And now we come to the last three miles of the Tough Mudder! The race organizers definitely saved the best obstacles for last, and I have no complaints about any of the final five challenges of the course. Well, maybe one or two. 🙂
Directly after the rope bridge came the dreaded balance beam, Twinkle Toes (#21). Whereas in most cases I felt that the pictures I had seen made the obstacles look harder than they actually were, in this case, the pictures I had seen didn’t even come close to the difficulty of the obstacle. What I had seen was something like this:
What I got was this:
That’s right, a long and high balance beam suspended at least 10 ft. over water. On top of this, you weren’t allowed to walk the beam alone. By the time you got on, there were 1-2 on the obstacle ahead of you, and if they shook, you shook. If they fell, you had a hard time not falling in yourself. I didn’t make it very far, and I’d like to blame it on someone ahead of me shaking the beam, but who knows if I would have made it. I do have to say that of the 50+ people that I watched trying to traverse this obstacle, only one made it across. We cheered for him. This was the only obstacle that we didn’t complete.
We swam across the water, climbed out the other side and then ran for about 400 meters until we came to ANOTHER water obstacle, and the worst one at that. Dry Wood (#22) meant having to pick up a log and carry it into the lake, going a good distance out to the middle of the lake and then back to shore. I think the idea was to keep the log dry, but a lot of people used it as a flotation device. The water was stinky and nasty, filled with algae and various other forms of swamp life that covered your body when you came out. But you couldn’t complain, because it’s Tough Mudder, and they can make you swim in whatever they want. It took at least 15 minutes to complete, and was pretty draining, especially if you picked up a big log.
It was a grueling mile and a half before we got to the Mystery Obstacle (#23), which looked like another simple water obstacle, walking up to your waist. The difference is that they had dug several holes at various points along the way, meaning that every few steps, the bottom would drop out and you would go up to your neck or deeper. A cool idea, and at that point I was just happy not to be running anymore.
My muscles were extremely tired as I neared the Chernobyl Jacuzzi (#24). This was a big pool of multi-colored water. You had to jump in the water, submerge and swim underneath a barrier to get to the other side. They chilled the water, so it was like jumping into a slushy. This was the coldest water I’ve jumped into outside of a lake in Siberia. (Pretty impressive.) Coming out of the water was a visceral experience. It made you feel alive, like getting baptized again. As soon as I emerged from the water, I let out a primal whoop. It was strangely rejuvenating, an ice bath of sorts to my cold muscles. One obstacle to go…
Probably the obstacle that gets the most hype is the last one, Electroshock Therapy (#25). It involves running through an wooden structure with live electric wires suspended from the top. The wires carry as much as 10,000 volts. After watching videos of this on YouTube, I thought that it would mainly be a mental exercise and the electricity wouldn’t hurt that badly. It was just having the guts to run in there.
We stopped to watch a bigger guy and a petite woman run through there. Oddly enough, the big guy got knocked down while the woman made it through unscathed. I thought to myself, if she can do it, so can I! At first, it felt like static electricity, no big deal. But at the end a few wires converged on my chest, delivering an incredible shock. It was an involuntary muscle response – I went down.
This isn’t me, but this is basically what happened to me. I did a somersault in the mud, popped up, high fived Dave and we finished the race!
What was it like to be electrocuted with 10,000 volts? It was epic. It didn’t hurt, it was just… a shock. I know, I know, lame. But they call it a shock for a reason.
Next: Final Thoughts on the Mudder