TOUGH MUDDER: TOUGH ENOUGH?

…It was definitely tough enough! For those who have no clue what I am talking about, the Tough Mudder is 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by the British Special Forces to test all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. Finishing the fastest is not the objective, but completing the Tough Mudder with your team is. Tough Mudder is 3-4 times longer and tougher than Warrior Dash or Ruckus. On average 78% of the participants that enter the Tough Mudder finish. The New England event took place at Mount Snow, VT.  You can check out the obstacles and information here.

Experience:

TEAM TOUGH MUDDER FUGGERS

I had a blast! We went up on Friday night and stayed over so we wouldn’t have to drive up on race day (sitting in a car for 3 hours…. Not a good idea).  On Saturday, we were supposed to go off at 1:30 pm. We were bummed because the course would have been run down, we would probably end by 4, which it would be cold by then, the party would have been over, then driving back late night… it just wasn’t ideal. We got to the course early to register where we saw so many interesting characters! There were people in costumes, there were people wearing chains; one guy did the entire course with a 12KG KETTLEBELL! Luckily, we got onto the course earlier and took off at 10:40am.

At the starting line, the TM Team was revving up all the Tough Mudders, chanting, yelling, cheering; we were fired up! The beginning of the race was running up the mountain. There was mud, there were rocks, there was mud, there was snow, and did I say there was mud? We found ourselves throughout the entire course, in between obstacles, running up and down the mountain. By the end of the course, let’s just say I felt comfortable running down the mountains at a fast pace.

The motivating factor was the unknown that lied ahead. We were always looking forward to the next obstacle. There was never a part of the race where I was thinking, “I want to stop,” it was more like, “I don’t want to do this!” But I did. Having a team definitely helped!  There was never time to slow down. You pushed yourself to keep up, and you pushed yourself to stay ahead.  And when you finished, there was a sense of accomplishment between everyone, a bond.

TRAINING

For my training, I mostly worked with kettlebells, and weights. I may have ran three times from February to May, if that many. I did kettlebell interval training and complex circuits 2x/ week. I included one day a week of circuit training for my “cardio,” and kept up with my heavy lifts 2x/ week.  I felt great throughout the entire race! Goes to show you that you do not need to run to stay in shape!

Here are my superlatives for the racecourse:

Most Challenging Obstacle: The Ball Shrinker

The Ball Shrinker was by far the most difficult obstacle overall; physically and mentally. Two tight ropes, one on top and one on the bottom; so you are standing in between these two ropes. Other people are on the rope at the same time as you, so the ropes are swaying back and forth, while people try to balance on them. The objective is to get cross the pond. The water is about 8 feet deep, and 35- degrees F. As you got farther along the rope, you got deeper into the freezing water. However, Ryan and I had a 350-pound guy in front of us that just stopped in the dead middle of the rope. I could barely hold on to the bottom rope, (it was pretty low down in the water). I was holding onto the top rope for dear life, meanwhile we were stuck, moving nowhere. After about a minute of sitting on the rope trying to figure out the next step, I sternly told Ryan to “MOVE AROUND THE MAN.”  Later he told me he had never seen that fearful and terrified look in my eyes before. It made him move fast. The freezing water started to affect my body, and my heart was beating out of my chest, I was losing my breath, and started to feel like I was losing control of my body. I pulled myself to shore, moving along the rope, and had never been so alleviated to be over with such a gruesome experience. After that obstacle, which was only 3 miles in, I kept on saying, “If I could do the Ball Shrinker, I can do anything!”

Ball Shrinker

Most Fun Obstacle: The Killa Gorilla

The Killa Gorilla was running up and down the same muddy and messy hill 10 times. We had to climb up the muddy and wet hill and then run/ slide down the muddy way. We had such a blast going at full speed up and down the hills we were laughing and smiling the entire time!

Most Demanding Physically: Funky Monkey

The Monkey Bars were greased with oil and butter and placed over a pool of freezing water that when (it was only a matter of when) you fell, you would fall into the icy water. I made it through 4 monkey bars before falling in. I remember thinking “ This stinks… but you know what? Hanging up here and going slow and steady is better than being in the water.” Then I fell in.

Funky Monkey

Most Demanding Mentally: Tree Hugger

Climbing up the steep, steep mountain about 6 miles into the course. This was probably the 10th hill we had climbed and when you got to this, you were over the whole climbing up the mountain ordeal. Actually, a lot of people had to climb to the side of this one because people were starting to cramp up.

Most Memorable: Electric Shock Therapy

The end of the race, and the only thing that is separating you from the finish line is the electric shock “field” of wires. Here’s the catch: There is no sprinting through the wires because there is mud underneath, that if you don’t choose your path wisely, your foot could get stuck or you could slip and fall. I got zapped three times. The first one was an “ouch,” the second one was an “OWWW!” and the third one was a “OWWW! AHHH!” Tough Mudder Photographers got a good glimpse of that last one!

... it hurt!!

Most Team Oriented: Berlin Walls

The 20-foot wooden wall was impossible to get over without the help of fellow Tough Mudders. They would help you up, while you had to jump and grab onto the top of the wooden ledge, swing your leg over, hang on, and then jump down. Repeat 6 TIMES !!!!

Most Exciting Moment: Getting the Tough Mudder Headband when you finished the course!

Would I do it again? ABSOLUTELY!

We finished is just over 3 hours, with no injuries!

Here are descriptions of some of the other obstacles that we needed to complete to become Tough Mudders:

Braveheart Charge- Uphill run for the first mile

Kiss of Mud- crawling underneath barbwire in a muddy field up hill

Tire Run- 50 yards running through different size tires with mud underneath. Try not to get your feet stuck!

Fish ‘n Chips- A pond filled with mulch and vinegar that you must climb in and out of, then walk under a tight cargo net.

Boa Constrictor- Climb through a narrow tunnel on your hands and knees, that as you get deeper into the tunnel starts to get deeper into the freezing cold water. On the bottom of the tunnel there are rocks and pebbles to scratch up those innocent knees.

Boa Constricter

Hold Your Wood- Carry a log up and down the mountain.

Ice Glacier Climb- 20 ft wall of snow that you needed to climb over. Once at the top, you needed to slide down the other side of snow.

Chairlift Hurdles- Hurdle over the chairlifts. However, you could not just roll over the hurdles because there were handles on the top of each one. Underneath the hurdles the ground was either uneven, wet, muddy, or all of the above! You had to watch where you stepped! The hurdles were up to my hip!

Walk the Plank- Climb up a 20 ft wall with a rope. At the top, there is a ledge where you jump 20 feet into freezing cold water, swim to the side and climb up a slanted wooden wall.

Walk The Plank

Blood Bath- Freezing cold red water in a big tub divided by a large wooden wall that you must go under the water to get to the other side

Greased Lightning- Slide down a slippery slope into a freezing pond of mud

Overall, a great experience! I would totally recommend it to anyone that is looking for something to compete in and, of course, is tough enough. :)

Check out more photos of Mount Snow, VT Tough Mudders

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About trainwickedhard

About Me: My name is Ana Tocco. I am a recent graduate of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. I graduated with a B.S. in Kinesiology and walked on to the Womens' Rowing team where I dedicated three years to my athletic career. We were a successful crew winning A-10 Championship, Dad Vail Regatta, and US Rowing Collegiate Championship races. Before college, I played soccer and basketball and I still have the passion of team sports. I completed my internships at BNS Sports Science in Salem, MA and Athletic Evolution in Woburn ,MA. I was a Personal Trainer at FitCorp and currently am a Strength Coach/ Personal Trainer at Boyle's Strength and Conditioning Facility. I am RKC(Russian Kettlebell Challenge) Certified, a Functional Movement Specialist (FMS), and have my NSCAA Level IV Soccer Coaching Diploma and am a goalkeeper coach for Arlington High, Arlington, MA. If you are interested in working together to meet your fitness goals contact me at toccoana@gmail.com. My specialties include: Kettlebell Training, Strength and Conditioning, Functional Training, Circuit Training, Weight Loss, and Muscular Endurance Training.
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2 Responses to TOUGH MUDDER: TOUGH ENOUGH?

  1. Abby says:

    I’m looking at doing this race in the fall. I’m trying to decide between it and a Spartan Beast race in June. My biggest drawback is that it might be FREEEEEZING cold! Was it really okay doing it in cold weather? Yours is the first review I’ve read that did it when it was particularly cold. If I am going to recruit a team, I need to assure them it will be okay, even for a bunch of girls.

    I also worry about chafing. I mean, I’ve run long races (up to a marathon) and even without anything but sweat I sure got some sore spots. With dirt and mud in all of your crevices, doesn’t it get extra bad?

    Abby

    • Abby,
      I have not particpated in the Spartan Beast race, but Tough Mudder was more than fun. If you love a challenge, I would definately go for it! It was cold for me because I did it in Vermont in the Beginning of May. It was not a sunny day, and it had snowed a few weeks prior. I am not a very big girl, but there was a variety of females training and competing in the race. If you are worried about your teammates, there is also the option of going around certain obstacles..but what’s the fun in that?!
      As for chafing, I never experienced any discomfort during the race. However, everyone is different. It is not 10 miles of running. There are obstacle courses, and with mud, water, snow, rain, etc. Again, every course is different- so if you pick a course in Florida or somewhere with warmer weather, then cold may not be an issue.

      Hope this was helpful!

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