Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tough Mudder 2012!!

All clean at the beginning!
Have you heard of the Tough Mudder?  Well if you haven't just imagine the most difficult, exhausting, and rewarding challenge you could ever participate in!  This year, three of my close friends from college came all the way from Nebraska to Beaver Creek, Colorado to participate.  The course takes place over a 12 mile course that ventures almost directly up the ski slopes and then back down to the finish.  Doesn't sound challenging enough?  How about 25 crazy obstacles too?  Sounds perfect!

On this past Saturday morning we took on the challenge, and unfortunately I hadn't done much training.  I knew this race would be super difficult but an unfortunate knee issue really kept me off my feet until the race.  I wasn't where I wanted to be but I had to try.  Our heat started at 9:40 A.M. and approaching the starting line, I freaked out.  Was I completely nuts?  Good thing I have some really supportive friends that got me pumped up.  Standing at the line with several hundred other people, the starting bell sounded and we were off.  All nerves were gone as adrenaline took over.  I felt great!  As we charged down the starting hill, we ran past tons of screaming spectators, then we turned a massive corner and saw the trail.  It was going straight up the ski slope.  Not only that, the snow makers were in full effect making the slope slippery and cold.  What a great way to start!

Almost half way!
I really wish I could remember every single obstacle we faced but exhaustion over the long day has made everything run together.  The first obstacle I remember clearly involved water and a bit of electricity.  Yep that's right, electricity.  Basically we had to do an army crawl for 30ft in a couple inches of water with wires hanging down.  And some of those wires were electrified!  And they hurt!  I crawled past the first wire and BANG!  I got a big shock!  Same thing with the second wire.  Bang! Shocked again.  I have never crawled so fast in my life!  We all had a good laugh about it when we got out but I was not looking forward to it again.  The next big obstacle that I remember and will absolutely never forget was called the "Arctic Enema".  It's as awful as it sounds.  Basically huge roll away dumpsters were filled with shoulder deep ice water.  And we jumped in.  And then swam under a wall in the middle and tried to crawl out the other side.  I was wondering why it was so quiet near this area.  I thought people would be screaming after going into the frigid water but you can't.  The cold sucks the breath from your lungs.  It was invigorating in a strange way.

Continuing up the mountain sides we traveled over ice walls, huge wooden walls, over and under logs until we reached the peak after 7.5 miles.  We were wiped out and only barely half way done.  The descent was much better.  We climbed through more water, under barbed wire, over rings, up snowy cliffs, under more electrified wired, over balance beams, up a huge quarter pipe and finally through the gauntlet.  I was super proud of making it over all the obstacles except for falling off the balance beam and getting soaked all over again.  I even made it over the monkey bar obstacle with what seemed like 1000 rungs!

The last and final obstacle was hundreds of wires hanging over a 30ft muddy pit.  Many of which were electrified.  As our team of four was joined by a random contestant we took of running for the finish.  We made it most of the way through then it looked like a car wreck.  Four of us running through went down in a heap.  A pile in the mud.  My friend Matt tripped in front of me and as I went to jump over him, BAM! Shocked big time in the hip.  I went down right next to him but we made it.  We gathered together and finished the race as a team.  I don't think I have been that tired ever before or more elated to finish a challenge.  I would compare this feeling to climbing Kilimanjaro.  I had a great team to help me finish this course and as of right now, only one bleed to show for it.  I know doing this with hemophilia probably wasn't the best idea but I will never regret the experience.
Victory beer!
THE TEAM! Kyle Fritz, Phil Williams, Matt Rediger, and Me

Check out more pictures of my facebook page and keep posted for more videos!  I need to edit the GoPro footage so you don't have to watch hours of running and can just see the obstacles.