So I have to admit. I’ve been procrastinating writing this race recap. Much as I’d procrastinate a 4th grade book report. I just have SO much to say about the race that I’m not quite sure where to begin. I don’t want to leave anything out, but I don’t want to bore anyone to tears either!
I guess I just need to start writing and see what happens right? When it doubt, start from the beginning. Tough Mudder Race Recap: Go!
The Boston course was held in Gilford, NH, at Gunstock Mountain Resort. It’s a pretty major ski resort during the winter, and the bulk of the course went up and down the ski slopes and neighboring mountains.
Some comments on the difficulty of the course from the Tough Mudder facebook page:
- “Can honestly say this is the first time out of the last 3yrs of doing this, that I wasn’t sure if I would finish. But hey I Muddered on and got the Headband!”
- “Boston 2013 was my 3rd and most difficult Tough Mudder. This is by far my most proud headband.”
- “I never heard so many people swearing as we started up the mountain for the fourth time!”
More on that later.
Tough Mudder is a huge event, and Gunstock could not accommodate all the parking. So we had to park about 30 minutes away, and take shuttles to the main event.
I drank one cup of coffee, a bottle of water, and a bottle of Gatorade before the race. Needless to say, a potty break was necessary once we arrived at the parking lot. We didn’t see any port-o-potties so me and my roommates kept it classy and found a few big rocks that looked like as good a place as any. No shame. (Later we noticed that they did provide port-o-potties, woops).
We shuttled to the event, had another bathroom break, registered, dropped off our bags, and drank more fluids.
Oh and! I decided to tape my ears. I debated long and hard about what to do about my silly earrings, and taping them seemed like the best option. I was comforted when Sarah also had to keep her cartilage earrings in, and Andrea wore some for team support.
We were ready to make our way to the starting line!
The rest of these pictures are borrowed from the Tough Mudder Facebook page. I decided to go ahead and recap my race even though I don’t have any of my own pictures yet. When I get some pictures, I’ll be sure to share in a random future post!
To get to the starting line, you have to prove you can climb the Berlin Wall.
We had the boys help us with this one! I’m 5’1 and can’t reach anything haha.
Then we were off! Straight up the mountain!
Way to tire us out right from the get-go. We had fresh legs so it wasn’t too bad yet. We looped around and went back down the mountain, and met with our first obstacle: The Kiss of Mud. I wasn’t worried about this guy at all.
It wasn’t difficult, I just shimmied along on my elbows and knees, but I definitely got scraped and bruised up on a ton of rocks! It’s all part of the experience.
We continued on with some hilly trail running, no problems at all. I kept my own pace and didn’t try to keep up with the track star boys. Boy was I glad I kept gas in the tank for the second half of the race! We eventually met up with our second obstacle: Trench Warfare. If you were claustrophobic this one might’ve been scary, but I wasn’t worried. I just crawled right through.
We kept on truckin’, trail running along, until the next obstacle. Bale Bonds. Again, no problem with this one.
Our team took an impromptu collective bathroom break at this point. Classy again, barely covered in the woods. Hey—you gotta do what you gotta do. There weren’t any port-o-potties along the course. As it turned out, I wouldn’t have needed them because I was definitely dehydrated. We had a water stop at this point, I had a few cups then we kept moving forward.
Next up was the Hold Your Wood challenge. We channeled our inner Tony Perkis’s: “Come on you devil log!”
The boys definitely carried the bulk of the weight with this one. I was a little too short to help out that much.
Soon after this challenge was another one, climbing over a wall with the boys’ help again.
Don’t know what we would’ve done without ‘em!
We ran for another good stretch, and were probably around 5 or 6 miles at this point. Then we met up with a famous challenge: The Arctic Enema. I was excited about this one!
I didn’t hesitate, jumped in as close to the wall as possible, submerged myself under it, then tried to get out as quickly as possible. My muscles were moving in slow motion, and I’m pretty sure I let out my first ever guttural scream to pull myself out of that tank. Holy crap! It was a blast! Pretty positive I looked just like this.
And once I got out my body was still freezing, so I probably looked like this.
I jogged in place for a bit while I waited for the rest of my team, then we moved on and ran for another mile or so. This is when I felt my best because I had just cooled off in the ice water. We were grooving right along. We had a water stop somewhere around here too (I can’t remember where all of them were).
Then we got to Obstacle 7: WWP Carry. Matt carried me like this and it was terrifying:
And I carried Matt like this. I progressively shrank as I took each step forward. He’s heavy!
The 8th obstacle, Walk the Plank was up next, but it was closed during our wave! Something malfunctioned earlier in the day, and they haven’t told us much more than that yet. I was a little disappointed about this, I was looking forward to that obstacle.
The obstacles around this area were close together for spectators, so another one was right around the corner. Cage crawl. This one was pretty fun, and it was nice to lay in the relatively cool water.
Another one close-by, Kiss of Mud #2. Repeating obstacles wasn’t all that exciting, but we got ‘er done.
Then came the worst part of the race for me: 1.5 miles or so of climbing the mountain, in the hot sun, with no water, and no obstacles. It was 92 degrees, and as much as the Arctic Enema cooled me down, it didn’t take long at all for me to heat back up again.
I was feeling pretty dehydrated towards the end of this stretch. Looking back, I wish I’d had half a banana or something they had offered at a previous stop. I didn’t feel like I wanted food at that point, but I think the extra energy would’ve helped.
Every time you thought you’d reached the top, you’d turn another corner and realize you had to keep going. Mental toughness was key.
Not a single person was running. There was no way you could up those slopes.
Some areas were filled with deep mud, and I almost lost my sneaker in one of those areas. I curled my toes to grip my shoe and keep it on, and immediately my calf muscle seized up. It killed! I asked Matt what I should do and he said to stretch it. So I stood there for a couple minutes, stretched it, and then it was fine. We kept moving along.
Once we made it to the top, we went right back down. Running down the mountain was easy on the lungs, but still hard on the legs and my knees especially . My left knee was bothering me quite a bit.
Finally we saw an obstacle! The Fire Walker. We had to jump over a little fire and land in a pool of water. I was a little intimidated by this one, but I did it!
Then, finally, a water stop. I was absolutely desperate for water at this point. I chugged probably 4 cups at least. I didn’t want to drink too much and risk cramping up, but I needed it bad. I think I had some Gu chomps or half a banana around here too.
Once we finished our water break, we walked up to the next obstacle that was nearby. The Mud Mile. This one wasn’t difficult, but I was still feeling pretty overheated and dehydrated at this point, so it wasn’t too fun.
And then, back up the mountain. For the third time now.
The water I’d drank started to process, so I didn’t feel too bad at this point. Then we met up with Funky Monkey. I made it almost halfway across, then looked down at the cool, refreshing water. The logical side of me took over: why on earth am I exerting myself to avoid this cool, refreshing water? I want in! So I let go.
It’s the only obstacle I didn’t complete and I have zero regrets. I needed to do whatever I could to stay cool.
The boys were crazy! They did this one twice. For the fun of it.
Then it was back up the mountain.
Until we hit the next obstacle, Cliffhanger. Which really was no different from the rest of the cliffs we were climbing. I honestly didn’t even notice it, but according to the course map, it existed.
More of a grueling mountain climb, in the open sun, and I was feeling dehydrated again. It had probably been at least 1-1.5 miles of mountain climbing since Funky Monkey. Finally, we approached a water stop. Our team had split into two halves, and I was at the front of the second half. I saw some teammates waiting in line for food, blew right by them, and went straight for the water. I chugged and chugged. I was dying.
Then they handed me half a banana and started talking about the Boa Constrictor obstacle. What? I didn’t even see it! In my delirious dehydrated stupor I had skipped right over it. Andrea went back with me, so I could do the obstacle. It was an easy one and yay! More cool water.
The rest of our team caught up, and we trucked on. Still going up the mountain.
Next up: The Electric Eel. Before starting the race I was convinced I would skip this one. I was really nervous about my earrings being in. But I talked to some fellow Mudders and they were wearing earrings too and said it would be fine. Ok then—no excuses. Let’s do this. I waited for a row to be relatively clear, then I hopped in the water and went as fast as humanly possible. And woo! No shocks!
After this obstacle, we finally started to head back down the mountain. Again, this was easy on the lungs, and we didn’t need to stop as much, but it was tough on my knees. I kind of speed-walked down most of it, ran at times, then switched to a side-skip-shuffle whenever my knee was hurting. It sort of worked haha.
Then came two tough obstacles for the boys, first up: getting us girls over the Berlin Walls.
Pulling myself on top of the wall wasn’t too hard, but landing strong was difficult at this point. We were right around mile 10, and my legs were nearly spent. It’s a far drop for this short girl! I got it done though.
We ran down another little ways, then came Lumberjacked, which was basically pulling ourselves over a couple logs.
Thank god for the boys!
My knee was really hurting at this point, and I couldn’t wait to be finished. I told Matt it was bothering me, and he said “well in 50 years I’ll buy you a new one!” Ha! Thanks.
Everyone was convinced that we had to be done soon. At the very least, we had to be done with going up the mountain, right?
We turned the corner and there she was. Another mountain climb. You have GOT to be kidding me. I definitely looked like this guy (on the left) climbing up this last slope.
It was brutal.
Once we got to the top, there was another obstacle. I don’t even know where I found the strength to complete this one. My whole body wanted to die at this point. But I did it!
Then it was back down the mountain, and my knee was really hurting at this point. Bad.
But I wasn’t gonna quit, I just kept doing my patented side-skip-shuffle (another girl said she liked my style haha) and made my way down the mountain. We were past the 11 mile marker now.
Then—at last—the final two obstacles. First up: Everest. I honestly didn’t know if I had it in me to sprint, my knee wanted to explode. But I pushed through, sprinted, and—missed.
Ah! I had to try again. Apparently I jumped way too soon, you didn’t really need to jump at all. I gave it everything I had, sprinted at it again, and made it up this time. Thank you boys!
Last but not least, right around the corner, Electroshock Therapy. I was also convinced I would skip this one. I was pretty nervous about it! Andrea skipped it, and me and Sarah hung back. Determined to try it, but a little nervous. We watched the boys go through, and when they survived, Sarah made her way through it. I liked the looks of her path and followed suit.
And thankfully, no shocks for me! I just went as fast as possible to get it over with.
I’m so glad I did it and didn’t chicken out! I can officially say I did every obstacle. I earned the orange headband!
It felt so great to finish!
Tough Mudder: I’m not sure if I’ll see you again in Boston, but a different, flatter course is a possibility!
Post-Race and Final Comments
The heat was intense. More than 100 people were treated for heat related illnesses and about 20 were hospitalized. I can’t even remember how many times I shouted “MEDIC” as I ran up and down the mountain. It seemed like people were dropping left and right. I spoke with a fellow Mudder after the course who had ran a few before, she said this was the worst she’d ever seen. There weren’t enough medics to help everyone who needed it, and she saw a man pass out and stay passed out for several minutes before someone came to help.
Getting onto a shuttle after the race ended was a bit annoying. They were poorly marked, and it was very confusing. I also didn’t like waiting in the same line as all the cool, clean spectators. Doesn’t this orange headband give me some cutting rights? I’m dead!
I witnessed a guy puking on our shuttle ride to the parking lot. Poor guy. Then I heard from Matt that one of our boy teammates threw up on his bus too. He was fading fast towards the end of the race, so I wasn’t surprised. I told him to make sure he drank plenty of Gatorade and water since puking dehydrates you even more than you already are.
I wasn’t fully dehydrated at the end, but I was feeling some mild symptoms. I’ll put it this way—I chugged a bottle of Gatorade, a bottle of water, then two more large glasses of water, before finally having to pee at 7:45pm. My roommates weren’t as bad as me, they both had to go immediately after the race. Everyone’s body handles heat differently.
I iced my knee after the race and all is good now. I’ll probably take it easy for at least a week to be safe. It had never hurt me before until I started running down these damn mountains!
Anyway. I’m thankful that I survived. I did it. Every obstacle. I fought my fears and pushed myself. I didn’t pass out or throw up in the heat. I pushed through on one of the most difficult Tough Mudder courses there is, in 90+ degree temperatures. If that’s not badass, I don’t know what is.