Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tough Mudder Mid-Atlantic 2012 in Review

Team FarFromPuken decided to reunite a year after our first Tough Mudder to have another go at a course far less mountainous than the first one.  So we trekked to Maryland for the Mid-Atlantic in August 2012.  And wowsa the two Mudder experiences were so very dramatically different!

The first big difference for this race was that we convinced our fathers to join us on the course.  :)  Several parents from the team were climbing around Wintergreen taking photos and providing moral support at the first Mudder, and apparently they though it looked like a lot of fun!  So the 2012 team was a motley mixture of 20-somethings and 50 or 60-somethings.

Unfortunately for Tough Mudder, the day did not start out well.  I do not know what caused the problems, but they were flat out not prepared with the parking situation, and traffic was backed up for MILES down the highway in both directions as people tried to arrive for the race.  We eventually left the moms in the van on the highway and hightailed it across the course on foot to find the starting line because we were going to miss our start time!  Which we ended up missing anyway because half the team was still stuck in the traffic jam!  At least Mudder is flexible with starting .... once we rallied our team (and luckily most of our spectators as well!) we just joined the next start wave and off we went.

I really enjoyed the course.  There were the usual obstacles (the ice bucket, big hay bales, log carry, Berlin walls, Everest, live wires) and the course wound its way around through cornfields on a large farm, so it was FLAT and AWESOME!  Because we didn't have ski slopes trying to crush our will to live, and because the weather was warm so we weren't battling hypothermia as soon as we went through the ice bath, the entire thing was a lot of fun!  Add to the mix a freak thunderstorm with tornado warning in the middle of the race (they did shut down one obstacle and turn off the electricity in the wires during the storm) and it was a crazy experience!

My father was the only person to make it across the monkey bars without falling into the water, which was awesome.  My brother also pulled a spectacular head-first dive into soupy slop and came out looking like a swamp monster, which was one of the most photographic moments of the race.  We only had one minor injury moment, when one of the dads got a bad leg cramp while submerged in two feet of water, but a bottle of water and a banana fixed him right up and he finished the race along with the rest of us.  Even after one of the live wires brought him to his knees right at the end.

Minus one snafu when we somehow lost four team members, we stayed together as a unit for the entire race.  This meant a slower pace for some, but it was a lot more fun helping each other through obstacles and enjoying the comical moments of slip-sliding into the mud or falling off of obstacles into the water pools.

Poor Mudder wasn't ready for the freak thunderstorm either, and the parking situation was a huge mess at the end of the race too because the fields turned into slime and vehicles were getting stuck all over the place.  As a matter of fact, they were unable to run the second day of the race (Mudders are usually Saturday and Sunday) and had to issue refunds or transfers to all the Sunday racers!!  But we got lucky and had a fantastic time.  Maybe I was in way better shape than my first Mudder, or maybe the course really was that much easier, but hands down I enjoyed the Mid-Atlantic 2012 more than Virginia 2011.  Now if they can just get that parking thing figured out....

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