You read that right, I actually enjoyed running (OK mostly walking) 5 miles and taking on 14 mentally and physically tough obstacles. About 6 weeks ago, my coworker/friend, Maddie, was talking about her friends wanting to do a Half Tough Mudder. I was feeling especially strong after my pilates class that morning (lol), and for some crazy reason, I decided to sign-up too. Another coworker/friend, Connor, and 3 of Maddie’s friends signed up as well. And Team Mudmosa was born!
I hadn’t run in months and was just starting to get back into the routine of working out regularly again, so some training was going to be in order. I looked into training programs to work up to 5 miles, pinned a bunch on Pinterest, buuuuut never started any of them. Luckily, Maddie and Connor didn’t really train either — we were taking more of the “this is for fun” point-of-view.
Half Tough Mudder Race
And then there we were. Waking up on our own will at 5:45 AM on a Saturday to go run 5 miles through nasty mud and swamp filled trails with 14 obstacles thrown into the mix. After checking-in, getting assigned our number, and checking our bags, we found ourselves at the starting line: the horn sounded, and we were off!
Obstacle #1: Kiss of Mud 2.0
After about a half-mile of running, we arrived at our first obstacle: Kiss of Mud 2.0. They didn’t waste any time introducing us to the mud. This obstacle required you to army crawl 20 yards or so under barbed wire through a thick layer mud. The trail took us directly through a nasty swamp directly after.
Half Tough Mudde Obstacle #2: Skidmarked
Okay, the first obstacle completed, not too bad. Another quarter mile or so and we reached the next one: Skidmarked. This was a slanted wall that you had to pull yourself up and over and then climb down the other side. Teamwork is imperative in the Tough Mudder. We all helped each other over, either giving a boost from the bottom or helping pull from the top.
Obstacle #3: Everest 2.0
Alright, the second one was done, still feeling OK. Another half mile of running and swimming through yet another swamp, we reached Everest 2.0. Now this one was daunting. It’s basically a huge halfpipe that you have to run up. My advice? Don’t hesitate, just go for it. Someone at the top will try and catch your hands to help pull you up. You may not make it the first try, but keep going.
Obstacle #4: Ladder to Hell
Another half mile, and were at our next challenge: Ladder to Hell. The name sounds scary, but in the grand scheme of things, this one was honestly kinda lame. Though it did feel like that scene in Jurassic Park where they’re climbing over the electric fence, so that was cool haha!
Obstacle #5: Devil’s Beard
On to the next one: Devil’s Beard. From the looks of it, you wouldn’t think this would be that difficult, but that net is HEAVY. I could barely hold it up on my back and walk on my own. And that rope is really rough… does not feel good on an exposed back.
Obstacle #6: Hero Carry
The next obstacle is where I made a crucial mistake: Hero Carry. I had done plenty of research on all the events and knew that this one was just one of your teammates carrying you for a leg of the race. Naturally, I called dibs on the only guy on our team to carry me so I wouldn’t have to carry anyone. Little did I realize, you have to switch halfway through. So yes, I carried a 6ft, 225 lb guy on my back… until I eventually lost my balance and crashed us into a pile of stickers. We spent the next mile trying to pull stickers out of our hands and knees. Not my best moment.
Obstacle #7: Shawshanked
The next obstacle was my least favorite of all: Shawshanked. It required you to army crawl through mud, under barbed wire again, and then climb up through a large pipe using a rope. The tube was very claustrophobic, and sliding up it on your back with all the mud and sand was pretty painful on the exposed part of my back/shoulder. Once you managed to make it up the tube, you then had to drop back first into a big pool of water, swim to the end, and then climb out of the pool. It was exhausting.
Obstacle #8: Berlin Walls
Another half-mile of running and we were at the Berlin Walls. These were a set of two 10 ft wooden walls that you had to help each other climb over. The first one I had a little help with (shout out to Connor lifting all 3 of us girls multiple times throughout the race), but the second one I was able to pull myself up on my own!
Obstacle #9: Birth Canal
At this point, we had a little over a mile left and still 6 obstacles. Next came the “Birth Canal.” The birth canal basically requires you to crawl under these water-filled tarps… seems easy enough, but they are HEAVY. Side note – Connor had waited all race to make a C-section joke at this obstacle, and it failed miserably hahaha they didn’t think it was funny at all.
Obstacle #10: Pyramid Scheme
On to the next: Pyramid Scheme. You had to literally build a human chain to help your team up and over the angled wall. At one point, I was on my stomach dangling down the wall, being held by my ankles, reaching to help pull more people up. This one definitely required you to come together as a “tough mudder family” and work with whoever else was there.
Half Tough Mudder Obstacle #11: Pitfalll
Pitfall was after. At first glance, it was just a large pit of mud you had to crawl through… little did we know, there were mounds of mud every so often that would trip you and then send you face-first into the mud.
Alright, 11 down, 3 to go (3 of the most physically challenging, might I add).
Obstacle #12: Blockness Monster
Blockness Monster consisted of a set of rotating blocks that you had to climb over. You had to work together with everyone else to time the rotating of the blocks by distributing your weight/pulling down on them, all while in chest-deep, nasty, muddy water.
Obstacle #13: The Mud Mile 2.0
The second to last obstacle was easily the toughest physically to do: The Mud Mile 2.0. It was mounds of muds, dropping into pools of mud and water. Sounds easy enough, but someone had to boost you up and over, and then you had to then pull them up. It was exhausting… especially after almost 5 miles and 12 other obstacles (see the dramatic photo the photographer captured of me haha).
Obstacle #14: The Flying Squirrel
The final obstacle was the flying squirrel. You had to climb up on a platform, jump onto a trampoline, reach for a rope, that would then zip you to the finish line. Also much harder that it looks. The first time, I reached for the rope and fell almost immediately onto the mat below. I had just completed 5 miles and every other obstacle, there was no way I wasn’t going to complete this one. So I tried again. This time, I held on longer… just long enough to pass the soft mats and fall straight onto the hard mulched ground. And that was going to have to be good enough for me haha!
Finishing a Half Tough Mudder
It was so rewarding passing the finish line and get that icy cold finisher’s beer! The Tough Mudder was one of the most challenging and fun things I’ve ever done! As silly as it sounds, it really did bring the 4 of us teammates closer. I would highly recommend this race to everyone, even if you aren’t in peak physical shape. None of us trained and still had a blast. You can take everything at your own pace, and it’s so much fun to do it with friends.
If anyone reading this is going to be in Sydney this October and wants to do the tough mudder, let me know!
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