Part of our Tough Mudder team post-race!

So…was the Tough Mudder tough? Uhh, yeah — in more ways than one. The first part was getting to the race — which took nearly 4 hours from a place that is normally 1 hour away. I don’t know if the TM people didn’t anticipate the traffic or what but we were bumper to bumper for hours. Very frustrating! We finally arrived around 11:15 (our start time was 10) but of course they were allowing people to start late.

Second obstacle? My packet was nowhere to be found. Turns out, I had accidentally registered as a member of the military. This was a 100% accident because I would never try to get a discount by lying! However, TM required me to pay $60 on site to participate that day because of my mistake. The registration discount had only been $15 but now I was forking over $60. I didn’t have time to argue and went on. Since the money is for the Wounded Warriors, I do not mind paying extra but I think the policy is whack.

Mandy & I tatted up

FINALLY…we headed to the starting line at around 11:45am. I was feeling tired and frustrated — kind of not wanting to run 10 miles of obstacles in the mud. However, I slapped my game face on and got serious. Once we were in the corrals, the music bumping and everyone was in the spirit. I started getting excited at that point and was so glad to be there with my team. I told myself no matter how I felt, I was running this for the kids in Congo and that’s all that mattered.

We got started together and I was worried because I felt really sluggish and weighted down. I figured I’d just hang out with the team members that were going to be moving slower. But…the excitement got the best of me and I ended up with the faster pack.

I was in for a shock on the first obstacle — a freezing cold, ice filled deep pool you have to jump in completely, swim underneath something underwater and come out on the other side and jump out. OMG. I have never felt anything like that in my life. It was cra-cra-crazy! I just kept saying, “oh my gosh, oh my gosh.”

Before jumping in ice bath: 

Sarah is second to the right end there about to jump in.

 Getting out of ice bath: 

Jennifer & Mandy make a mad, cold dash out of the ice.

Next up was the gigantic mud pit leaps. You leap from one ditch to the next over mini- mud lakes and it is NOT easy. I was terrified of land wrong, falling back and breaking my neck. With my friend Evan’s help, I made over 3 of the 6 ravines and feel in three of them, getting completely drenched in mud.

At that point, I was like…this is awesome. This is more intense than I ever thought and more challenging. I had definitely not looked at the course or thought any obstacle through and it was so fun waiting to see what the next one was. There was quite a bit of running and I tried to keep up a decent pace in between.

Evan and I about go off the high dive. So glad his friend was there for me to beg for a photo!

After a few tall wall climbs, in which strong men had to help lift me over, plus climbing a mountain of hay bales and belly crawling under barbed wire a couple of times, we came to a massive wooden high dive cliff into a literal lake of mud. It was as high as a regular high dive and I was NOT feeling it. Nevertheless, I said 1, 2, 3 go and survived.

This is not our dive but it looked just like this one.

There were a lot of other obstacles I’m not mentioning but those were ones that stood out. In the middle of the course, it started pouring down rain so hard I could barely see for a few minutes. I really didn’t mind that though because once you are all muddy and wet anyway, running in the rain is fun. And here’s me almost doing a good job on Mt. Everest:

I really had a blast at this race and all the obstacles, fun and excitement made 10 miles seem like 5 — seriously. I didn’t think I was into the mud race scene after doing “Run Amuck” but Tough Mudder is the real thing and you actually run, which I liked. I stayed with my friends Evan and Ricky the whole race and it was nice to have eachother for encouragement.

The “We are 59” stands for the 58 orphans at CCC plus our team as 1.

We finally made it to the end, exhausted, and waited for our friends to cross the finish line. We got t-shirts, rad orange head bands and a free beer. Then, the best part…

When my friends Nik and Mandy came in and settled in the with the grou, something fabulous happened. I turned around and saw Nik on one knee proposing in all the muck and the mud! It was SO sweet and awesome. Luckily, we got it all on video for you:

I had never been present for anyone’s proposal before and I’m sure you can tell that from my crazy facials and excitement in the background of this entire video…ha ha. I was so happy to be there with them and then I shared an hour long car ride home with them and it was just a really special day all together.

Nik, me, James, Ricky, Sarah, Mandy. The front of the shirts are a map of the DRC with the words “I love you” written across them in Swahili.

After the race, it took us FOREVER to get out of the mud-infested parking lot, which was being manned by volunteer “traffic cops” who had no idea what they were doing. Frustrating to the say the least. We finally made it to meet our group of friends at Cracker Barrell to celebrate the day. I promptly ate three buttermilk biscuits and was in carb heaven.

I made it home that night at 9:30pm after leaving my house at 6:30am in the morning. I hadn’t yet washed the mud from my hair, body or skin the entire time. Needless to say, I took an extra long, hot shower, though it was hard with all those bruises and cuts all over my body. See PROOF:

It’s several days later now and I’m still feeling sore — especially in my arms — which I know came from pulling my body through the mud under the barbed wire. Plus, taking showers is so stingy with the cuts on my legs! However, my body is good sore and I feel like I worked hard which is a great feeling.

I’m sure this Tough Mudder race will hear plenty of criticism, especially since they completely cancelled Sunday due to flooding and all the issues from Saturday. The parking/traffic situation was one of the most frustrating situations ever but I am so glad I endured that so I could run the race.

QUESTION: Have you ever done a Tough Mudder or mud race? What do you think of them? 

*Please check out my post, “Running & Remembering 9/11” today as well. 
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