Kiss of Mud This was the first obstacle and with barbed wire hanging just eight inches above the ground and mud water and gravel below us, we literally ate dirt. This obstacle was about five minutes into the event, and though it totally sucked and was disgusting, it was a blessing in disguise as it put a "Screw it, let's just do this, I'm ready for anything" mentality in me.
Chernobyl Jacuzzi This was one of the first obstacle courses and one of the two obstacles that I didn't even try. The reason I didn't try was because I had gotten LASIK last month and though my surgeon said that it would be fine, I wanted to veer on the side of safe and skip over any courses that involved my eyes going underwater (as you'll see later though, that rule went right out the door, several times over). So what is this obstacle? Basically a big container of ice with a wood panel in the center that you have to swim under to get through. There were huge Marines using bulldozers to continually shovel ice cubes in as people tried to swim through, and some of them weren't just little ice cubes; one of my teammates swam into a chunk of ice the size of a shoe box. I heard a lot of people say later that this was the worst of all the obstacle courses. All that I saw on the other side were people gasping, shivering, jumping up and down and using a lot of profanity plus words like "needles" and "knives" to describe it.
By far the best overheard reaction from this, though, was, "OH MY GOD, someone kick me in the d*ck, QUICK, it'll feel better!" (cue to 0:54)
Everest There was an insanely long line for this one. This was the one that I enjoyed witnessing the most. It's a slippery quarter pipe -- think skateboarding ramp -- and to get your way to the top takes some serious team efforts. It wasn't just teams helping out their teammates; all Mudders were helping each other. You could try running up the ramp, but for folks who can't, the best strategy takes a three person operation down below and at least two people at the top. All must be strong. At the bottom, one person lies on their back and another holds their feet in place, then the third person climbs up on top of the first person and lies down on his back while stepping on the first guy's shoulders. The person who is actually going up crawls up both people and is pulled up by several people at the top. I had trouble crawling up the guys and one of the guys who I crawled up said, "It's okay, you can step on my chest. It's fine. Seriously". Wow.
People cheered for the most random things, like when a more portly person got over, when someone who fell (and when you fall, you take out like, 10 people on the way down), tried again, and achieved, when an inflatable dinosaur got over, when a team of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles got over, and my favorite -- when a guy in just an American flag Speedo got to the top and the whole crowd chanted, "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!"
Funky Monkey Ugh, I hated this one. I thought I had pretty good core and upper body strength, but I fell into the water after I made it to the second bar. Not were the handles slippery, but they also spun, AND it wasn't like they went straight across; they actually went UP. The trick is to gain momentum and go fast, which I couldn't. This was my first dunk in a body of water and it SUCKED. Fortunately, it was shallow enough that I could walk to the other end. This is one of the obstacle courses where I thought, "You jerks", as in the sadistic dudes who created this.
That thing that I mentioned earlier about not having my eyes go underwater because I had just gotten LASIK? Out the door. I went through every underwater obstacle after this. Log Jammin'
This was a fun, but wimpy one. So wimpy in fact, that no one bothered taking pictures of it because I can't find any. Basically, it's just an apparatus of logs. Climb up one set of logs, then crawl through another and keep alternating till you're all the way through. There's barbed wire to cut through between every set of logs and the bottom of mud. During the last set of logs that you go under, there was a big enough opening for me to roll through, so I did. Like a pig.
I never thought I'd roll through mud just for kicks. Devil's Beard
By far the easiest obstacle course. So easy, I'm smiling as I do it. My teammate behind me? Not so much. Why? Because his 6'5 frame wouldn't allow him to crawl the way 5'3 me was able to. Thanks to him and the other tall guy in front of me, I don't think I ever even came in contact with the net. This was also the only obstacle course with snow in it, which is another time when my weightlifting gloves came in real handy. Berlin Wall Twelve foot high walls to scale and they come in pairs. This was one of the first courses and they're described as "tough enough when dry, but really fun when wet". Tall guys can run up it, but short girls like me need a boost. What's cute is that one girl got to the top, looked over and exclaimed, "there's nowhere for me to land!". Girl, you're suppose to just jump those twelve feet.
Later on, when I got to the approximately 10.75 mile mark, there was a second set of Berlin Walls. My first thought was, "Seriously?!". Hold Your Wood You can either grab a long log or a short one here. One of my teammates, a much bigger guy, and I decided to team up and grab a longer log together. We were suppose to walk down and then back up in a circle. Big mistake. I made it down, but on the way up, I needed to take several breaks. During one break, a guy who had a mini log asked if we needed help. I gasped, "YES! Can we switch?", so I exchanged my place with the long log for his baby log, which I took to the end of the cliff, propped down and sat on as I took a look at the gorgeous view and caught my breath for a minute.
As a fellow Mudder put it during this obstacle, "I feel like an Egyptian building a pyramid".
Rockslide This was like ankle twisting central. At least if not done with the right technique. At one point, there was even a sign that said, "There's a good chance you will break your ankle on this obstacle... Sorry.
" It felt like I was skiing, except without skis and a lot more bumps and dust. My whole foot was just covered in rocks as I slid down an approximately 60 degree angle for what seemed like forever. Aside from this actual Rockslide course, there were actually many other rock slides along the way, just not as long.
A lot of people developed techniques to get through these. When I slid, I always did it at an angle, and when I decided to run, I moreso hopped quickly on my toes and was really light on my feet because if I was any slower and applied any more pressure, there was more of a potential for slipping. I actually almost slipped several times when I slowed down to take a breather, but every time that happened, I caught myself and went straight back to hopping and running. Boa Constrictor I hated this one the most. It looked easy, just crawling through tubes, except when you get up close, it turns out that they cut out the bottom of the tube so that don't have an entire round tube to crawl through; you're crawling on jagged pavement, and on top of that, the tubes are filled with rocks and mud water. Once you get through the first tube, you have to duck under barbed wire, then to get under a second tube, which is at an angle, you have to bob down and put your face in the water. And it was really hot and stuffy inside the tube, too. Out of all the courses, this was the most disgusting and had me thinking "You jerks!" the most. I got cuts on my forearm and knees and tore holes in my shirt. It also got me caked from head to toe in mud and gravel.
Walk the Plank This is the one where I thought I was going to die. At the beginning/bottom, there's a disclaimer that said, "We reserve the right to push you", as in, the Marines at the top of the plank can push you 15 feet into an ice cold lake. When I got to the top of the plank, I just went, because I wanted to go down of my own volition. Holy wow. Jumping 15 feet makes you go underwater about what felt like 5 feet and I had to fight my way back to the top. And having wet, heavy tennis shoes does not help. Even when I got to the top. I totally struggled but fortunately made it to a wooden station in the middle of the lake and got pulled up.
During the 10-15 minute breather that I took to think about how I'd get to shore from that little 5x5 station in the middle of the lake, I pulled out six people who had entered into the same predicament. I could recognize the pain on their faces. When I asked, "You wanna get outta there?", they either nodded vigorously or gasped, "Yes, PLEASE" as they grabbed my hand. We had just gotten all heated up from running miles uphill only to go into the shock of dunking into ice cold water, so a bunch of us had cramped up legs. Twinkle Toes This was the second to last obstacle, and unlike all the other ones, this one you couldn't cut through; you HAD to go through this in order to officially complete the event. There was a long line to get up to the plank. Since I used to do gymnastic, ballet and yoga, I had built pretty good core strength and thought, "I got this". The couple in front of me said that they thought our beam wasn't flat and was slightly off center, but it looked okay to me and I went anyways. I went slow and steady and did really well until I got to the midpoint and the beam started wobbling. Then a strong gust of wind blew and I was done . I dunked about three feet into the water and again, I thought I was going to die as I gasped for air and made it to the surface and other side. Some people didn't feel like waiting in line for the beams, so they went straight into the water and swam across. By the way, there's a huge difference between stepping into the water and straight falling into it. Electroshock Therapy This was the last obstacle course and it wasn't bad at all. I had assumed it would be like the electric wires that some people put around their ponds to keep cats away from their fish. Each wire was said to carry a 10,000 volt shock. Some guys in front of me were saying that the easiest way to get through was to run right through them. I saw all sorts of smoke and sparks and heard screams as they went through. However, I decided on a different strategy -- walking through them slowly. I waited until the wires stopped swinging from when the guys ran through them and then I slowly maneuvered my way through them and it worked -- I didn't get shocked.