Friday, January 13, 2012

Tough Mudder Prep

Tomorrow is the Tough Mudder, my first race of 2012! TM isn't timed so it is technically a "challenge", not a race. It is a 12.5 mile mud run with big obstacles...stuff like your basic wall climbs, mud to slog through and hills to climb. It also has not-so-basic stuff like electric wires to run through, 15 foot high platforms to jump off into really cold water and a 40 foot trash dumpster filled with ice water that you have to swim across.

I think the hardest part of the race for me will be the cold. I'm not good with being cold. And they start you right off with the ice bath so I'm gonna be wet and cold right off the bat! Yikes. To put it in perspective, I was shivering uncontrollably after the Warrior Dash and it was 80' that day and the mud wasn't even cold and I only got halfway wet. I don't know how I'm going to handle being in and out of cold water for 12.5 miles when it's 55' out. YIKES! And you have to fully submerge in the ice bath!

I figured that appropriate gear was my only strategy. And to make sure I had the most appropriate gear, I organized a Tough Mudder prep day. We met at my house dressed and ready to do a mini Tough Mudder with as many obstacles as we could find. It was silly and fun, but also pretty helpful.

Step one - jump into the 50 degree pool.

Yeah, jumping didn't happen. We are wusses and instead we walked slowly down the steps. Frickin' BRRRRRR!
My plan was to swim under, but I couldn't bring myself to go any deeper than this. BRRRRR! This doesn't bode well for ICE water.Next step - walls. We climbed over the block wall to get out of the backyard. We all managed the 6 foot wall. Too bad the walls in the real Tough Mudder are 10 feet! Or maybe 12?
We ran to the park for our next obstacles. There was discussion about how running would be in wet socks and should we not even wear socks? Wet socks were fine. No one got blisters. Irene added an obstacle on the way by pushing her two kids for the run:
By the time we got to the park, our tights and shirts were already nearly dry and we weren't cold at all. Of course, I was wearing a coat too! At the park we practiced crawling on gravel:We learned that gloves would be a really good idea! And maybe knee pads, too. Ouch! Then we practiced tunnels, or the closest we could come to tunnels:
Balance beam:Monkey bars:In the real Tough Mudder, both the balance beam and the monkey bars are over more ice water, so if you fail - you get cold and wet...again.

We decided on gloves for everything except the monkey bars. I decided I would need a camelbak. There are 4 water stations over 12.5 miles. I drank a lot in our 1.5 mile run to the park. I like my water! I also was able to make a shoe decision. I wanted to wear my Tevas but I was worried that since they don't have laces so I wouldn't be able to get them tight enough to prevent losing them in the mud obstacles. I wore them on the prep run, but they didn't seem to drain or dry faster than regular running shoes. I will wear running shoes instead. The gear prep day was fun and very helpful! We also decided that Christy's pink shirt was the warmest and fastest drying (and the cutest) so I bought one for all the willing participants on our team so we would all be cute together. Even Brian! :)

Tomorrow - Tough Mudder!

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