The day was finally here, Tough Mudder Boston. In title at least, it actually took place at Gunstock Mt in New Hampshire.
Three months of training was hopefully about to pay off. My teammate Dan and I made the four hour drive up to New Hampshire the night before to be able to get a good night sleep and not be stiff from a long car ride if we had drove up in the morning. Luckily we scored a bargain hotel five minutes from New Hampshire Motor Speedway where we would park and take a 25 minute shuttle ride to Gunstock.
We went out to eat and had a hardy meal of steak, potatoes and salad and headed back to the hotel early. I spent the better part of the evening stretching out my legs and back while watching raunchy comedies on the TV, just the right thing to take my kind off of any pre-jitters I may have been feeling.
Morning arrived and I was anxious and feeling good. With a forecasted temperature in the mid 90’s we began hydrating the day before and continued as soon as we awoke. A light breakfast of coffee, OJ, granola bar, bananas and toast did the trick. We drove off to the parking lot with our gear bags and water bottles in hand. We stood on a brief line and boarded a shuttle bus filled with eager mudders. There isn’t really a competition aura in the air. Most people here are here to prove something to themselves, get dirty doing it and have a little fun along the way. After all, part of being a Mudder is to have a blast and help anyone in need along the way.
We disembark the shuttle to a massive crowd of competitors and spectators alike. It is a fun atmosphere that takes the edge off. I pick up my registration packet, pinned my bib number on my shorts and mentally prepared.
After about an hour out start time was up. I chugged another bottle of water, a pre-Gatorade workout mix, a Red Bull and stuffed 3 Power Gels in my pocket. The emcee recited the Tough Mudder Pledge and the National Anthem played. 5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1…. Away we were off. It began as a slow jog as the crowd thinned out and turned to more of a fast walk as the hills became steep quickly and most were pacing their energy to use on the flats. Gravel, rocks, mud and grass lay under our feet as we ran and hit the mile one marker. My teammate and I were up to a fast jog on the lesser inclines and flats and able to get by some of the packs but also getting passed by some hardcore Mudders. To be honest I thank all those pill I took from https://www.ukmeds.co.uk/treatments/narcolepsy/provigil-modafinil/ because during training they didn’t give me energy but they did help me focus a lot more.
There are going to be many obstacles along the way, some harder than others and you may not know whats going to be on course until the day before. Some are harder than others for obvious reasons , while others may be a physical or mental challenge for different reasons.
The “Arctic Enema” a water filled bin with ice cubes quickly came upon on us and had been one I’d been thinking of. There it was in front of me and without hesitation I jumped in. Cold, shock and confusion quickly filled me. You must completely submerse under a board to get across and although it was a bit nerving with the brain freeze, I was under it and wading and pushing ice out of my way to climb out. Success! Cold and wet, alive and well.
We went through many more obstacles as we continued on. Crawling on our hands and knees through muddy tunnels and collecting bloody knees along the way. 8 foot high walls to scale and mud pits under barb wire. Although obstacles have been a challenge, by far the most difficult thing facing all of us was the steepness of the mountain trails , both up and down. After a grueling uphill steep we rounded a corner only to see it went on for much longer and only got steeper. Everyone was down to a walk or near crawl. People were stopped all over the sides of the trail attempting to stretch out cramps and the occasional Mudder keeled over and vomiting. I was down to a snails pace as we ascended near the summit. People everywhere are offering words of encouragement to anyone who looks like they are on their last legs. I am exhausted and elated to see the water stop at the top. A couple of chugs and we go head first into a pipe about the width of a manhole cover and crawl through. It is half filled with water and helps to cool the body down.
The descent down is equally as challenging as going up in different ways. Attempts of running downhill are halted by quick falls down the rocky and muddy surface. You feel as though you are trying to jog while throwing on the brakes. My quads are on fire and where my sneakers are tied it feels as if the laces could saw through the tops of my feet. I am jogging in a zigzag pattern to ease the pain in my legs. I pass people walking backwards down the hill to stave off cramping. As we near the bottom and the declines decrease , Dan and I begin to sprint, or at least by this point what feels like a sprint. The end is near and the smell of victory is feeding me a second wind. As we approach the dreaded “Mount Everest” a larger quarter pipe you must scale, I wonder how much I have left in my legs? Dan makes a run for it first and makes a great jump and nails it first time solo. I watch my teammate awaiting to give me a hand at the top and I run for it as fast as I can. I make it about two thirds of the way up and leap for his outstretched hand. Perfect connection and he pulls me up and I swing my leg over the “summit”. We are in the home stretch now as we come to the dangling 10,000 volt live wires. We tuck our arms and sprint through. Zap Zap, I get it two times and it is enough of a jolt that it jars me to my side. It is not enough a good feeling! As we cross the finish line we are crowned with the coveted Tough Mudder orange headband, the best headband you will ever own.
I pass on the free beer and just chug more waters and Gatorade. My legs are so stiff and I am so tired that I am having problems keeping my balance at times. Almost like a buzzed stumble, but the happiness of finishing is masking nearly any pain I’m feeling . Tomorrow morning will be a bitch. The next day my quads are so tight and cannot bend my knees and it will be a few days before they feel right again.
There are many obstacles I didn’t write about and TM is constantly mixing it up to challenge you. The one thing I can tell you is everyone will manage them in their own way and everyone wants the person next to them to succeed . It is a great accomplishment for anyone to finish. Put away your stopwatch, forget about your time and mud up.