On Saturday morning, B, Mitch Kramer, Tambone, Cassidy and I piled into the car at 5am to drive to Temecula, California. I had baked blueberry muffins the night before, and Cassidy and Tambone provided oranges. Just whole oranges. Not sliced or anything. They would totally fail at being soccer parents. The temperature in LA was around 35 degrees, which is downright freezing if you live in LA. It didn't warm up in Temecula. We got out of the car at 7:20 and were shivering. It didn't help that we knew we had to jump into an ice bath as one of the obstacles. I forced everyone to sign the waivers without reading them, because we were running out of time and I was starting to panic. Our start time was 8am and I didn't want to be late. Plus, who actually reads death waivers anyway?
We lugged our bags with our change of clothes to the registration (which was a mile away?!?!) and signed in. We pinned our race bibs to the front of our shirts and got numbers written on our foreheads in black permanent marker. By this point, it was 7:45 and I was really starting to panic. I went to the bathroom and when I came back I couldn't find anyone. I started heading over to the start line in case they had decided to meet me there, but luckily I turned back and saw a sea of red and bright yellow (our team colors were supposed to be red, but B and I only found neon yellow and neon orange).
I ran back over and said "Where did you guys go?!?!"
B: "we literally did not move"
Me: "I came back from the bathroom and couldn't find you!!"
B: "we were standing here the whole time"
Mitch Kramer: "you need to calm down"
We checked our bags and headed over to the start time. As we waited for Tambone and Cassidy to drink a 5 hour energy (?), we heard them announce that the 8am wave of runners had already left. @&$%(*@#$(*@&#%(@#$
We headed over and got to the first obstacle before we even started: climbing over a huge wall. The boys helped Cassidy and me over, and then pulled themselves over. As we stood around in the start corral not warming up at all, we looked over at the clock: 8:05. Some people in front of us took off, and we decided to do the same thing. We really didn't want to wait until the next wave of people got to start at 8:20. Plus, we were technically the 8am start time, so it really just made more sense for us to go. As we were running up the first hill, we heard the announcer behind us say "nobody move, please stay behind the start line." Oops...The first mile was just running, there weren't any obstacles, but it was all up hill. It was actually kind of nice, because we were finally starting to get the feeling back in our legs and feet. After the first mile we got to the first official obstacle, "Kiss of Mud," where you army crawl through a huge mud puddle that has barbed wire over it. Everybody made it through just fine, even though Cassidy's pants started falling down. But she has a hot ass, so nobody minded (well, Cassidy minded).
By this point we're all in pretty good spirits and feeling good. We had some more minor obstacles that included climbing over more walls with the help of the boys, and carrying each other fireman style. But then around mile 3 we get to the obstacle all of us are dreading: Arctic Enema. It's basically a mini swimming pool filled with ice water. They were literally dumping bags of ice into the water. And there's a board going across at the halfway point, so not only do you have to get in, but you have to submerge your head. In freezing cold water. Cassidy and I held hands because we were terrified. And we should have been. Because let me tell you something-when you submerge your head in freezing cold water, you literally can't think. When I came up for air I couldn't tell if I had gone under the board or not and was prepared to smack my head. My hands were so numb I didn't know if Cassidy was under the water still holding my hand. I also forgot how to breathe. And when you go in freezing cold water, this is what your face looks like:
Cassidy's awesome friend Bonnie designs the courses for this event. How cool is that? She took those awesome candids of us.
After we got out of this obstacle we were all shaking. We all agreed that we have never been so cold in our life. Somebody had ditched a hat at a trashcan outside the water station and I took it without even thinking, I was so cold. I turned it inside out because I have been reading way too many blogs with stories of lice (side eye to Lisa and Ashley). Taking that hat was the smartest idea I've ever had. Way smarter than willingly jumping into freezing cold ice water.
By the time we warmed up, we had another obstacle: inclined monkey bars. I fell in after the second one. Cassidy made it to the fourth one and fell in. B made it the whole way because he is secretly a robot. Then we got to run over some mud hills. Then we had another water obstacle, some more walls, carrying a log for 1/4 mile, and crawling through trenches. This place did a great job of catering to pretty much everyone's nightmare-confined spaces, water, heights, shock therapy. Also, this course was really damn hilly. At some points it was so steep, everyone was walking. It would be nearly impossible to run up the hills, unless you are a Kenyan. Believe that.
One of the obstacles was running up a gigantic mud hill. When I got to the top of this one, they were playing Gangnam Style and I showed off my dance moves:
At mile 10 we get to the obstacle I have been
The next obstacle was Boa Constrictor, where we had to go through these black tunnels. The first part was fun, because you slide down into water puddle But then you have to crawl/climb back out through another tunnel that is slanted up. I'm lucky I'm wearing knee braces because it gave me some traction. You can barely (if at all) crawl on your hands and knees, but it's so slanted you are just inching along. I don't know how some people made it out of there. I saw someone at the top go in head first with someone holding his ankles to try to drag somebody back up.
We go up some more ridiculously steep hills and then get to the one Cassidy and B are dreading: Walk The Plank. Basically you climb up a wall that is 25' high and jump into water. This one doesn't bother me, so I do fine. Cassidy is not happy. But Tambone is with her and they make it up to the top. I tell her to plug her nose, because I forgot and swallowed water. At one point it looks like she is going to change her mind, but she finally goes for it with Tambone. They have Race Volunteers on top that can shove you in if you stand there too long. Luckily they did not have to resort to that and even the Volunteers cheered when they jumped in.
At mile eleven and a half, we make it to Everest: a quarter pipe that you have to run up and hopefully have nice people catch you. B makes it up first, then Mitch. Tambone tries, but doesn't get a good enough grip and slides down. I decide to go for it and make it, but have no energy to pull myself up. Some guy dressed as Batman manages to grab my leg and helps pull me up, with B and Mitch pulling my arms. We mange to get everyone up and can see the finish line!!
We have one last obstacle: run through more electric wires. These ones are long and dangling and you can run through them, instead of having to crawl under. We cover our faces with our arms and run through. I only got shocked twice, but let me just tell you, it did not feel good. It's such a weird pain, and it travels through your entire body. My knees were hurting really bad by this point, and the electricity magnified the pain. I don't know how the rest of my team made it through the other electrified obstacles. It boggles my mind.
As we cross the finish line, we get what we really came for-a bright orange headband that says Tough Mudder. It is still freezing outside and we hobble over and wrap ourselves up in the shiny foil blankets they're passing out. We huddle around those stove lamps they put outside in fancy restaurants when it's 65 degrees out. It is not 65 degrees out. It is 40. And we are all wearing wet clothes.
We manage to change into dry clothes and get back to the car where we crank the heat and devour a huge bag of gummy bears. Later, while sitting in an amazing hot tub at the hotel, we determine that because Cassidy hates cold water and submerging her head, as well as shipwrecks (Tambone goes wreck diving and she thinks this is crazy-I kind of agree), in a former life she must have died on the Titanic. And because I am afraid of being shocked in the dark, I must have died by the electric chair and was therefore a criminal. So there's that.
Despite the fact that we are all covered in some very impressive bruises, are exhausted and sore, and will possibly never know what it feels like to be warm again, we all had a really great time. And would even consider doing one again. Which means we are all crazy. Or it just means that we were the most epic team ever and can conquer not only a Tough Mudder, but probably a zombie apocalypse.