On Sunday I entered Tough Mudder in Sydney with my friend Yury. The quick version is that it was great fun and we achieved a time of around 1:50 being amongst the first in our group to finish. We started at 9am which was the first group, this was perfect, allowing us to get past the main pack of people before we hit any obstacles and I have to say we didn’t have to queue for a single obstacle.
A lot of questions revolve around footwear for Tough Mudder, I wore my old Vibram Five Fingers which have served me well the last year and a half. In terms of water and mud retention, they were superb, they didn’t feel any heavier than when I set off in them. The only negative I’d say is my slipped inside them a bit which made climbing some of the hills a little more difficult but I certainly recommend Vibrams for Tough Mudder.
My favourite obstacle is quite hard to pick, I really enjoyed the monkey bars, the grip work we’ve been doing as part of Convict Conditioning 2 really paid off for this and we cruised across, even managing to hang one arm for the last couple of rungs whilst I reached my legs to the end. Everest was also pretty fun, this involves running up a half pipe and hauling yourself up. On approach to this I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it as my feet were quite slippery, so Yury went first and managed to get up. I then followed him and mistimed my jump a little but just managed to get my finger tips on the top. A nice fingertip pullup and I was at the top.
Without a doubt the hardest obstacle of Tough Mudder was exactly what I thought it would be, which was Arctic Enema. If anything it was even more challenging than I was expecting. We approached this probably around 10am I’d guess, by this time Sydney was starting to warm up a little so I thought it may even be a little refreshing. So we climbed up to the pool and jumped in after 3 as far as we could. The cold hits you instantly! You then have to duck under a wooden panel which of course means putting your head under the ice and wade through and get out as quickly as possible. By the end my legs were starting to seize up and I have to haul myself out with my arms. It then probably took another 5 minutes before my legs returned to normal. It was a great challenge though and I look forward to conquering it again next time.
In terms of my performance through Tough Mudder, I have 2 things that I need to improve on next time, first my commando crawling is not the best and I’ll certainly be adding that to my next circuit on Fridays. The only obstacle I needed help with was the Berlin Walls. My Vibrams were too slippery to try and climb up the stands the way Yury did so he had to give my a quick push as I jumped so that I could reach the top with one hand then pull up. I have to admit I’m slightly disappointed with myself for not trying to run and jump up them but I’ll get some more practise in that over the next few months and see if I can do it next time.
Finally I have to mention ElectroShock Theray, the obstacle that Tough Mudder is infamous for. Firstly I have to say it really does hurt when you get hit! I got hit 3 times in a row and the electricity travels down your entire body, but it’s over in a few seconds and isn’t as nearly as bad as Arctic Enema in my opinion, you just have to run through as fast as you can.
So now I’ve conquered Tough Mudder, what is my next goal? We spoke to someone after we had finished who had just completed his second Tough Mudder after running on Saturday as well. I think doing both days would be a really interesting challenge and something I will consider for next April’s event. Maybe going for a fast time on Saturday then taking it a bit easier on the Sunday.