Sep 20, 2011

Tough Mudder: Part 1 – About the Course and Obstacles

This past weekend Cameron and I participated in an event called Tough Mudder. Before the event I described it as a 10-plus mile obstacle course that was designed by the British Special Forces.
Here’s how the event is described on the web site, toughmudder.com:

“Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet…Tough Mudder is not your average lame-ass mud run or spirit-crushing ‘endurance’ road race. Our 10-12 mile obstacle courses are designed by British Special Forces to test all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. Forget finish times. Simply completing a Tough Mudder is a badge of honor. Tough Mudder has raised over one million dollars for the Wounded Warrior Project…WARNING: Tough Mudder is 3-4 times longer and MUCH TOUGHER than a typical mud run such as Warrior Dash. On average, only 78% of participants finish the event. Only those in reasonably strong physical condition should enter.”

Our friend Tui (one of Cameron’s skydiving friends) was the one that asked if we wanted to participate and without hesitation, Cameron and I both said yes, even after reading the above statement.

We participated in the Nor Cal Event at Squaw Valley in Tahoe on Sunday, September 18. Here’s what was written about our event on Tough Mudder’s web site:

“Tough Mudder NorCal is rumored to be the steepest Mudder yet!”

Tough Mudder Norcal ended up being 13.2 miles long (that’s just over a half marathon distance) and included 22 obstacles. We would start at the base of Squaw, which is at an elevation of 6,200 feet. We would ascend to the very tip top of the summit, which is at an elevation of 9,050 feet (all this according to Wikipedia and verified by Squaw Valley’s own web site).

I’m saving my thoughts on how my experience with the course was for my next few posts. Today, I thought I would focus on describing what each obstacle was so you have any understanding of what we were up against.

Obstacle 1: The Braveheart Charge
The name describes it well. The idea is to begin the race with a run – straight up a steep incline.

Obstacle 2: Ball Breaker
Still running up a slightly less steep incline we now have large, balance-type exercise balls being thrown/hit at us.

Obstacle 3: Kiss of Mudd
The first of many obstacles that involved water. We had to crawl through cold, muddy water under barbed wire that was 8 inches above the water line. The water was probably a foot to a foot and a half deep. It was deeper at the beginning than at the end. I’d say we had to go about 25 feet under the wire.

Obstacle 4: Death March
Basically another hike up a steep incline.

Obstacle 5: Mud Bath
Here we had to climb into a large box full of cold, muddy water. I’d say the box was 5 ½ feet deep with water at 4 ½ feet. Half way through the box is a board blocking you from getting to the end without going under water. Barbed wire is above the board. The board dips into the water about 4-6 inches and is probably only 1-2 inches thick. Once on the other side, there is a small step to help you get out of the water and box. The box is about 12 feet in length by 6 feet wide.

Obstacle 6: Chernobyl Jacuzzi
Imagine the Mud bath described above but add in a layer of ice – 6 inches deep!

Obstacle 7: Everest
Imagine a skater’s half pipe and take away half so you’re left with a tall, sloped wall. This one was about 15 feet tall. Now get yourself over it.

Obstacle 8: Funky Monkey
This is your traditional play yard monkey bars on crack. First, they peak in the middle. Second, some bars turn. Third, some bars are greased. Fourth, if you slip and fall, you fall into cold, muddy water. Sensing a theme?

Obstacle 9: Mystery Obstacle
This turned out to be a Rope Climb. Basically you had to get yourself up 8-9 feet onto a platform and then climb down a wood ladder.

Obstacle 10: Devil’s Beard
This is a cargo net that’s been nailed to the ground on the sides. You have to navigate under it from one side to the next to get through the “tunnel” it creates.

Obstacle 11: Rock Slide
This one requires you to navigate down a rocky terrain which is slippery thanks to the small rocks.

Obstacle 12: Log Jammin
On the outside this obstacle looks like someone started to build a bad log cabin. Upon closer inspection there are logs in rows on the inside. This obstacle requires participants to climb up a row of logs and then crawl under a log wrapped with barbed wire. You start climbing up and you end climbing up, going up four times and under three.

Obstacle 13: Hold Your Wood
This one requires you to walk a length of the course with a piece of wood you’d normally spilt to use for firewood (this portion of the course a circle so that the wood logs were recycled for the next users).Some logs were large and long enough that two people would have to work together to get it moved.

Obstacle 14: Berlin Wall #1
This obstacle involves two solid wooden walls, 12-13 feet tall that you have to get up and over, one after another.

Obstacle 15: Walk the Plank
This one requires you to climb up a wooden ladder 15 feet and then jump into the cold, muddy lake on the otherside of the platform.

Obstacle 16: Underwater Tunnels
Once in the lake, swim fifty yards and navigate under three rows of barrels that have been wrapped with barbed wire.

Obstacle 17: Boa Constrictor
This involved two black, ribbed tubes that dip down, making a V, into muddy water. The object is to army crawl down one, cross through the water under barbed wire and army crawl back up the second.

Obstacle 18: Berlin Walls #2
This is another set of solid, wooden walls, one after another that you must get up and over. These walls were probably 10 feet tall.

Obstacle 19: Bale Bonds
Here large rounded hay bales are stacked on top of each other and you must navigate over them. The tallest point of each was probably 8-10 feet and there were three rows of these hay bales.

Obstacle 20: Turds Nest
This is another cargo net, again in a horizontal position, but raised above the ground. Basically the idea is to climb up to the cargo net via a wooden ladder, navigate across the net and back down another wooden ladder.

Obstacle 21: Twinkle Toes
Cross over the top pf a 20-foot long pond of cold, muddy water via a 2-inch wide board that wobbles more and more as you get to the middle. Fail and fall into the pond.

Obstacle 22: Electroshock Therapy
I think this one ends every Tough Mudder event. Simply navigate through a field of hanging live wires that carry a shock of 10,000 volts.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post. It will focus on what we did up until the gun to start our group sounded.

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