Tough Mudder NorCal October 2010 Report

14:25 Sun 10 Oct 2010
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It was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed it. I did it with the CrossFit KMSF crew, Team Ciso. We had beautiful weather for it, which definitely made it easier and more pleasant (although I did get rather sunburnt).

I have to give kudos to Ebru Tontas, who did the team proud by completing the whole thing despite having started it with an ankle injury. Considering how steep some of the hills were, and the nature of some of the obstacles, that’s quite an achievement.

Our team was about fifteen people. We ran it as a team, meaning that we stopped to regroup at every obstacle. This meant quite a lot of breaks, so that for me it was really a series of trail runs punctuated by rests and obstacles that were mostly not difficult. Overall, I didn’t find it particularly challenging, and most of the team seemed to feel the same way. We would have found it harder if we’d really been doing it for time, and certainly if I had been going right into the obstacles after each run and then back into a run immediately afterwards, it would have been rather more challenging. Then again, a seven-mile trail run in that terrain would have been very challenging, and what’s supposed to set the Tough Mudder apart is the obstacles. The obstacles were mostly far too easy. The log carry, which I did with Zac, was pretty hard for me because I couldn’t find a way to carry it that wasn’g digging hard into the muscles around my shoulder, making it like a mile-long exercise in pain management. Apart from that, I thought they were too easy and too brief.

I’ll go through all of them as they’re presented here.

  1. Braveheart Chalenge. Not really a challenge or obstacle at all.
  2. Kiss of Mud. Way too short.
  3. Death March. Tough climb, but it’s just a steep hill.
  4. Boa Constrictor. Tunnels were way too short.
  5. Dragon Wheels. I actually had trouble with this, and couldn’t time my jump to get over the first one. But there was only one really large one, and the fact that it did have a slot to step up gave it too easy a way out. Another problem with this one is that they needed to have a bunch of them, not one that created a bottleneck and hence a long line that we had to wait in.
  6. The Gauntlet. Again, too short. The “high pressure hose” was really just a cold mist. That would have been really interesting if it were more like trying to struggle up a steep slope while being sprayed directly with something like riot cannons.
  7. Cliffhanger. A tough climb, but that in itself just doesn’t seem hard enough to be rated as an obstacle.
  8. Glacier. I don’t remember what this was. I know we didn’t do anything that resembled climbing up a glacier.
  9. Swamp Stomp. Fun, but again far too short.
  10. Kentucky Derby. This was one of the tougher ones for me, partly because my hip didn’t particularly like the movements required to do it. But given the help from teammates, not too hard.
  11. School of Tough Knocks. Fun, but far too easy. It’s pretty easy to climb cargo netting.
  12. Berlin Wall. This was quite easy too. It wasn’t really a wall, more like a slope of logs.
  13. Greased Lightening [sic]. Fun, and the toughest thing about this and the next obstacle was that the water was pretty damn cold.
  14. Underwater Tunnels. This didn’t involve actual tunnels underwater, just having to duck under floating barrels. I did find that pretty tough psychologically, because the water was so damn cold that I found it difficult to breathe at first and was a little panicky just being in it. This was one of my favorite obstacles.
  15. Hold Your Wood. As I stated above, I found this quite hard, because it was just painful to carry that log for that distance.
  16. Devil’s Beard. Again, way too short. Fun while I was moving under it, but one hundred meters of this would have been far more interesting.
  17. Fenced Off. Not too tough, but I really enjoyed this one. It seemed the appropriate length, and was definitely one of my favorite things from the day.
  18. Mystery Obstacle. I cannot remember what this was… clearly it didn’t stand out much.
  19. Fire Walker. This was probably the most disappointing one. One of my teammates described it as “like running near a barbecue”, and that seems about right.

I know the above sounds very critical, but I really enjoyed it and might well do it again. It was definitely fun, and I like the location, and the downhill trail running parts of it were really enjoyable. It was also mostly well-organized (apart from issues with bottlenecks early on). It was also a great thing to do with Team Ciso. It’s just that it didn’t feel all that tough.

2 Responses to “Tough Mudder NorCal October 2010 Report”

  1. Zac Says:

    I think you should forward this to the Tough Mudder HQ. I sent a nearly identical email to them.

  2. Meryl Says:

    The 2011 run was good, the obstacles were not as disappointing as you described. However, they definitely overbooked it, and didn’t plan it well at all – missing food (only wrappers for our slow butts)

    Next year, I will have to leave in the first waves

    We got some awesome footage with our GoPro though


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