January 15, 2012

One Tough {Mother} Mudder!






~Tough Mudder Pledge

Have you heard of the Tough Mudder?

If you have.... I AM A TOUGH MUDDER. 
Can I get an "OO-RAH!"?

If you haven't...Tough Mudder events are hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. With the most innovative courses, half a million inspiring participants, and more than $2 million dollars raised for the Wounded Warrior Project, Tough Mudder is the premier adventure challenge series in the world.

 So, What would you do for a FREE beer? 

This weekend I completed a 12.5 mile obstacle course through mud, barbed wire, over broken down, smashed up, torn and twisted cars, in, under and out of iced and freezing Gatorade pits, through half submerged drainage pipes, over hay bales, over 12 foot walls, through thick, deep, energy zapping mud {several times}, jumped {read: was pushed} off of a 15 foot platform and into a deep pit filled with icy Gatorade, around a long track carrying a sizable log {aka: railroad tie} and finally through a maze of wires some of which were live with 10,000 volts of electricity. All for a free beer... Okay, maybe for more than just the free beer.....

Why? you may ask would I do this?  Why would I volunteer to spend the better part of a Saturday in the middle of January torturing myself?  The answer is simple: Just to see if I could. and well....okay and maybe a little bit for the glory and the bragging rights. Not just the knowledge that I DID THIS but to also to say that I stared some real fears in the face and in spite of them I plowed forward and I conquered my fears. 

What fears?? Ah... Well a fear of small spaces for starters. I crawled through narrow drainage pipes that were partially submerged in muddy water. Not to mention the dirt tunnels. They looked and felt like coffins. I felt like I was going to drown and or be buried alive, but I DID IT!!

What about my fear of heights?? I have to give my hubby some serious props here. I climbed to the top of the 15 foot platform like a monkey. I raced to the top, knowing full well what was up there.  I knew before the day even started that I would have to face this obstacle. I even said going in, of all the things I would have to face today THIS would be the most difficult for me! I knew I could rely on my teammates and strangers to help me over the 12 foot walls. And when the pits were too muddy and slippery to climb out of there would be a helping hand either pushing or pulling me. But to jump off of a 15 foot platform..... this I was going to have to do on my own. OR SO I THOUGHT....

I raced to the top. My thought process: Just get up there and go. DON'T THINK, just go! Easier said than done. I got to the top, raced to the edge and in my head I was yelling "GERONIMO!!" but.... my gut got the best of me and I stopped short of the edge. This is when my silent GERONIMO became a loud and adamant "NO! NO! NO! NO!" I backed away from the edge, bumping right into my Hubby. Ever supportive, he stood with me for a minute as we watched a few people effortlessly and thoughtlessly, some even gleefully leap from the edge and plunge the 15 feet {that looked a hell of a lot more like 15 yards to me!!} into the icy green Gatorade below. Clearly my Hubby knows me well and was keenly aware that if he let me stand up there any longer it would become a BIG problem. SO... he grabbed my hand and said "Let's Go Babe!" and before I knew what was happening my stomach was in my throat and I was dropping  {and screaming}  "Ahhhhhhhhhhh........" and then SPLASH! I hit the water...or Gatorade....or whatever. All I know is that the entire 25 yards I had to swim from my splash point to the cargo net exit all I could think was "I hate heights! I hate heights! I hate heights!" and did scream out "I F*cking Hate Heights!!!!!" upon exiting the water. It's only now that I can truly appreciate that I stared a big and real fear in the face and jumped {sort of} anyway! Truth-be-told... if my Hubby had not grabbed my hand I would STILL be standing atop that damn platform shuffling back and forth, to and away from the edge.  Either way, on my own or with a little help.... I DID IT!

There truly are no photographs that will ever do this obstacle justice - at least not in my opinion, but these are close......And while I know these pictures make the water look like just muddy water you must trust me when I say it was electric green!

So how did this all come about?  The woman who owns my Stroller Strides franchise and her husband decided that they wanted to do the Tough Mudder several months ago. It sounded like an amazing challenge and frankly, really fun. So my husband and I, along with a handful of other Mamas I know and their hubbys jumped on the bandwagon and signed up for the Tough Mudder!!  As the months went by, the butterflies, injuries and doubt started to set in and on race day there were a grand total of 6 of us left. My franchise owner and her hubby, my BFF, training and half marathon running partner, Kelly and her hubby, my Hub-bub and me!!

Here's  a glimpse at how our day went. . .

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Please tell me HOW you could feel sorry for yourself, or even give up, when you see this on the course? One of our Wounded Warriors kicking ass and taking names! SUCH AN INSPIRATION!! Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

I re-injured a bad knee about half way through the 12.5 mile course and as the miles wore on I was less and less able to run. By mile 9 running was agony and by mile 11 I could no longer bend my knee and walking was torture but I had gone that far, I had completed EVERY obstacle to that point. My goal going in was to 'try' everything and if I absolutely could not do it I would go around, no shame as long as I gave it my best shot. With the exception on the 15 foot plunge I didn't shy away from a single obstacle. Until we hit the half pipe. A crowded, muddy, steep, looming, wall that looked as big as Mt Everest. Especially after 12 miles of mud and obstacles, even more so with a knee that was screaming and with every muscle in my body sore and spent.  Kelly's hubby was the first up. He made it look almost easy. Behind us I heard Our Team Captain Kelly cheering us on. She'd finished the course and had come back to find us and cheer us on to the Finish. My hubby was next and after a failed attempt was finally hoisted to the top. Kelly and I stood there at the bottom, hand in hand, beaten and battered and exhausted. We both agreed that we could not go around this obstacle without trying. We both took 3 attempts. On my third attempt I touched Kelly's husband's finger tips. I was 'almost' there, but I'd exhausted the very last of my energy. I was DONE.  I still had two more obstacles to go before the finish line and I had to concede the obstacle. It still haunts me a bit today. I wish I could have given it one more try.... I just had nothing left.

The monkey bars were laughable. I think Kelly and I made it 3 bars in before we both found ourselves swimming chest deep in more freezing cold Gatorade.  The final test was Tough Mudder's signature obstacle- "Electroshock Therapy"- Okay now tell me, who knowingly charges through a maze of dangling wires, some of which are live with 10,000 volts of electricity?  Well.... Tough Mudders do, that's who! Now mind you I stood in line, shivering, exhausted, muddy and watched grown men balk at people swimming through vs. running through, then take one step have their knees buckle causing them to drop face first into the mud, twitching. Only to come around and need to ask "What happened?!" What? it sounded like a bug zapper when you got hit and you blacked out? No Thank You!" So I swam, gator style, under and around and through the maze. Granted I did not get zapped. I managed to avoid all electricity during my Tough Mudder but I did get stepped on, and kicked and took a huge faceful of mud when one of the 'tough guys' dropped like a ton of bricks next to me.  My poor hubby took one step in and got hit with 10,000 volts. Not an experience I am jealous of one bit!

I did it! I survived. I completed 99% of the 12.5 miles British Special Forces designed, extreme, insane, obstacle course. I am so proud. I am sore.... I am bruised in places that cannot be photographed and shared publicly. My knee spent the better part of 24 hours swollen up to an elephant's size. It hurts to cough, laugh, move, walk, stand, sit or lay down, but it was totally, 100%, without a doubt worth it. I truly loved every minute of the experience. Even when I was scared out of my skull or in agony, I loved it!  My favorite part of the course was anything muddy. I loved all of the mud obstacles. So.Much.Fun!!! My favorite part of the day, the camaraderie. Helping strangers, being helped by strangers and my gruesome foursome of Kelly, Ben, Hubby and me. We stuck together through thick and thin. There were tears, and laughs, and so many bonding exeriences.  We made it through every obstacle together and I owe them everything! 

Will I do it again? I really think I could, or would, but it would have to be with the right team.  I am not sure my teammates would ever choose to do this again, although it's clear that none of them regret signing up or the experience.... I don't know.... For me it was....Empowering!
Our entire team
{The Bedraggled Posse}
right after we crossed the finish line and were handed the
BEST TASTING BEER I have ever had in my life! 
When is the last time you truly earned a beer??

And our Gruesome Foursome....


"When Life Get's Muddy, You Get Tough My Friend!"
~Doug Grady

The best recap of Tough Mudder I've heard yet!
The {unofficial} Tough Mudder Song

A MUST HEAR if you really want to know how I felt This past Saturday! 


1 comment:

Wendy Rose said...

I'm SO PROUD OF YOU! Half Marathon Schmarathon!!!!! This is down right CRAZY!!!!!!!!

Way to go, Shelbs! You totally deserved that beer...LOVE THE PICTURES!

Like what you just read??
Then VOTE for A Mother's Musings, Mishaps and Milestones on 'Top Mommy Blogs', 'Top 100 Mommy Bloggers' and 'Picket Fence Blogs' by clicking the buttons below. {votes can be cast daily}
      Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory The Top 100 Mommy Blogs