Yep – I got myself an orange headband! It is a hard earned accessory to my training attire, that being my standard wrinkled, mostly black, t-shirts and shorts. I did dress a little flashy, for me anyway, for the run, sporting a bright red spandex shirt. Otherwise it was my standard black shorts and my faithful old Merrills!
Only a couple photos of the run itself unfortunately. In fact, I’m not even in one of the 200+ photos posted on the official website. Maybe I’m so short they missed me!
The run was fantastic. I really think my training by running hills with the weighted vest helped me a lot because the whole event was based on a ski resort. Big hills…humongous hills…gigantic hills. OK, OK, you get the picture. The obstacles were challenging and well placed, but it was the monstrous mountains in between them that took their toll on everyone’s legs and cardio.
A few things about the whole event stand out in my mind.
1 – The camaraderie. As soon as “I” stepped down from the shuttle-bus it became “we”. There was chatter and back-slaps and laughter from the get go. This continued on through out the course where I was helped by complete strangers and I also did my best to lend a helping hand.
2 – The energy. There was a buzz in the air and it wasn’t electricity or birds. It was just the pure energy flowing from the runners. It conjured up images of how many positive things that could be accomplished if people worked together towards a common goal.
3 – The passion. People there were really involved and determined to complete and help others complete the course. As they were singing – Tough Mudder; No quit…in here! – they meant it and and it was an emotion that swept through the crowd.
4 – A personal sense of pride. People were proud of themselves just to be there and especially at the finish. I saw a lot of laughter but I also saw tears of joy at the finish line. I got hugs from people I never even saw on the course. It was awesome.
5 – An unexpected feeling of National pride. I don’t know if t hey do it at every event, I would guess they do, but they played ‘O Canada’ before each heat started their run. What touched me most was how many people stood at attention, faced the flag and sang along. That was really unexpected. There must have been people from 100 different ethnic backgrounds but there they stood, singing ‘O Canada’, getting ready to run like maniacs and pledging to help each other along the way.
6 – Finally…my bib number was the same as my wife’s birthday! How cool is that?
Highlights of the course.
- The starting corral. We had to climb over a six foot wall just to get into our starting groups. It was there mini bonds grew quickly. The MC did an amazing job of getting people pumped up and ready to run.
- The Arctic Enema. Yep – you read it right. Up to my neck in crushed ice and water having to duck under petitions and wade 30 feet to the end and crawl…shiveringly… out. My voice went up a few octaves there for awhile.
- Mud trenches. These were really cool and there were 10 of them. Deep, slippery, muddy trenches you had to slip, slide or jump into and then slither out somehow. They were much more challenging then most people expected.
- The Berlin Walls. 3 of them – 12 feet high with only a small step to help you up. Many of us came to a complete stop at first sight…then we just went for it. A lot of helping hands at this obstacle
- The Electric Eel. Slip and crawl through mud and water while being jolted with electrical shocks from the wires hanging down. As sick as it sounds it was crazy fun. The trick is – go fast!
- Mount Everest was cool to watch. People running up and sliding down this giant skateboard half-pipe. But be it luck or my trusty Merrills, I ran up to the top without too much difficulty.
That’ll be the Funky Monkey. Swinging across water on rings. They were wet and slippery. On my first attempt I was in the water by the second ring. But you know me a little by now – I went back again..and again, until I got across. It was the slipperiness more than upper body strength that caused me problems.
I’m already signed up for both runs here in Toronto next year!!
Training has started already! More hill running is necessary and better core strength.
I’ll figure out how I plan to do that and let you know in my next post.
Until then, take care – see you on the trail…smiling of course.