Or rather, we did it. Team Panda conquered the Tough Mudder in 4.5hrs.
This was, without a doubt, the single hardest thing I have ever encountered. I was at varying points:
And many other exciting adjectives that I don't have the budget to put here (dafuq?).
From the very beginning, climbing a 6 foot high wall, just to reach the starting line, I was testing my strength, my endurance, and my team's (fucking fantastic) ability to boost me up walls...
They push the idea constantly that Tough Mudder is NOT a race, but a personal challenge, and they're right. There were people there from every age group, body type, gender, and fitness level. Some people could run up those ski hills (in spurts at least), and others had to crawl their way up.
|The fifth hill's half way point|
My leg muscles gave out on the fourth hill, and I wanted nothing more in the world that to lie down...to give up, to go home... Except that what I wanted even more than that was to finish the damn thing. And so I side stepped my way up 3 more ski hills.
Right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot, until I was at the top. Then we would do something insane, march down the hill, and begin it all again for the next hill. Right foot, left foot...
I have very few fears. Dark, small spaces? Whatever.
Freezing cold murky water? Psssshhht.
Electricity? Umm, well, I'm not a fan...(witness my legs uselessly spasming from 30sec onwards, and me getting pulled out)...but I'm certainly not afraid...
But...jumping from a height into water? Absolutely, mind-numbingly terrifying. I can barely force myself to jump off a 2 foot high diving board...And on Saturday I jumped from more than 15 feet above the ground...
This was the hardest obstacle for me to overcome. A completely mental challenge that required every bit of courage I have...Unfortunately, in the midst of nearly pooping my pants, I forgot to plug my nose as I hit the water...and managed to fill my sinuses with muddy water, resulting in having a migraine for the remainder of the course...Oh well, Tough Mudder, right?
|Yea, we're kind of a big deal...|
Without the help of my teammates, I would never have been able to complete this. They boosted me over four 12 foot-high walls, and caught & pulled me up an 18 foot-high half pipe.
|Approaching the half pipe|
There were also two unknown heroes for me on Saturday. Two guys who literally picked me up when I was immobilized by 10,000 volts of electricity, themselves getting shocked in the process. During the Electric Eel I got 2 wires on either side of my hips, creating the perfect circuit, and causing my legs to spasm uncontrollably. I couldn't move, I couldn't even speak, but a random guy in a gray shirt saw me, and pulled me out, swearing up a storm as each shock travelled through me and into him.
Thanks Gray Shirt Guy.
|Thank you...sniff sniff|
The second mysterious stranger was at the finish line, as we ran through 10,000 volt wires. I was literally steps from getting out, when a wire zapped the exact wrong spot on my left calf, causing my entire left leg to seize, and pitching me forward into the mud.
|It's a stock picture...I am not a man with short black hair...deal wit it.|
That half second stretched to hours in my mind. I turned to see a stampede of people heading towards me. I attempted to stand, but my left calf had contracted into a muscle cramp from the electricity that was still pumping into it... Suddenly, a random guy ran back to me and pulled me up and away from the wire. I don't even remember his face, but whoever and wherever he is...Thank you.
I don't know if I'll be doing Tough Mudder 2013. This was about proving to myself that I could do it. I fought through pulled muscles, pain, and exhaustion...and I did it.
If I did it again, would it have same importance? Would I have the insane stubbornness that allowed me climb those goddamn hills when I had nothing left? I don't know.
|Team Panda, holding our wood.|
For now, I'm content to relive the day that I became a Tough Mudder... and I'll think about 2013.
|Team Panda, FTW!!!|
Gratuitous post-mudder injury pictures:
|Leg pain. I DON'T EVEN KNOW HOW THIS HAPPENED...|