This post is a solid week behind schedule, but better late than never!
Last Saturday about this time, me and my team from Ki’netik Fitness were probably about halfway through Tough Mudder Philadelphia, which was hosted by Jaindl Farms in Schnecksville, Pa. It consisted of 10 miles and 21 obstacles. This was the second Tough Mudder for me and my teammate Patti. We had both participated in the Philly Tough Mudder in 2011 with another great group from Ki’netik. Our team was supposed to be much larger than it was, maybe 10-11 people including five guys. However, due to injuries and other major life events our team dwindled to five. It wasn’t a big deal, we still had a great time and were helped or helped many others on the course. Several other friends from the gym also participated, but on teams unaffiliated. While we didn’t see them on the course, it was great to catch up afterwards!
We headed to the area on Friday a little nervous after receiving a Heat Advisory from Tough Mudder. They were expecting temperatures in the 90s on Saturday with lots of humidity. They were offering free transfers to Sunday when temps would be a bit lower. We didn’t really have the option since we only had the hotel for the one night. We opted to increase our water intake, wear sunscreen (knowing there would be little shade along the course), and just take our time.
I think we prepared for the worst, which ultimately made it not seem that bad come race time. It was the first Tough Mudder for three of my teammates, but minus a few jitters about some obstacles they were ready! We were set to go in the 11 a.m. group, putting us on the course during the hottest parts of the day. The emcee, who was absolutely perfect for that job, got us all pumped up. He did give us a rather scary speech on taking care of ourselves and our fellow Mudders in the heat. People were walking off the course or being taking off already. We were instructed to use all water aid stations, drinking even if we weren’t thirsty. After that he got us pumped up again, and after the national anthem and the Tough Mudder pledge we were off!
The course was cut through wheat fields and there really was very little shade. There were a few small trail runs in wooded areas, but that was about it when it came to shade. Thanks to sweat and the water obstacles, that sunscreen was short lived. We tackled each obstacle together, helping where needed, and just cheering everyone on. The water obstacles were ultimately blessings and perfectly spaced in my opinion. It seemed everyone took the warnings seriously and stopped at the aid stations for multiple cups of water and sometimes bananas or energy treats. We ran when we could and walked when we needed to.
I have to say there were a number of people on the course who probably should have never signed up. There were far more calls for medics for people who were unfit and/or dehydrated. Way more than I remember from 2011. I think I saw one medic call that time. Course, we all sign waivers so if you sign up it’s on you.
Overall we had a great time. Many of the obstacles, although challenging, were also fun. There were several new obstacles that we didn’t have in 2011, but also some familiar ones like Walk the Plank and Funky Monkey. One of my favorites would have to be Everest, which you’ll see below in a photo. You have to run up the side of a skateboarding halfpipe. It’s more about balance than speed. I made it up the first try and was helped at the top by my teammate.
Didn’t come away with any major injuries. We all had our bumps, bruises and abrasions. I think the sunburn was the worst!
Anyway, photos are below. I only pulled a couple off Facebook to share. I figured that would be my last Tough Mudder, but maybe not. I had a lot of fun with my team and maybe I’ll do it again. For now I’m going to concentrate on improving my fitness and running some more races. Up next is the Crack O Dawn 5k in Boalsburg, Pa. later this month and my second half marathon, the Philadelphia Rock ‘n’ Roll half with my friends Caitlin and Melissa. I might squeeze in a few more this summer, we’ll see. They’ll probably be last minute decisions.