As a whole, obstacles 11-14 were on the weak side. But one obstacle was potentially one of the most psychologically difficult of the course.
The eleventh obstacle was called The Log Bog Jog (#11). It is supposed to be a run through the woods while climbing and jumping over fallen logs. It was about as difficult as climbing over hay bales earlier in the course (an unmarked obstacle). On top of this, they were pipes and it wasn’t in the woods. So it should have been called the Pipe Crawl Over and Under. It took very little time and athleticism to pass.
After rounding a corner, we came to The Shake and Bake (#12). The idea behind this is that you go through a muddy pool of water and then crawl through the sand, effectively coating you in bread crumbs to bake in the hot sun. The idea sounded awesome, but the reality fell short of it. There was nothing to force you to crawl through the sand, only a low cargo net that could be easily surpassed like the previous Devil’s Beard Obstacle.
It seems TM intentionally makes some of the obstacles very easy and others more difficult. The more difficult obstacles tend to make for traffic jams, but it feels truly epic to pass them. The easy obstacles are added in to up the obstacle count, and you feel a little annoyed when you pass them because they were so easy.
There was a long run before the 13th Obstacle, Walk the Plank. This was the obstacle that I had been dreading the most. I have a thing about jumping into water that I can’t see through. Part of it is fear of losing my contacts and being blind the rest of the way, part of it is fear of the unknown depth of the water, part of it is fear of drowning (though I’m a decent swimmer). Something about jumping off a high platform into the water just freaked me out.
As we climbed the wooden ramp, I was surprised not to be feeling more apprehensive. The lady in front of me freaked out and tried to go back down, but everyone encouraged her until she jumped in. It was my turn, and I was thinking, “let’s just do it.” It all happened so fast, it’s like I didn’t have time to be afraid. I took a flying leap, went under and quickly resurfaced. Both contacts were safe, though I lost my headband in the process (I would get another one later).
Immediately after the jump, you had to swim across the pond to the other side. Making this more difficult was the next obstacle, Underwater Tunnels (#14), which involved bobbing underneath three rows of plastic barrels that were on the surface of the water. For this I used my goggles and got through it fine, climbing triumphantly out of the water on the other side.
There was a water station when we climbed out, so Dave and I took a break to drink some water and eat our energy gel packets. For us, this was the halfway point of the race. We were feeling great!
(Next: Longer Runs, Mt. Everest and Fire!)