One Tough Mudder
"I've tried to put a bit more emphasis on getting in better shape this year and have been stricter with my diet and exercise. One physical challenge that I really enjoyed doing was 'Tough Mudder', a military-style obstacle course that was set up in Whistler, BC. The challenge tested my physical fitness, but more than that it was just a really fun experience that I took part in with a team of friends. The course was timed, but I wasn't looking at the event as a race... instead, I wanted to persevere over the obstacles as a team, hoping that we could all feel the same sense of accomplishment by the end. In case you missed it, here's my recap which I wrote at the time."
- Tyler "Frosty012" Frost, December 2013
I recently returned from Whistler where I managed to survive Tough Mudder...marketed as 'probably the toughest event on the planet'. The course is challenging and some of the obstacles really do suck but if you're doing it as I did (with a team) and aren't attempting the course record then I wouldn't say that it's all that difficult. That said, I guess the event is going to be as hard as you want to make it on yourself. With a team, there is always time for brief pauses to catch your breath. If I did the event solo and was giving it 100% then, yeah, it would be pretty tough. Anyways, it was a ton of fun and I'll do my best to take you through the course with pictures (some were from a friend's camera and others were from the Tough Mudder photographers that want to charge me $80 for the pics...no thx, you'll have to deal with the watermarks)!
Here we have the standard D-bag starting pic with 2/4 of my teammates on my left (other 2 were chicks, not sure where they were when this was taken). As you can see, I'm fully decked out in a headband, gloves, lei, shirt, shorts, socks and shoes. About half of those things don't last long. You start the course by hopping over this smallish wooden wall into the starting area, where you're given a motivational speech and a little rundown of everything... then you're off! I'm probably not going to be able to recall everything about the course, or even get the order of the obstacles right, but I'll recap what I can remember.
So the course is about 18km long and is essentially a jog through mountainous terrain and then there are various obstacles dropped in your path along the way. Nobody is forcing you to do all of the obstacles, but in my mind it would be a complete fail if I skipped out on anything because I should be physically able to do everything. So you start by jogging along a cement pathway and I was feeling pretty good. The sun was shining brightly and I had a well portioned breakfast of eggs/veggie scramble to burn on.
It doesn't take long before you come up on the first obstacle: a field of mud with barbed wire stretched across it about 1-2ft off of the ground. I got snagged a few times on my shorts while crawling under the wire but made it to the other side slowly but surely. My clothes were now drenched with mud and felt about 10 pounds heavier than they were at the start. Fortunately (but really unfortunately), the next obstacle wasn't far off and was a giant ice bath to wash yourself clean! This was probably my least favorite obstacle looking back on everything. You had to jump into a big pool of ice and swim under a partially submerged board before surfacing on the other side. I just remember the water being so cold that I could barely move and was in full panic mode because the ice on the other side of the board felt quite heavy and tough to break out of. Here's a pic of the aftermath...
At this point, being soaked with mud and water was really weighing me down so I peeled off the shirt and left it on the side of the course. It was time to become one with the elements and unleash my inner TOUGH MUDDER!
A decent amount of the course goes by with a few obstacles that I have no pics for but here's a cool one of me having to jump over a burning fire into some muddy water. The toughness of the course may be debatable but the mud part sure is not.
The course loops around to the starting/spectator area and here is a shot taken by my girlfriend of everyone hesitating to crawl underneath some electrical wires that actually shock you, and really hurt. As you can see, everyone but me still has their shirts on... rookies.
This is the last that you will see of my headband. You had to jump off that tower into some water and it looked a lot higher once you're up there than it did down below. I have a fear of heights and was not able to focus on securing the headband as well as avoiding a belly-flop.
This was the last obstacle of the race, right before the finish line. You had to run through a field of those annoying electrical wires! Some people were tip-toeing and sidestepping the wires but we decided to just throw our arms up and run straight through! Unfortunately, either one of the wires hit me in the leg or my teammate Brandon bowled me over (possible both) but I hit the deck hard and ended up face first in the mud.
I picked myself up and collected a new headband, shirt and an ice cold beer. All was good again. You can see from the last pic there what a gorgeous venue the event was held at. Overall, the event was a ton of fun and I think that there's a very good chance that I'll do it again next year! In the aftermath, my legs were very scratched up, as was my stomach. It's almost as though I did the course in shorts and no shirt. Considering that I've never done anything like this before I did feel a pretty great sense of accomplishment though after finishing. It's also great to do it as a team and go through the whole experience together. Tough Mudder was a good test and measuring stick for my fitness too, so I was pretty pleased with where I'm at in that department but things could improve.
Tyler "Frosty012" Frost is a member of Team PokerStars Online.