Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 113: Thoughts on the Mudder

Well, it was quite a day.

We left at around 5:30 a.m. and had a nice ride up.  Good conversation, pretty scenery, and a sunrise.

Parking was at the Pocono Raceway and we boarded a schoolbus there for Pocono Manor, which seemed like it was a nice resort before the Tough Mudder people got a hold of it and covered it in mud and obstacles.

We registered and found the rest of our team, two of whom were also from the dojang.  Found bathrooms, got ready to start.  Our start time was 9:20.

I opted for the water shoes, which was a good choice.  The Master thinks he might have messed up his own minimalist shoes, and I would have been upset to lose my Vibrams.  The water shoes had the same feel, and they held up pretty well.  Much of the course was trail running, and people asked me if I minded feeling all the rocks, etc. under my feet, but I guess I'm used to feeling the terrain and it didn't bother me. 

What did bother me was my Camelback - it didn't work very well and it was cumbersome to carry with me, especially with so many obstacles to crawl under.  A waterproof fanny pack or something would have been a better choice to hold my camera - and the rest stations on the course provided enough water and bananas that I didn't really need to carry any food or drink of my own.  Lesson learned.

As far as the obstacles went, I had no trouble with the crawling through the mud, through the dark, sticky trenches, and the other muddy fun.  Running through fire was hot and a little choky, but fine.  Climbing over the walls was good with help.  I wasn't planning to go swimming or get zapped with electric current, but I did hike through a semi-deep stream and I fell off the balance beam at one of the last obstacles, so I went for an icy swim there.

Probably the most discomfort I felt the whole day was at the very end when we sat down on the grass to a protein bar and a beer.  After 5+ hours of constant movement, sitting down felt wrong (I should have been stretching), and I was cold and soaked and the wind was blowing hard and we were all shivering despite the foil blankets they handed out.  I felt better after I changed into my dry clothes, but it took a while for me to feel my hands and feet again.

All in all, it was a good experience, and I was glad for the arm-twisting and Jedi Mind Tricking. I had planned on spending the entire winter training for this thing, and had feared that the lack of said training would really impair my ability to complete the course.  I definitely didn't have the upper body strength to do things like monkey bars, but I was expecting that.  And I didn't condition myself for the challenges of the icy cold water.  But endurance-wise, my daily regimen of karate and kickboxing was enough to prepare me for running, climbing and crawling, and in that respect I was fine.

Sore today, and a little scraped up (I tripped at one point and banged up my knee), but feeling strong.  Ready to resume my normal schedule tonight.  I have Red Belt material to learn.


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