together and help each other out over the obstacles.  We were given numbers and were told to write the numbers on our arms and foreheads for the photographers on the course.  We threw in towels and a change of clothes in my bag and headed for the starting line past vendor tents and people flipping huge tires for free Dos Equis beers which was the official beer sponsor.  

The event started with all of us having to clear a 7 foot wall on the way to the starting line.  At the starting line an MC told us all about what to expect and that this wasn’t a race, but instead a life changing event... He warned us all about the difficulties ahead and that if we had a heart condition not to run through the electroshock therapy obstacles.  He also told people that had trouble getting over the wall that it may be too tough for them... After the warnings he got us all pretty pumped up with some chants and a little Harlem Shake before unleashing us onto the 10 mile hilly course.

Right from the start the first obstacle we encountered was crawling through mud under barbed wired just above our heads.  This instantly got us filthy and instantly got us pumped up about the rest of the obstacles.  It was about 75-80 degrees and blue skies so we quickly found ourselves getting hot and the mud helped a lot.  By the time we got up the hill to the “Arctic Enema”, a cargo container filled with water and 50,000 lbs of ice we were ready to jump in it and I threw a front flip into it hoping not to get yelled at.  Too bad Danielle who was watching didn’t get that on film.. :)

Once out of the cold water and running again Eric, Holm and I all agreed that despite the cost and drive this race was definitely going to be worth it, at least once.  I’m not going to go into detail about all the 19 obstacles that we encountered along the way but suffice to say they were amazing.  Some were super challenging such as the “mud mile” where we had to scale mounds of mud over and over helping each other and anyone around us over them and vice versa.  The electric eal and the last obstacle, “Electroshock Therapy” shocked us with 10,000 volts distributed across hundreds of small wires dangling down onto us.  Eric got hit twice in the face on the way out knocking him straight to the mud below.  He also overcame his fear of claustrophobia making it through some ground tunnels and his weak stomach running throw mud and cow shit dry heaving along the way.  Colleen overcame her fear of jumping from a high platform into water as well.

I was proud of my performance on the course as well forcing myself to try every obstacle at their most difficult part, going over the apex of every mud mound and hurling myself up and over logs suspended in the air without assistance.  I even was able to make it up the greased quarter pipe at the end called “Everest” without any assistance.  The most difficult part of the whole course was the cattle tramped uneven ground which I was surprised not to see causing more rolled ankles.   

At the end of the race we all were given a free dos equis beer which I of course pounded and circled back for another one before joining the others for a group photo at the end.  There were hoses provided for showers after and people were encouraged to donate their used shoes to the Wounded Warrior project which was the charity behind the whole Tough Mudder series.  We also were given the prized Tough Mudder orange headband and a poly-pro t-shirt.  I’m not sure the race was as tough as they promote it to be but we also did take our time as a team finishing the 10 miles of obstacles just over 3.5 hours.  David ran with a go pro the whole time and it will be great to see his footage when he can get it to us.

The others took off pretty quick but Eric, Holm and I ended up having a couple beers in the sun at the back of the Prius before taking off for the drive home through Madras where we had left Holm’s car.  Holm had to clean himself up and then go to a wedding reception that night while Eric and I thankfully just had the long drive home over Hood where we got back to Salmon Creek around 9:30pm.  None of us got any major injuries although all of us ended up super dirty and a bit bruised.  I’m not sure if I’ll run it again, but if Emily decides she is interested I’ll definitely be at the base of the mud pits boosting her up and over them. :)

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