So the goal was met- I did NOT Die!!! It was the most amazing experiences of my entire life and I am not exaggerating. We got up and left the house around 6 since the website said that we needed to be there 2 hours before our start time which was at 10. We were perhaps 2 miles away from the venue when we started going over hills (you all know how much I LOOOOOVVEEE hills). At that point I did start to have big bullfrogs jump around in my stomach. I had some idea of what I was to expect since I had previously done the warrior dash (only 1/3 of this distance). Let me just say now that it is NOTHING like the Warrior Dash. While my team (TEAM ATLAS) and I were walking up to packet pick-up someone mentioned that they write your number on your forehead...I laughed and then soon found out that they were 100% serious. Supposedly they do this so that if your number falls off in the water they can identify you for medical reasons, oh and for pictures.
So our team got marked up and took a final potty break and headed to the start line. We took off and ran about a mile until we got to the first obstacle.
1. The Steeplechase (start your day off by vaulting yourself over a series of equine obstacles beware- it's not always mud on the other side). This was not as difficult or as high as I thought it was going to be. The things to be jumped over were maybe hip high and there was plenty of space to drop down and jump over the "ditch".
2. Chernobyl Jacuzzi (jump in and out of an icy mixture of assorted carcinogens). Out of all of the obstacles this really was the worst one. This was in a dumpster filled with ice and when you jumped in your lungs literally stopped. If that wasn't bad enough you had to wait for the other people in the dumpster with you to GET OUT before you could get out. I am very glad they put this at the beginning and could get it out of the way within the first 2 miles.
3. Underwater Tunnels (bob underneath the obstacles on the surface of the water as your head shrinks to the size of a walnut). Seeing as we had just been in below freezing water this was really not too difficult to handle. Just remember to keep your mouth closed and you will be just fine.
4. Kiss of Mud (eat dirt as you crawl on your belly under wire set only 8 inches from the ground). This is where the mud portion of this challenge begins. You must crawl on your HANDS and KNEES to get through this. There is no alternative.
**let me put a disclaimer here and let you know that there is about a quarter to a half mile of running between every obstacle.
5. Mystery Obstacle - this was a tire obstacle with tires hanging from wooden beam.
6. Spider's Web (fight your way over not one but two cargo nets). We had a really good wave of people and my team was AMAZING!! The guys hopped over and held the bottom of the net with resistance so it made it much easier to get up and over this obstacle.
7. Bale Bonds (hurl yourself over enormous hay bales). I actually was able to do a hop method here and was totally able to hop over these by myself (no assistance-woot woot!)
8. Ball Shrinker (try not to fall off this rickety swinging rope bridge into the mud pit below).
This one was definitely challenging for Ms. Toothpick arms. What really made this one a bit more difficult for me was that I wanted to go slowly and at my own pace and I had people coming behind me (not on my team) that ran right into me, almost knocking me off into the water. I also got my first taste of the nasty water on this one.
9. Berlin Walls #1 (show team spirit and camaraderie as you work with other Tough Mudders to scale our series of 12 foot high walls)- This was the obstacle that I was dreading the most. Mostly because I have ZERO upper body strength and I had no idea how I was going to get over it. This is where having an AMAZING team comes into play. Two of our guys would climb to the top, my husband would boost me up and shove my butt up and my other two teammates would pull me over. I could not have done this without TEAM ATLAS!!!
10. The Trenches (Get stuck in our energy zapping trademarked Tough Mudder thick mud as you wade through a maze of trenches). I feel like this was just repeated over and over throughout the entire challenge. There were holes dug out in the mud so you would take a step and end up with mud up to your chin. It was fun to walk through (there was not running through this mud) and working as a team and with other Mudders helped.
11. Twinkle Toes (make your way across a log bridge without falling into a freezing cold lake). OK this is where I am going to have my first rant. Because you had to go over this ONE PERSON AT A TIME and there were about 4200 people who were doing the race at the point where we arrived there, there was a HUGE BACKUP of people. We literally waited for 20 minutes to do this!!! It really put a huge stop to your momentum and A LOT of people were cramping up and getting very annoyed with the wait. Of course since my goal was JUST NOT TO DIE- I didn't mind too much. I don't know how they could avoid this though since you do have to go one at a time to have a chance at not falling in. (sidenote- I did not fall in- GO ME!!)
12. Devil's Beard (try as you might you may get caught like a fly in a spider's web time and time again in our annoyingly low cargo nets). We were supposed to camo crawl through mud under this one. I kinda hunched over and walked through.
**we had about a mile run here which was through a nice big field
13. Boa Constrictor (crawl through a series of pipes that may also force you through freezing muddy water). Thank goodness I am small and not claustrophobic. You went into the tubes at a downward angle which dropped you right into cold (freezing has a new connotation after the Chernobyl Jacuzzi). The other side was going up and since i was tiny i could go up on my hands and knees so it wasn't very hard for me.
14. Walk the Plank (test your fear of heights and cold all in one with our 15 feet high splash in the pond followed by a swim back out) This one may hold many a person up. If you have any fear of jumping off high spaces (which i don't) then you would have some serious problems. It was VERY high and the water was VERY deep. You also have to add in that your clothes and shoes pull you down while trying to swim to get out and it was one of the scarrier obstacles.
** after this we had hills which we had to maneuver which were very muddy and steep
15. Jumping Bales ( cross a field jumping from bale to bale- trust us you don't want to fall short on this one). I didn't realize that you were supposed to jump from one to the other. I did the up and over method here.
16. Gator Bait (criss cross our swampy bog while keeping an eye out for the angry reptiles, don't worry they are more afraid of you than you are of them- probably). People were screaming that there were gators here but we didn't see any gators. It was more treks through mud and muck (i don't think it was mud so much as manure.
17. The Gauntlet (prepare to feel like you are at a South American political demonstration as you get high pressure hoses from both sides). This one was kinda cheesy according to Dave. It was a large field sprinkler that misted you instead of pummeled you with water.
18. Fire Walker (plain and simple run through our blazing kerosene soaked straw- expect flames up to 4 feet high). This was an interesting obstacle which I remember mostly as a ton of smoke. I didn't really look right or left to see the flames (which were there and very real). I pulled my shirt up over my face and ran through as quickly as I could so that I didn't get a lot of smoke in my lungs. I think that it was pretty much as advertised.
19. Berlin Wall #2 (yet another set of brutal walls- don't slip off the top). So as stated before this was the obstacle that I was dreading and I didn't know that we had to do it twice. So after I finished it the first time I was so happy. This time though the walls were HIGHER and there were 2 of them to get over. We basically did this the same way as the first. My TEAM rocked. Dave would shove me up and one of the guys up top would pull me up so that I could hang over and drop down. (today my shoulders are protesting a little because of this.
20. Hold Your Wood (make like a lumberjack and drag a log up a ski slope). But we live in Florida and we don't have ski slopes, so in true lumberjack fashion we carried logs through a lake. We had 3 lifeguards in the water directing us when the water got deeper. I, in true Jama fashion, joked with the lifeguards and told them thanks for the heads up since the water was going to be up to my shoulders (where the log was). This did make me feel pretty tough (won't lie!)
21. Funky Monkey (monkey bars were easy when you were 5 but you will have to hold on extra tight to these, some of these have been greased with butter and you may get a shock when you fall in to an ice cold lake). I asked Dave if I should give this a serious try and he told me "just walk in". I don't think many people could have done this (Dave Mann did!!). All of them were greased with butter. I just took a nice little swim to clean off some of the mud.
22. Mystery Obstacle- this was a sideways wall with which you had to navigate on your toes (the strip was 1 inch wide). I made a go of this one and fell off halfway across.
23. Turds Nest (try not to fall as you make your way across this fragile net). This was the type of obstacle that would give me massive confidence because I would approach it and think "Jama- this you can do!" We crabwalked over this and compared to the other cargo nets the difficulty level was easy.
**these last 3 obstacles were the HARDEST!!!
24. Hay Bale Pyramid (when the going gets tough, the tough becomes insurmountable- hay bales in your path). This is the second point where we were stuck in traffic for 20 minutes. This pyramid was about 40 feet high and you needed help from others to be able to work your way up. Once again TEAM ATLAS to the rescue. Dave was behind me and two guys were above me and Dave would shove, James would pull, and I would jump. This was true Mudders helping each other. When going down the other side, I killed my shoulders (sorest part of my body in general!)
25. Everest (you will need help from your fellow Mudders to reach the top of the slippery giant quarter pipe). I honestly don't know how anyone does this. We were stuck here for 20 minutes waiting while people ran up and feel down. My team decided to make a human ladder to get the girls up (which I will be eternally grateful for). Without them this is an obstacle that I really have no idea how I would have accomplished it. I watched the girls run up and try and try and then give up and walk around. I watched A LOT of guys try and quit as well. Without a team and other Mudders, there really is no way of doing this.
26. Electroshock Therapy (release your inner demons as you sprint through a field of live wire so of which carry a 10,000 volt shock). I wasn't too concerned about this one- mainly because I didn't watch video's of people doing it. Our team went through together and we all made it out with nothing but a couple little zaps. They do shoot you with water right before you go through though. I did get hit a few times and it wasn't "pleasant" but I did not get knocked to the ground.
Our team huddled up and finished together.
It was one of the BEST experiences that I have EVER had!!! I would say that if you are going to do this race you need to have A GOOD TEAM. I would not have been able to do this race without the AMAZING TEAM ATLAS!!! Don't think that you are going to finish in a specific amount of time. Waiting for the other 6-8 thousand other people to get through some of the more tricky obstacles will deter any time goals. Go in with an attitude of have as much fun as you can and you will have FUN!! I kept saying to my team "I can't believe I am enjoying all of this". I didn't have high expectations and I was totally WRONG! If you have the opportunity to do this race I would say sign up and Embrace the Challenge.
I AM TOUGH ENOUGH- are you??
Here is the link to all of the pictures of the race. Amy had a waterproof camera and we have pictures from almost all of the obstacle. Enjoy the Craziness!!