10.21.2014

Runners Tell All: Tough Mudder Recap

"Runner's Tell All" is a monthly linkup for runners of all ages, skill levels, and experience hosted by Sunshine to the Square Inch and The Lady Okie. Each month we'll have a different topic, and you can find all the topics listed here. We are accepting two sponsorship spots for each month, who will receive a sidebar ad on both blogs as well as entry links in the giveaway. 100% of your sponsorship money will go directly toward running-related giveaways. Find more information on sponsorship here. We have 2 spots available for November!

Welcome to Runners Tell All! I can't believe we're nearing the end of this linkup. Only two more! Beka and I have had so much fun this year chatting about all things running, and I'm going to miss this next year. Make sure and link up with us for the final prompts!

This month we're talking about most memorable running moments. All my running moments are memorable to me for different reasons, but most recently I ran a Tough Mudder in Dallas, and it was quite a memorable day. In case you don't know, a Tough Mudder is an obstacle course mud run that is 10-12 miles long depending on the course. The runs aren't timed. It's not about speed or exact distance: it's just about finishing.

This has been on my bucket list for a few years now, but they're super expensive. I paid $90, and that was the cheapest price! However, after running in one, I would definitely say my money is put to good use, and TM donates to the Wounded Warrior Project, so it's a good cause too.

I volunteered my brother to run with me because he's a good one to do something like this with. We ran the Dirty 30 together in 2012 and had a blast. He is one of those annoying boys who is super athletic even though he doesn't technically actually work out on a regular basis.

We left for the race early Sunday morning for the hour-long drive, and once we were on the road Daniel realized he forgot his sunglasses. Luckily for him, I keep a backup pair in the car for emergencies such as this. Foxy.

No one came with us to watch because my mom was much too nervous about the thought of us swimming through mud pits to handle actually being there, and no one else was available. That was fine with us. Nothing wrong with a little brother/sister bonding time.

That said, we don't have any spectator pics. All the pictures below of the obstacles and us on the course are courtesy of Tough Mudder. I was super surprised and excited to find out that all our race pictures were free! Courtesy of Under Armour, apparently. I love that brand.

Let's talk obstacles.

I've done the Dirty 30 (recap and pictures here), the Warrior Dash, and now the Tough Mudder. These were by far the best obstacles, most amount of mud, and basically just awesome. There were walls to climb over using rope ladders, hills to run up and down, underground trenches to crawl through, and other fun stuff. PLUS, the 10 miles pretty much looked like this the whole time:
^^^For real. This is an actual picture from our race. Hills for days.

Three obstacles stand out in my mind: 1) Arctic Enema, 2) Muddy Mile, 3) Electroshock Therapy.
^^^ Arctic Enema

Basically it's a giant square box filled with water and tons and tons and tons of ice. The water is seriously so cold. I can't even describe to you how cold it is. You jump in, swim to the middle, duck under the wooden wall that's in the middle of the water, and then climb out the other side. But the water is so cold that it kind of paralyzes you for a second and makes you disoriented. If you think about it, that really can't be safe, but we survived so I guess it's all right.
^^^ This one's the Funky Monkey. It's monkey bars that tilt up and then down. Daniel thought he could be all cool and triple-skip the bars... and he totally fell into the water. Ha! What a loser, right? I, on the other hand, completed the obstacle. Boom.
^^^ My hair totally got stuck on the barbed wire, and it took me a minute or so to untangle myself. Embarrassing. (That's my brother on the left with the pink wristband waiting to give me a hand up.)
^^^I found this picture searching hashtags on Twitter. Some guy took this with his GoPro. How random is that?

So, the Muddy Mile was nuts. As you can see in the picture above, it was just a huge trench area where you climbed in and out of mud pits. When my mom saw this picture, she was like, "Oh my gosh it looks just as horrible as I thought it would be." Sorry, Mom! 

There was no way to get up and over the trenches without a boost, and everyone was helping everyone else. Once I got a boost up to the top of one, I turned around and grabbed the hand of someone behind me to pull them up. I didn't see anyone who wasn't being helpful, and it was fun to feel like you were on a team with the other runners. A lot of spectators were watching this one. 
^^^ Electroshock Therapy

So.... this one hurt. Kind of a lot. It's the last obstacle before the finish, and there's a huge crowd of people watching. You have to run through an area filled with hanging live wires that will shock you if they touch you, which they most definitely did. 

If I were to do another Tough Mudder, I would legitimately be scared of this obstacle. But since this was my first, I was dumb enough to not know what to expect. Ouch. Those things will shock you, and you'll fall to the ground like a limp noodle. It's hilarious when it's happening to someone else.... when it's you, not so much.

When you're watching people run through it, you can hear the "pop" of the wires when they shock someone. Crazy!

Based on the time it's taken me to do 5k obstacle courses, I estimated it would take 2-3 hours to finish the Tough Mudder. If we finished in 2 hours, we were booking it. We ended up finishing in around 2 hours and 30 minutes, so not bad at all.


Overall Tough Mudder thoughts: 

The run is extremely organized from check-in to bag check to starting corrals and post-race beers. You can tell the directors know what they're doing. The obstacles were hard but fun and really varied. There were different kinds of obstacles, which I liked, and the obstacles were also ranging degrees of easy and difficult. There was only one obstacle I couldn't complete.

The finisher's shirts were dri-fit Under Armour brand, so they're really nice. The pictures are free, which if you know anything about races, that's a big deal. They had lots of showers and changing areas for runners to clean up after the race, and they provided energy beans and water at various points along the course and had lots of photographers out. I honestly don't have any complaints, and I felt like my $90 was well spent.

Have I convinced you to do one yet? Anyone else out there done a TM?

P.S. Last week I was featured on OtherMix blog with a little running Q&A. Check it out here if you want!

*On last month's giveaway, I asked you guys if you're right or left handed. Here were the results: only TWO people are left handed. So holler to the lefties! I am left handed too, and we are a rare but awesome breed.



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Runners Tell All Linkup Rules


  1. You MUST leave a comment on the person’s blog who linked up directly before you. This is not a linkup for the sake of linking up. This is a linkup to build community and spread the love and encouragement to your fellow runners! Don't be lame.
  2. Do not share links to unrelated running posts or to your blog’s homepage, or we will have to delete your link. (I've done it before too, so I'm not joking.)
  3. Please link back to either Beka or Amanda in your post so others can come here and join in! Or grab the button below and add it to your post. 
  4. Have fun!

10.17.2014

That time I saw a baby black bear run up a tree.


I've already recapped three parts of our South Dakota adventure: Carhenge, our cabin, Crazy Horse/Mount Rushmore. We stayed in Keystone Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, which meant we really only had two full days in South Dakota to pack in everything we wanted to do. I can't believe I thought we would be bored! South Dakota, you guys. It's for real.

Saturday was when we visited Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore. On Sunday, we got to do a few fun things, and one of those was visit Bear Country USA.

Think, safari except with bears and reindeer instead of giraffes and lions (or whatever kinds of animals they have in safaris). It's a two-mile loop that you drive, and you're given strict instructions to stay in your car lest you get mauled by black bears or gored by an elk. They used all caps and bold and lots of exclamation points on the flier they gave us, so we were pretty sure they were serious. That didn't stop us from rolling down our windows. I like to live on the edge. Don't tell.

Most of the animals didn't have actual pens, so they were free to just roam about. It was really cool to see animals up close like that, the black bears especially. They were right up next to our car! Then they'd walk across the road, and we would have to stop and wait. Kind of like you have to do for geese sometimes, except it's not really same at all. 

Because bears.
^^^ The whole time we waited for this bear to cross the road, I was shouting, "LOOK! IT'S WALKING!" I'm easily amused by animals performing regular functions such as walking. This is either a really good or really bad thing for my future children. Olympic gold medals in walking. Just you wait.

There weren't just bears in Bear Country USA. There were elk, reindeer, big horn sheep, and buffalo (which, being from Oklahoma, we weren't so impressed by).
^^^Reindeer!

After the drive was over, we parked, and there was a small area that was more like an actual zoo. There were only a few types of animals, like this little guy below. And they had skunks, which I thought was weird slash terrifying.

And THEN.

Then there was a huge pen full of baby black bears!

I think we stood and watched them for at least fifteen minutes. They were so fun to watch. There was one in particular that was an instigator. He (she?) was running around jumping on all the other bears. A lot of them were just lying around, and the one bear would come and jump on one or start wrestling with one until both got up and started chasing each other, and then two or three would get involved and they'd all chase each other. It was hilarious! I wish I had a video of it.

^^^ We were cracking up at this one. It's like he's taking a leisurely bath or something.

^^^One of them climbed a tree! Coolest thing ever. Have you ever seen a bear climb a tree? The little guy just ran up that thing!

Overall travel recommendation? If you ever find yourself in South Dakota, take a trip to Bear Country USA. I should warn you, however, that it was $16/person, which is definitely pricy. I mean, if you take a family there, it will add up. But it was a unique, fun thing to do, and honestly it was worth it just to see the baby bear run up that tree.

I will conclude now with one of the only pictures I got of Jordan the whole time we were there. Dude does not let me take pictures of him!
^^^See what I have to deal with? That guy.
-Have you ever seen a bear climb a tree?
-Have you ever been to a drive-through zoo thing like this?
-Do you have a favorite zoo animal? I didn't think I had a favorite, but after this I'd say baby black bears! I wanted to take one home.

Want more South Dakota?
1) Trip overview (the route we drove + other random pictures)
2) Carhenge (awesome tourist attraction on the way there)
3) Our cabin in Keystone
4) Crazy Horse & Mount Rushmore

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