What an amazing experience at Tough Mudder on Saturday. The 12 mile course was further than I'd ever gone before, not to mention that the obstacles were much harder than the previous "mud run" obstacles that I'd encountered. It truly was a Tough Mudder!
I was one of the vast minority of runners who didn't show up with a team. Many of the obstacles were designed for the runners to work together to overcome the course. Obviously this put me at a disadvantage, but luckily about 2 miles into the course I made a new friend, Rigo.
As Rigo and I met up on the trail I noticed he too was running solo. "No team?" I asked. "No team." Rigo replied. "Yeah me either." I said.
And that simple conversation changed the whole experience of the event. Rigo simply said, "Well, you have one now." And for the rest of the race we ran and
conquered the obstacles together.
Mile after Mile, through mud, sludge, logs, ropes, water (just thin mud really) and a variety of other obstacles we forged on.
We were by no means the fastest on the course, but we did manage to beat over 90% of our 11:00 heat. We finished ahead of a large portion of runners from the 10:40, 10:20, and 10:00 heats as well. We even beat a good number of runners from the 9:40 and 9:20 heats.
While we were out on the course, something I read in one of Johnny Waite's blogs a while back kept coming back to my mind. What was it that was separating us from so many of the people we were passing. People who were obviously in much better physical shape than the two of us.
At about the 5 mile mark and beyond nearly everyone on the course was walking. With so many people around me walking it would have been easy for my mind to convince my body that I should be walking too, after all...I WAS really tired. But my new friend was the perfect motivator. I kept running, because he kept running, and I didn't want to lose my only teammate!
It was eye opening to see how much longer I could push myself after I felt like I was really tired.
When I finished the race I felt amazing. My knees weren't hurting like I thought they might after that distance. My SI pain was actually less than when I had started the race...in fact it was pretty much gone. (at least for then, it came back later)
All of that feeling good stuff ended later that evening - I was exhausted. Totally drained of all energy! So i slept :)
From Sunday morning until now I've been more sore than I ever have in my life. Every muscle in my body is sore and on top of that the front half of my body is covered with nicks, cuts, scrapes, bruises and abrasions which hurt every time anything touches them! I wouldnt trade it for anything. I've never been this happy!
Reflecting on the event. I definately learned a few things:
Number 1: Although I've always had strong legs, that is no longer the case. It was the upper body challenges that were easier for me and the running towards the end of the race that was killing me. My legs are WEAK and I have so far to go to get them ready for the Death Race.
Number 2: I was dead tired after the event. It was a fraction of the length of the Death Race. Again, I have so far to go to get ready.
Number 3: I was so proud of how well I did, I can't wait to take it to the next level and do something even harder.
Number 4: Heather is awesome as a race supporter/photographer!
With Tough Mudder down, I'm looking forward to the Nov 19 Warrior Dash and Dec 3 Super Spartan and I'm probably going to sign up for the Tough Mudder on the coast Jan 28!
If you're at all interested in running with me at any of these races you're more than welcome!
Special shout out to Rigo - You absolutely Rock Buddy - I can't wait to run with you again!