Bryan finished the Tough Mudder!! He ran 12 miles around a course with tons of crazy obstacles. He had a lot of fun, but it was freezing cold with a wind.
Our day started with a great breakfast after a good nights sleeping at the Fort Gordon lodging. We had driven up Friday after work, and arrived around bedtime exhausted from the 5 hour car ride. The
room was nice, it was about 45 min to the race, and the kids conked out quickly. After eating we drove to the race sight; it took place at a motocross park. Driving up to the parking lot we could already see a few obstacles; giant walls to jump over, huge tires, and a few big wet conex containers. hmmmm.. While I got the kids in order Bryan went to packet pickup, and when we saw him again he was painted up! Stripes on his cheeks, number on his forehead and legs, and a smile for choosing to wear some long pants and a coat until race time. It was cold! The high got to 48 today, so when we were waiting for his start time of 11am it was still colder than that. There were barrels with fire for warming, thank goodness. We met up with the rest of his team – 5 other guys from the squadron – and they got ready. The team ‘uniform’ was a brown work shirt….can you hear the disappointment in my typing? There were teams there with cool team motivating shirts, teams dressed as cartoon characters, a team of guys in pink tights, and even a team of guys in European swim bottoms (just that!). So, the brown shirts seemed lame, however, as the race progressed EVERYONES outfit turned the same color as our guys so it then made alot of sense. Two other crazy wives showed up to cheer them on, so the kids and I had a fun crew to hang out with as we attempted to see the team run this course.
To enter the start line of the race you have to jump over a 6 foot wall. There was a great motivator at the start line getting all the racers pumped, laying down some safety rules, and then lead them in singing the national anthem. Then,….they were off!!!! and so were we!! running!!! The course was actually very spectator friendly – seemed they planned most of the big obstacles along a straight spectator path while the racers ran curvy loops around it. We did have to hustle, though. Especially at the beginning – we missed the first mud crawl trying to get our bearings, but figured the map out quickly and were able to see the guys hit up the first ‘Must see’ obstacle. The Icy Enema it was called; those conexes we saw were filled with icy water, and a barbed wire fenced you must swim (completely submerged) under. Just before Bryan’s team got to the ‘enema’ they added another crate full of ice!!! Bryan dove right in and came up on the other side. freezing. The rest of the team followed suite just as quick and they were off running to the next obstacle – up over the mud, and then onto the fire run. The kids and I ran to the fire area to see them run through and over the burning bales of hay. From there it slowed a bit while the racers did a mile or so loop in the woods of trail / river bottom running.
Avi was asleep this whole time, and snugged on my front with the kid carrier I made in Korea. Worked like a dream, kept him warm and comfy, and was convenient to run with. Zoe was such a team player and ran with me and the other gals from place to place without complaint. Seeing the upcoming obstacles kept up interest and kept her going! I bet we walked or ran almost 3 miles of our own watching Bryan.
After the team emerged from the woods they went up and over a giant hay bale pyramid, back in the woods, then out again for the ‘mile of mud’. Not a mile, but definitely mud. Runners were losing shoes left and right. Bryan did too, and had to tie them down TIGHT to make it the end of the mud where he had to crawl through a corrugated metal tube – then onward! down the hill and around to giant monkey bars over water. Bryan fell in. The kids and I missed this since Zoe got horribly caught up in the briar’s covering the field we ran through. Her poor little legs just couldn’t jump over them like us grown ups. That was fine, and we waited at the next obstacle where they had to crawl through some underground tunnels filled with pit holes. This was about halfway, and the race continued through the woods to another open area of obstacles. So, we followed the trail at a quick-walking pace and hoped to cut them off at the ‘spider’ by tromping in the woods. It didn’t work. We again got caught up in briar’s, Zoe got shwacked with a branch, we had to leap over a stream, and just missed them. It was fine. We saw them across the field getting ready for the Mud pit and huge mud mountain.
Thank goodness alot of these obstacles had a bit of a waiting line to get over/under/in them. It forced the guys on the team to slow a bit and let us take some fun pictures. This wasn’t a timed race…more a ‘can you finish’? kind of thing. Bryan jumped right in the mud pit – up over his waist! uck. He laboriously waded through it and scrambled out the other side. When all the guys were out they made a dash for mud mountain and made it about half way before starting to slide back down. At this point they all dug in, grabbed other people, or got a hand up. It was nuts and slippy. Over the other side Bryan was now cold. On this part of the course the wind was really whipping and though it was sunny, it was bitter. The kids and I stayed warm enough in our winter gear running around, but Bryan was starting to feel the cold. Good thing the race continued at a run for a while so he dried off and warmed up. The course took a long detour through the woods. The kids and I walked over to the next interesting obstacle – skipped a couple ‘Berlin Walls’ the other gals went to see – and camped on the ground for a bit to have a snack. Avi was awake by now, and wanted OUT! It was cold, though, so he was hungry and grumpy but cheered enough after eating and snuggling on my lap. When we looked up, there was Bryan carrying a giant log on his back as he walked in some tires. Crazy man chose a big one. We were on the run again to catch up to the sliding electric shock obstacle and then over to the water area. By this time Bryan and the guys seemed to be making great time, but were tired and drained and getting colder.
The worst was yet to come. They had to jump off a 20 foot high platform into the lake and swim out. So, now if they weren’t cold they were hypothermic. Seriously, there were other racers being taken by medics left and right. No longer were spirits high – they just needed to keep moving. The ran around the lake, and then had to wade back through it along a pull-me rope before getting to ‘The Wall’ It was a 20′ ish wall with a curvy bottom for the numerous people sliding back down after attempt to run and jump and catch a hand at the top. Bryan actually caught a fellow racers hand at the top on his second try and stayed to help teammates and others. Only two more obstacles to go: the balance beam over freezing water, and the final crazy run into dangling electrical wires up to 10000 volts. Zoe, Avi and I waited at this final one to see if Bryan got shocked as he tried to avoid the wires while jumping hay bales. I guess he only got a minor zap on the arm. The rest of the team made it, too, although one guy got a good jolt… and they crossed the finish line together. Freezing, shivering, and likely hypothermic. Their silver blankets didn’t do much. Bryan ate a banana, got some energy drink, and changed into his new Tough Mudder tshirt (it was dry!!). We gathered around a fire bin and then unceremoniously dispersed. Everyone was too cold to hang out, and just wanted to sit inside a hot car.
The whole day was super fun, and although Bryan was cold he had a blast and is already talking of doing another with me and maybe even one that has a kid version for Zoe. She was seriously bummed she couldn’t do some of the obstacles. ah, if only it were warmer I may have let her. =)