Tough Mudding

12:38 Sun 18 Jul 2010
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I just signed up for the Northern California “Tough Mudder” event, a seven-mile, high-altitude, obstacle-ridden, sadistically-conceived, mud-covered race/challenge at Bear Valley Mountain on 09 October 2010.

Why? A good question, particularly since I’m paying to suffer through it.

Many of my (clearly insane) gym mates at CrossFit KMSF are think it will be “fun”. Most of them signed up some time ago, but I’d been holding off. My main reasons for deciding to do it are: because I’ve never done anything like it before; because it’s motivating to have something to train for; and because it’ll be good to go through it with the rest of Squad Ciso. Fun, however, is not an apt description.

I’m intimidated by the altitude. It starts at 6600 feet and I think goes over 8000 feet. The last time I was close to that kind of altitude, in Tahoe years ago, it had a significant effect on me. It’s uncomfortable and a little frightening to feel like you can’t get enough oxygen, and combining that with a very difficult run seems a scary prospect.

I don’t like the cold. Cold water is something to be avoided, not something you pay money in order to endure. Worse, in order to have a reasonable chance of dealing with the cold at the event, I will probably need to train in ways that will require exposure to cold (and cold water) beforehand. By signing up today I’ve basically guaranteed myself a bunch of deeply unpleasant low-temperature experiences culminating in being cold during a horrible physical ordeal.

I’m worried about injury. I’ll do my best to be careful while going hard, but balancing the concentration and common sense required to reduce injury risk with the intensity and exhaustion this thing will bring is going to be difficult.

I’m leery of getting too close to fire—historically a very good attitude to have—but it ends with a run through flaming kerosene-soaked straw.

I’m not particularly fond of mud.

But I’ve committed to do it, and so will just have to deal with all of the above qualms.

7 Responses to “Tough Mudding”

  1. Mike Says:

    If you stay dripping wet long enough (or better yet covered in mud), the fire won’t be a problem! :-)

  2. garret Says:

    ouchhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, are you really doing this? The altitude is going to be a make or break one, try staying/training at altitude before hand. Are there any bears in the area? I am assuming because of the name there are which would make the whole event, especially if you were made carry sauages and bacon in your shorts. How high were we on the second day of walking in Yosemite? It felt high and I felt delerious. If things get bad and they will just hold your sword above your head and say the following:

    Water stations are all good and fine but will they provide crying stations where contestants can have a quick demented sob before marching further into the abyss Good luck

  3. garret Says:

    Rumour has it that the mystery obstacle ( no.18 on the course) is going to be Christian Bales ego. Fun times amigo, fun times.

  4. Kevin Teljeur Says:

    Tadhg, this sounds fantastic. Really. The sheer ordeal of it, I think it can only be a good thing to have competed; the only thing which might be a problem, and it will be a big one for you, is that you commit but know when to quit. I’d say that this will be a learning experience for you, because you’re a ‘total commitment’ guy, and this is somewhere where your well-being might hit a cut-off point (“Help! I’m on fire!”). I do think you’re making much of the cold water and mud. It’s purely a psychological barrier, where you can tell yourself ‘It’s ok, it feels good’, but I would be genuinely concerned about the altitude. Other than that, fantastic – good luck!

    When you get over here, we should go for a mountain run somewhere in Wicklow on a rainy day. That would be good.

  5. garret Says:

    its all a bit soft really, I mean they should make all the contestants carry enriched uranium in their mouths while been chased by flesh eating republicans. Or how about you have to sprint through the tunnel of Ebola, where you may or may not make it through. Obstacle number 20 could be an interview with an unemployment officer. In obstacle 12 you are strapped to a chair and made to watch the King of Queens whilst been continually spat at by Sarah Palin look a likes. In obstacle 9 you have to pretend to be from an ethnic minority ( Irish will do) ring Mel Gibson and try to sell him an anger management course. And just before crossing the finish line ( obstacle 312) you have to dress up as an alter boy and dodge through the wall of irish priests who have all been taking massive doses of viagra.
    All that aside good luck and if durring the race I appear in a vision dressed as Obi Wan Kenobi offering you words of encouragement, telling you to use the force and blah, blah, blah; stop running and go to the nearest first aid tent.

  6. garret Says:

    hey we can go swimming in the irish sea when you are over, nothing is as cold as that

  7. Tadhg Says:

    Mike: Good point!

    Garret: I don’t know how high we were in Yosemite, although by the sounds of it you were pretty high indeed. I hope I don’t reach the point where I think that lines from 80s cartoons are going to help me.

    Kev: It will definitely be a learning experience. I don’t think I’ll push myself to an unsafe point during it (although perhaps I only think this because I’m comparing myself to my teammates, who might not rate that highly in terms of safety or sanity). Mountain run in Wicklow—sure!

    Garret (again): have a look at the Death Race. And yes, if you appear as Obi-Wan or I start thinking seriously about channelling the power of Greyskull, I will go to the nearest first aid ten. As for swimming in the Irish Sea… might be tough to convince myself to do that.

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