Tough Mudder Virginia – The First of Many

Since my first OCR event last summer, I’ve added a lot more strength training to my routine, which was very influential when I recently participated in my first Tough Mudder in Virginia.

As soon as my 10:45am group was unleashed, I kept a steady pace with a determined group of fellow participants as we made our way to the first obstacle, Devil’s Beard, just beyond mile one. This was a nice obstacle to begin with and I kept as low as possible while moving under the heavy netting.

The next obstacle was the Mud Mile 2.0, and after I slid down the first muddy embankment into the water, I started trying to find small grooves in the next slippery mound. Another mudder reached out his hand for me to climb up, and I returned the favor to two more mudders. After reaching mile two, it was on to the Hero Carry, which involved carrying another person for about fifty yards; the fireman’s carry position worked well. I continued on through the Quagmire, which was a long stretch of muddy water where I carefully placed each next so I wouldn’t slip into the random two-foot drops in the deep mud.

With each stride, sweat began to mix with the dried dirt on my skin. Closing in on mile three, the Kiss of Mud 2.0 included getting as low as possible and staying under the barbed wire, while crawling and sliding throughout the terrain. There was almost a mile until Shawshanked, and taking a plunge into the water felt good as the temperatures continued to rise. Next up was the Berlin Walls, which involved getting a good sprint before strategically placing your feet to help you get up and over a series of high walls. I was glad I did a lot of pull ups and chin ups over the past year because they were essential for this obstacle. Hold Your Wood 2.0 involved carrying a large log for a few hundred yards, and I found it helpful to switch positions from shoulder to shoulder. Everest 2.0 was next on the agenda. I wasn’t able to practice for this obstacle or sure how to approach it, but I just ran as fast as I could up the angle of the halfpipe, jumped and reached for the hands of the other mudders. I then turned around and got in position to help a few more mudders that were making their run up the hill. Then it was through the Birth Canal, which was a tight squeeze under the heavy tarps full of water. The journey continued on, all the way to the Artic Enema where I slid down into an ice cold tank of water that you had to traverse throughout the fenced in area to get to the other side. A few people slid into the frigid water and then hopped out immediately because it was such a shock to the system.

After warming up with some steady hill running, it was on to the Bale Bonds, that involved sprinting up and over a large stack of hay bails. Timing and foot placement were very important. Upon arriving to Funky Monkey: The Revolution, I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it across the series of inclined monkey bars followed by two rotating wheels and a straight bar. The key component to this challenge was momentum and swinging from one grip to the next.

Not long after this, the Stage 5 Clinger involved climbing up, across, and then above a wooden ledge to finish the obstacle.

Upon reaching mile nine, the obstacles were more frequent with minimal recovery. Skidmarked tapped into what upper body strength I had left, followed by going up and down a slope during Pitfall. It felt good to be back in the water facing The Blockness Monster, which was another team effort to get up and over the large blocks in the muddy water. The Pyramid Scheme was a similar approach to Everest 2.0. The ElectroShock Therapy soon followed, which was about keeping your composure while running through the dangling high voltage wires.

After a little over 10 miles, the finish line was finally in my line of sight. As soon as I crossed it, I was motivated to start preparing for the next Tough Mudder adventure – pursuing the Toughest Mudder and World’s Toughest Mudder.

Overall, an event that I strongly recommend to anyone looking for a great challenge!

My bulldog, Daisy, enjoyed it too.

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Brian Boyle

After a near fatal car accident in 2004, Brian Boyle was placed on life support, underwent 14 major operations, received 36 blood transfusions, and was resuscitated eight times during a two month
coma. After relearning how to walk again and then spending three years in recovery, he went on to participate in over 4 dozen endurance events including 5 Ironman's, 16 marathons, and two ultramarathons. A two time published author, Brian has recently started competing in OCR
events, and is very much looking forward to racing in many more this season.
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