Monday, January 16, 2012

Tough Mudder...Mission Accomplished

Okay, so I did the Tough Mudder Arizona. I DID the Tough Mudder. I AM a Tough Mudder.

Let me explain...

We got there at about 9:45 AM and then Matt, Luke, Bo, Daisy and I spent approximately one hour and forty minutes in a big ol' parking line. There was a point at which we thought the noon start time might be in jeopardy simply because we couldn't park. We persisted however, and we eventually made it to the event. And the event was an EVENT. Blaring rock music. Bouncing freaks in every costume known to man. Buzzcuts aplenty. Entire teams with tutus. Mud covering every square inch of the place. Mud-covered semi-finishers stumbling around mumbling to themselves. Skinny chicks complaining about how cold they were. Pairs of running shoes just laying around in random filth. Newbies (like me) just soaking it all in. It was awesome!

We checked in, got our numbers written on our face with a Sharpie, checked in our single bag with all of our worldly possessions to a ditzy volunteer (we were under no illusion that we would ever get it back), and then proceeded to the Starting Line.

The Starting Line was great. The same guy that announces all of the Tough Mudders welcomed us. He got us all pumped up. There is apparently a lot of chanting "Hoorah", and we did our fair share of fist-pumping and general hoorah-ing. And then...they played the National Anthem. So cool to be sitting there with Veterans and Servicemen and women. It was really a humbling experience. And then you say the Tough Mudder Oath do the are off with all of the other crazies.

I would go through a blow-by-blow description of the race but I think it would just bore you all, so I am going to just say that the course was 12.5 miles long and contained 29 obstacles. 29 obstacles! TWENTY-NINE!

Here are the top five obstacle stories of Cool Dad's Tough Mudder:

1. Kiss of Mud and Chernobyl Jacuzzi: The first two obstacles are really a single obstacle in two stages. I arrived to see a bunch of barbed wire strung across a field of mud. The barbed wire was about 18 inches off the ground above the mud and the mud was yucky, nasty, brown yuck. Oh, and it had lots of gravel in it. You know, just to make sure your knees got bloodied at the very beginning. I was doing pretty good after having jogged for about a mile and I was really excited for the first obstacle. I got down on all fours and in 2.4 seconds I had bruised my knee, ripped my bib number completely off my shirt, got a mouthful of Arizona sand, and accumulated about 15 extra pounds of mud weight. At least I didn't snag myself on the barbed wire. I checked that obstacle off only to climb up a little ladder and confront a very compact little pool of ice-cold...ummm...water? I know it was ice-cold because of the ice floating in it, but it looked a little like anti-freeze (kinda ironic). I was so excited that I just jumped in. Not so bad...until...I had to duck my head under the water to go under this wooden wall. Not so bad...until...I came up on the other side to find myself in water about 15 degrees colder and about 5 times the amount of ice. It was like you had to break through it to get out of the pool! Now, I would like to be very delicate in describing the reaction I had for our sensitive readers. Cool Dad had some fear before the race that some chafing might occur during the race. You between the legs chafing. Well, after the Chernobyl Jacuzzi, the huevos had retired to a much warmer place never to be seen the rest of the day. I fear the visual may be too much for many of you, but know that the body is an amazing machine and it was in full self-preservation mode at this point. I think it realized that this was no 5k.

2. Jump Over the Backhoe Trench: I have no idea what this is really called, but it involves jumping over a bunch of backhoe trenches. I don't really know why I am mentioning this, but at about Mile 4 we hit this obstacle and I was doing just fine. And then after jumping over a buttload of backhoe trenches spaced precisely at a distance that Cool Dad can't just hop over them but has to run, jump and then collide into the opposite wall of the trench to breach them, I wasn't doing just fine. It was at this point that it went from being happy-go-lucky to being tough. And it was just getting tougher as we carried a railroad tie a half-mile on our shoulders and walked across a plank and crawled through a culvert and...and...

Berlin Walls #3: The goal of this obstacle is to get Cool Dad's fat butt (it is less fat than it once was, but let's not kid ourselves) over a series of two 12-foot walls. You will notice that this is tagged "#3" because it was the third and final set of these damnable walls on the course. So...after ten miles of sheer torture they want you to somehow navigate over these walls. To that point in the race, I had been a trooper, but at Mile 10, the tough, willing persona was long gone and I was but a wimpering shell. I pleaded with Bo, Luke and Matt to just get me over. They hoisted, grunted, cursed, roiled, swore, sweated, and labored, but eventually they got me over wall one. And then they repeated the exercise on wall two. I made it, but atop the final wall I got a charlie-horse mixed with a pulled muscle and a cramp and a headache and an ulcer, and a hernia, and...well...just about everything. I fell over the edge of the final wall and crashed to the ground in a heap. I looked up to see my teammates all smiling and then they all said "Ready to roll". I think I might have nodded or something, but then they all ran off. I have never loved and hated a group of individuals that much in my whole life. I started running and, miraculously, my injuries were but imagined.

Everest: Get Cool Dad up another devious obstacle. This time...a quarter pipe. Drenched in mud (cause, you know, the course involves a lot of mud) and dripping from something called Shock on the Rocks which involves water, barbed wire, and electroshocks, I arrived at the quarter pipe to see these big dudes hanging off the quarter pipe reaching down to help the plebeian hordes. I, too, was one of the horde. Every time someone would reach the top, the horde would scream and cheer. It was as if they were rescuers and we were mere victims clutched from the jaws of death (in all honesty, it was really inspiring). I watched the spectacle for a while before picking my line and making my run. I actually got pretty high on the quarter pipe and the guys (Matt and Bo) caught me and then the struggle began. They were like deep-sea fishermen trying to reel in a 230-lbs tuna and it was not going well for them. They almost got dragged back in to the ocean several times before they finally prevailed. I think the turning point was when Matt finally grabbed a big handful of Cool Dad's backside. That seemed to give them the leverage they needed. Matt and I will share that moment forever and ever. I love you, Matt!

Electroshock Therapy: Stupid! And we don't say that word in our family. Stupid! I don't know how to express the ridiculousness of taking 10,000 volts while standing in mud up to your knees. We were suckered in to thinking that going as a group might cushion the experience or help protect those in the middle or something. We clearly weren't thinking clearly. We clearly weren't thinking! So...two steps in...I hear a crack, I feel a jolt and the next thing I know I am face down in the mud quivering like a newborn pup in a summer lightning storm. I was just so scared of those dangling tentacles of pure evil! I crawled the rest of the way to the finish line and when I emerged from the mud I saw a little waif of a girl holding the Tough Mudder headband...and when I got there, she handed it to someone else and turned away from me. I was devastated...and cold...and a little miffed...until I saw another gal with a similar headband and she placed it on my mud-covered noggin. And I just quivered and shook and shivered as they handed me all the SWAG I could fit in the plastic bag that they had thrust in to my hand.

I was a Tough Mudder!

So, now, two days later. Mud is still emerging from orifices that I didn't know could hold mud. Muscles are aching in places that I didn't know could ache. Ibuprofin stock is steadily rising. And I am sitting here blogging to you folks.

Cool Dad is fine and he is one Tough Mudder!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

One Tough Mudder...A Different Perspective

I am now down approximately 54 lbs. from my midsummer high in fatness and I am two short weeks away from what promises to be a horrendous attempt at addressing a mid-life crisis (aka the Tough Mudder) decided to write some observations for all of you about the last six months in the life of Cool Dad.

Here goes...

I miss Doritos and Dr. Pepper.

If you run 13.1 miles in freezing conditions without an anti-chafing chest guard, you are just begging for an uncomfortable post-run shower. OUCH!

I hate those guys and girls that can run a 5k in less than 24 minutes. I hate them and envy them at the same time.

I still look in the mirror and see a 23-year-old man...and I want to beat him up for wasting the last 20 years on Doritos and Dr. Pepper.

Big dogs bark at joggers.

I don't like it when other joggers encourage me, 'cause that just means they are faster than me and pity me, but I love it when I encourage other joggers 'cause it means I'm faster than them and I pity them.

I am still so competitive that I got really upset when a man pushing a stroller beat me in a 5k. I just wanted to go all Tonya Harding on him.

I am soooo tired.

I wore out the battery on that stupid scale in my bathroom.

I am not on a diet, but I'm thinking about calling my weight-loss plan the Fatkin's Diet.

I don't want to buy new clothes that fit, cause it makes me feel fat again. I like it when my clothes just hang on me.

All my self-deprecating fat jokes are slowly becoming obsolete.

The Tough Mudder experience was really a lapse in judgment. I mean...what was I thinking? There is no way I'm hauling my butt 12.5 miles in the mud over 12-ft high walls and through ice cold water. Silly, silly, silly Cool Dad.

I recently did a sauna and avoided all Ball Park Franks references.

I really like the T-shirts you get from entering a 5k.

My New Year's Resolution this year is to keep it going and run 500 miles in 2012.