Becoming Legionnaires

Most people run the other direction when someone asks them to run 10 miles through mud, over walls, through ice baths, and even electrocution….but not us!  WE ARE {NOW} TOUGH MUDDER

We are 10-12 miles of mud and obstacles built to test your mental grit, camaraderie and all-around physical fitness. We are a team-oriented challenge with no winner, no finisher medal, no clock to race against—just an ice cold beer and a few good scrapes from a day spent outside and free from everyday bullshit. We are for anyone who has ever followed their gut, tried to defy gravity, chosen “dare” over “truth,” taken risks, sought thrills, or is generally awesome at life. Turns out, it's all been training. We are made for this. -from the website

Let’s back up a little first.  I tricked...I mean...I asked my friend and fellow runner, Jenna, if she wanted to travel from New Mexico to participate in this Tough Mudder months ago.  Luckily she had no idea what I was asking her to do and said yes!!  

She arrived and we went to a few of my favorite spots on Friday while everyone else was at work.  If you like tapas, La Bodega is the place to go!!!  We tried mussels, pancetta wrapped shrimp, and blue cheese beef tenderloin. 

Plus their amazing sangria for the win!

 

Next stop-Stone Pillar Winery.  You may remember this from way back when we did hot yoga and drank tons of wine before buying Rob Thomas and Counting Crows tickets.  They had a fun little fall festival setup, so ridiculous pictures were a must do before wine tasting.  

The 2013 Cab Reserve tasted dangerously like a blueberry dessert!!  Doesn’t everyone hydrate for a hard core obstacle race with wine??

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We all met up at our wonderful organizer/hosts’ house.  Thank you Tom and Liz!!!  We asked a few questions to those who had done it before (is the electroshock therapy really that bad?!?!?!) and shared our nerves before taking some pictures and heading out.

Now to the main event.  We were so clean and naïve!  

When we arrived, everyone around us was just as excited and nervous as our team. 

Write on yourself with markers (so your body/corpse can be identified)- check

Leave your belongings, including your insurance card, at the bag drop-check

Last bathroom stop-check

Head to the start area…no time to be nervous…let’s do this!!

Welcoming!

Welcoming!

The first part was a lot of running, some stadium stairs, and carrying a fellow mudder.  I was lucky and partnered up with Jenna.  Some of the other girls partnered with guys-turns out you have to switch halfway!!  Some of our team scoped out the obstacles the night before and had some inside scoop.  While most people fell in the mud pit on Pitfall (a muddy pit with 1 or 2 ways across without going in), we had 2 make it all the way across without falling in, coincidence??  I think not!!  

There were many walls to climb and mud pits to dive through, but some of the favorite obstacles included:

  • Everest 2.0 is a 15 foot quarterpipe with a rounded top-just for fun.  You run up and reach for someone’s hand to pull you up to safety.
  • Pyramid Scheme-yep…climb up your fellow teammates or hang from the top and pull people up.  I chose to hang from the top and help people up.  The most fun part was being lowered down by my feet!! 
  • The Blockness Monster-a fairly deep pit of water (if you can't touch...just keep going) with gigantic blocks that you can spin.  Grab the top while others spin to get over…don’t forget to close your mouth as you slide back to the water before going over the next block! 
  • Funky Monkey 2.0 seems simple enough.  Climb monkey bars up to a swing that you hang from.  Take that swing to a straight bar that you can go hand over hand to safety or move your hands sideways to safety.  One wrong grip and into the muddy water you go!!  We had some successes, some who almost made it, and some fails! 
  • Mud Mile 2.0 is a series of mud mounds that require tons of team work and lots of mess to get up and over.  Plus an awesome mudslide to the bottom!! 
  • King of Swingers is not for those that can’t swim or are scared of heights!  You leap from a high platform and swing towards the bell of glory…and then plummet into a deep pool of muddy water.  It was so fun…and awesome even though no one got the bell.  Next time….

Surprisingly fun obstacles were the Arctic Enema-aka-plunging into an ice bath and making your way out and ElectroShock Therapy.  Running through 10,000 volts of electricity is really not bad!  A surprising fact...as the mud dries on your arms and you straighten them, it pulls your arm hairs!  Running with your arms down may look silly, but it helps!

I think everyone has a slightly different perspective on this challenge, so I asked my fellow Unfiltered Adventurers and Jenna to write up a recap.              

WE DID IT!!!!  Muddy, happy, and ready for a BEER!

WE DID IT!!!!  Muddy, happy, and ready for a BEER!

Stephanie: When I say TOUGH you say MUDDER!!  What a crazy, fun experience!  I think I was the only person who was genuinely excited for this day and it even exceeded my giddy expectations.  We lucked out and had a perfect October day for our race through the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia.  After some chanting and group warm-ups (that were exhausting) we were off!  I can’t remember a running event where everyone started off with such an eager smile on their face and was so talkative.  You could tell right away this race was going to be different somehow.  The course started out slow with long runs in between obstacles but it quickly turned into heaving strangers’ butts in the air and having soon to be friends throw you over their shoulders.  After literally putting your body into someone else’s hands time and time again and then doing the same in return something greater was at play than just an obstacle race.  It was one giant trust fall for 4 hours, hoping you’d make it to the end but somehow not exactly wanting it to end.  When all was said and done you felt part of something bigger than yourself, bigger than the pain/sore muscles/electrical current still running through your body…..you were now a Legionnaire and no one can take that headband from you!  

Kristi: Tough Mudder.  Once again, I was talked into running a race while drinking wine.  It'll be fun, they said.  We'll do it together, they said. It's easy, only 10+ miles with 20 obstacles, they said.  Sure...I'm starting to catch on to you fellow Unfiltered Adventurers!! The day started with me feeling like I wanted to throw up and ended with me celebrating with a smile (and a beer!) at the fact that nobody died and the electroshock therapy didn't take any of us all the way down!!  The teamwork, comraderie, and countless mud pits were all part of the fun.  Some of the obstacles were fun, some were tough, and there was a new wall to climb around every turn.  I was very thankful for our large team, my slower running buddies, Andrea's excessive use of the word "dung", and the help of strangers when needed.  We couldn't have asked for a better day or race and dare I say there might be another Tough Mudder in my future?  No, I don't dare say that yet....but I might change my mind with a few glasses of wine!  

Fans along the course took our group pic-this was clearly early.  We are so clean!!

Fans along the course took our group pic-this was clearly early.  We are so clean!!

Andrea: The week leading up to Tough Mudder I cursed Stephanie's name several times.  What had she gotten us into this time?!?  Jenna, Leslie and I decided that Bailey's and coffee was a good way to start the day.  Sedalia bound.  Here are a few things that I learned on my hours on the Tough Mudder course.  Running isn't my favorite, climbing walls isn't my favorite, getting dirty isn't my favorite, oh and getting electrocuted isn't my favorite.  BUT my friends ARE my favorite and it made it really fun!  There were a lot of laughs and high fives shared!  Everyone should know that I almost died 7 teams, but luckily Tom was there to save me!  #thankstom (I left a video message for my husband in case I died so he would know it was all Steph's fault.)  Fun fact, when I get electrocuted the electricity leaves my body through my right leg resulting in a donkey kick.  Lastly there was beer!  All the climbing and mud in my ears paid off as the ice cold Shock Top hit my lips!  Mmmmmmm!!!  

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Jenna: What the Tough Mudder and Kansas City taught me: #1-Mud comes in many consistencies and colors, but they all taste the same.  I got to taste them all!  #2-Mud can go really far up your nose.  I am still blowing Sedalia out!  #3-Tough Mudder is a great place to make friends-especially big ones that may possibly grope you in the netherest of regions as they help you over a wall or through a mud pit.  Friends for life!!  #4-When Leslie and her friends say  "let's go have some wine", they mean bottles of wine.  It is a test of wills and I lost!  #5-What happens at Lulu stays at Lulu.  Unless they want to sponsor this blog...in which case, I will do whatever they want!!  Overall it was a great trip!  I can't wait to do it again.  I'm not sure if I should train for the wine or the race!!!

What do you do after Tough Mudder??  Attend a charity event for Tom and Liz's kid's school...Denim and Diamonds, here we come!!  It was a great night!!  We all won with mystery wine and had a great time recounting the day.

We made it out relatively unscathed!  A minor trip to the ER for the lamest thing ever (my contact got stuck in my eye-note to self: do NOT wear contacts in the next Tough Mudder) and a few bruises were all that we came out with.  Notice I said for the next Tough Mudder...will we do one?  Maybe...probably!!  You never know what adventures we will find!!

~Leslie