The Tough Mudder & Teamwork

On October 7 I entered a “Tough Mudder” adventure race with Christy, Ben, and Josh. Josh drove down from Dallas the day before the race and stayed with Christy and me. Ben met us at my place, and we started our epic (1-hour) journey out of Austin to the race site. This event is basically an obstacle course on steroids. We were told by some friends that a man had been helicoptered off the course the day before because he was shocked in the head by the “Electric Eel” and went into seizures! The Electric Eel is an obstacle that involves crawling on your knees and elbows in the mud through a maze of hanging electrical wires that zap you if you accidentally touch one of them. Jesus, I was wondering what I had gotten myself into.

Click here for a photo of Christy drenched in the mud pit!

It was 12 miles long, which did not pose a problem for me in relation to running, but some of the other obstacles really slowed things down. It was also really cold!! We swam through water and trudged through mud. We were wet practically from the start. There happened to be a cold front moving in, so the combo was brutal, especially with the never-ending wind. I have run much harder races before, but this one takes the cake for “interesting.” I think I’ve had my fill of knee-bruising wall climbs and elbow shredding in the claustrophobia-inducing “Tube Crawl.” The Electric Eel will not be forgotten anytime soon.

Here’s the team post-race after devouring Thai food at Tatiya’s.

I have to say that the single most impressive thing about this event was the camaraderie. This is one of the biggest reasons that I prefer ultra-marathons to shorter races. When you travel a distance that requires you to walk certain amounts, you end up getting into conversations with people you might otherwise have never met. There is a kinship produced from challenging the same course together, and you end up wanting to help your new friend complete the distance. I carry extra headlight batteries, ibuprofin, electrolyte capsules, nipple band aids (trust me, you need these), and something sweet to eat if your friend starts to bonk out from carb depletion. In the “Tough Mudder,” everyone makes sure that their fellow humans get over, under, and through the obstacles as well as make the distance to the finish line. I love it. Now, time to train for my 12-hour “Run Like the Wind” race in two months and the Rocky Raccoon 100-miler in four months. I might need some help getting through these :0). “Ouch!” and “Yay!” at the same time!!

My recovery has been much better since this shift in eating. I trained legs heavy the day after the race and today I feel great. Not the usual lethargic energy and deep, bruised feeling I usually have. Things just keep getting better as I near 44 years of age.

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