|A philosophy that all our fellow Mudders adhered to.|
At the conclusion of my last telling, we had traversed about 14 obstacles including a number of mud and water crossings that may or may not have been actual obstacles. We had encountered three water/fuel stations including one with bathrooms (this is important for older people and those who have given birth at least once) and had stopped to wash the sand out of our shoes a few times. One of our teammates, Suzanne, was starting to feel the effects of the cold made obvious by her shivering and her nose turning blue, and I, as our team leader (mother hen), made her put on a hat (swim cap).
The next obstacle was called the "Dong Dangler" and this was a cable stretched over a large pond and (thankfully) covered with a
thick plastic covering. We were to use that cable to cross the pond by grabbing on with hands and feet and sliding our way across. We had to wait a short time to get over this obstacle, but we had a pretty decent mud coating to protect us from the wind.
So, back to the Dong Dangler: A cable across a pond. Not actually that bad, although at the middle, you were pretty much in the water again. And, we had a bit of a back-up on my cable which meant my face got right under my teammate Mereth's muddy foot. And yup, I got a big dollop of mud right in my left eye. It didn't really bother me all that much so we crossed the pond and got back to running. We probably ran another half mile or so before getting to one of the bigger challenges of the day, the Underwater Tunnels. Thankfully, just before this obstacle was water/food/bathroom station that was greatly welcomed by our team. After a very short break, we continued on to the large pond in front of us.
There were three lines of barrels floating towards the opposite shore and our task was to go underneath of them. The barrels were floating and had a wooden frame around them which was good because I needed to hang on to something for a second while I felt underneath of it, caught my breath, and got enough nerve to go under the water. My friend Steve was right there with me and he went under first and so I followed him. It was a little scary. We went under the next set, but by then, I could touch bottom and the third set I practically walked under. However, by now we had been in the water for five minutes and the wind was picking up.
|Maxine going into the ravine.|
|No one ran though here.|
The next obstacle was the King Of The Mountain hay bales. These were very high stacks of hay bales, probably twenty feet high although I might be exaggerating, that we had to climb up and over.
|Suzanne and Todd coming down off the mountain.|
|Brett going for ring number two.|
|Suzanne being awesome.|
I myself found the bars to be very slippery and decided to combat that by using my incredible crushing grip strength to hold onto each bar. What I ended up doing was wearing myself out, near the top of the incline which meant I had further to fall into the water. So, out I swam, waited for all my teammates, and found that we had yet another water obstacle to go through. And this one was gross. We went from stepping through mud to stepping through some sort of mud/slime/water mixture that provided just enough resistance to make you wonder exactly what was on the bottom of that pond and whether or not there were any snapping turtles down there. I'm sure if there were any they'd have left after the first wave, but I wasn't taking any chances. I picked up my feet and swam my way out.
|Terry, Suzanne, and Steve about to enter the Boa Constrictor.|
|They pulled him up.|
I don't have a half pipe in my back yard so we mainly trained for this by doing hill sprints with very high knees. I don't know if that helped or not, but most of us made it up Everest on the first try. Mereth opted out after two attempts, but completing the majority of the race with a sprained ankle is pretty awesome in my opinion so she gets a pass from me.
|A very happy group.|
|For hypothermia, we moved on from swim caps to hugs.|
It was a 2.5 hour drive home from the race and we were pretty hungry so we stopped at the first fast food place we came to and got some cheeseburgers. I wish I remembered what restaurant it was, but I suppose it didn't really matter, cheeseburgers somehow seemed like Nature's most perfect food at that point in time. I'd have eaten three of them, but I knew we had some great food waiting at home. It was, after all, my 40th birthday celebration and my parents had planned on feeding us all on our return to Raleigh.
This evening, I'm just past the point where my everything hurts. I finally removed the significant amount of sand in my right ear and my bruises are just now achieving their full bloom. I plan on taking the rest of the week off from doing anything particularly ambitious, but I am already thinking about my next training cycle. I have another Highland Games to train for in April and I might just do the Master's National Weightlifting meet in the Spring. But, all that remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, I don't intend to lose this running base so I will probably be keeping a once or twice a week run in the training schedule. However, if I start talking about doing a marathon, somebody please talk me out of it.