Electric Eel–Mudders frequently forget about this obstacle since they’re so focused on Electroshock Therapy – but they shouldn’t. Slide on your belly through frigid water or, even worse, a layer of ice and beware of the shocks overhead. Should you try to crawl on your knees, you’ll be smacked with live wires and your body will compulsively contort. Be sure to protect your head, otherwise you might experience what Big Mudder calls a brain reboot.
So…I was not really looking forward to this obstacle. I mean, who looks forward to being zapped by electric wires while crawling through muddy water? It took a bit of psyching myself up to get started. And, very quickly, I felt that zap! What I wasn’t expecting was being able to feel the people next to me getting zapped. (But I should have expected that, after all, I was crawling through water.) The key is to stay as low as possible. There is no way to avoid all the wires. And the zaps are random, so if the person in front of you doesn’t get zapped by a particular wire, there is no guarantee that you will experience the same good fortune. I believe this was the obstacle where I uttered the most profanities!
After this obstacle, we had a decent running section ahead of us. It was up a good sized hill and I started to notice that my left hip flexor was getting pretty sore. I actually stopped to walk up the hill, using the incline to my advantage and stretching out my hip flexor.
Funky Monkey–Sure monkey bars were easy when you were 5 years old, but you’ll need to hold on extra tight to these. Some have been greased with our finest mixture of mud and butter and if you slip you’ll fall into an icy pond below. Bars are spaced 1.5 feet apart and you will be on an incline upward for the first half of the Monkey and then descending downward for the second portion. Seasoned Mudders keep their arms bent at a 90-degree angle and bicycle-kick their legs to gain momentum.
This one was really tough, due to my aforementioned lack of upper body strength. I had ‘trained’ on some monkey bars at a local park, but there were only about 8 of them, they weren’t on an incline, greased with mud, or 10 feet above freezing cold water. All four of the guys in our group made it across, but none of us girls did. I got almost half way before my hands just couldn’t grip anymore and down I went.
Once I got out of the water, I noticed that my left hip flexor was getting significantly worse. The next obstacle was less than a quarter mile away and there was a HUGE line, so we just walked. But, I couldn’t get that hip flexor to engage. If you remember from anatomy, your hip flexor is what enables you to lift your knee. If you can’t lift your knee, it is really hard to make any forward movement. I was actually pulling my leg forward with my hand. Every step sent a shooting pain through my hip. I was trying not to whine (Mudders don’t whine. Kids whine.)
Everest–Snowboarders and skate boarders have the half-pipe. Mudders have a real obstacle: Everest. A quarter-pipe that you’ll have to sprint up and enlist the help of other Mudders to hurl you over this beastly summit. Everest is coated in mud and grease, a combination which will likely send you right back from where you came. Call upon other Mudders to catch you as you run up the quarter-pipe or work together to form a human chain so that you can scale someone’s shoulders to finally summit Everest.
The line to get to this obstacle had to have been at least 30 minutes. By this time, I was freezing cold (the temperature was cooling off and I was soaking wet) and my hip was killing me. I had no idea how I was going to run up a greased ramp, when I could hardly walk. I was watching people who were in much better shape than me struggle with this obstacle. The guys from our group went first. A couple of them were able to scale the wall without help and then they grabbed the rest of us as we tried to throw ourselves up the ramp.
Somehow, I convinced my leg to work (there was NO WAY I was going to skip an obstacle). I felt like someone was stabbing me as I tried to run up that stupid ramp. But, my wonderful teammates grabbed my arms and started pulling me up. The problem was that I needed to swing a leg over so that I could get up the rest of the way and I couldn’t do that. They had to pull me up until I could get my hips above the top of the ramp and then I could turn around and sit down. Then I had to climb down the back side.
There was one more water crossing before the last obstacle. Tim and Preston basically carried me through that crossing so that I didn’t have to drag my leg through. Then I limped to the last obstacle.
Electroshock Therapy–Sprint through a field of live wires — some carrying as much as 10,000 volts of electric shock. Watch out for hay bales and deep mud, or you will face-plant into some electrifying mud. Some Mudders try to stealthily wind their way through the wires without getting shocked, while others barrel forward to get through as quickly as possible. Either way, you are guaranteed to get zapped with as much as 10,000 volts of electricity and it does NOT tickle. This is typically the last obstacle Mudders must overcome before they cross the finish line.
When we got to this (last) obstacle, there was a side to run through, and a side to walk through. Since I couldn’t run, I had to go through the walking side. Basically, that is where you tried to avoid getting shocked by carefully and slowly evading the wires. I didn’t get shocked, but I HATE that I wasn’t able to run through the last obstacle like a crazy person and take my chances.
After this obstacle was the finish line. They had mylar blankets (because it was cold), our orange Tough Mudder head bands (because we earned them), and a cold glass of Dos Equis (because we deserved it).
After gathering our bags from the bag check area, I wanted nothing more than a warm shower and to change into some warm clothes. Unfortunately, all I got was a bunch of garden hoses hanging from some beams.
This photo doesn’t exactly do it justice. By the time I got there (late afternoon), everyone was standing around in 8-10 inches of water. And the water coming out of those hoses was COLD! And I was filthy. It didn’t matter how many times I thought I was sorta clean, there was still dirt and mud coming off of me. I even did something I’ve never done before. I took my shirt off and just hung out in my sports bra. (I figured that I would never see most of those people again anyway.) Just when I thought I was finally clean enough, the random guy next to me stopped me from walking away so that he could clean off my back. Thanks, random guy!
I walked back to where my stuff was and grabbed my towel and clean clothes and headed to a port-a-potty where I changed clothes. I was convinced that I was going to acquire some sort of flesh-eating parasitical disease from walking around barefoot, but so far all my extremities are still attached and parasite-free!
Once we were all (relatively) clean and dry, we headed back to where we were parked. It was about a mile away, and I was still limping due to my dysfunctional hip flexor. We had about a 3 hour drive back home, but food was of utmost importance. We stopped at a Culver’s in Fond du Lac and I had a veggie burger, sweet potato fries and some ice cream. It was awesome. Somehow the injured girl got stuck driving back. At one point, I noticed that the other two guys I was with were both asleep. Chivalry? Guess not.
All in all, it was the most fun I’ve ever had at a ‘race.’ The event is awesome. It benefits the Wounded Warrior Project, which is a fantastic charity. And it promotes teamwork. Check out the official video from the Wisconsin event. No one from our group is in it, but it will give you an idea of what we went through.
If you are interested in doing one of these events (even after reading about what we all went through), let me know. We are thinking of doing both Minnesota and Wisconsin next year and we’d love to add you to our team!