Good Morning from Reno!
Just when I thought I had done everything I had wanted for the summer, Tough Mudder Squaw Valley happened! This adventure race is not for the faint of heart… icy cold dumpsters filled with small glaciers, logs wrapped in barbed wire, twelve foot high walls, the list goes on and on.
Although I find it less than humorous that they would even consider calling their event one of the toughest on the planet, it was freaking fantastic and definitely not easy. Frankly, when all is said and done, an Ironman (or half) easily trumps this event for the ultra-endurance champion card…end of story.
But regardless, it was one of the most fun and best team building adventures I have participated in in years! Our team of four increased by two the morning of the race, and off we went to face a half marathon across a mountain, with a slew of obstacles that can make a grown man cry (I qualify for that).
My summer has been filled with very unique experiences, although I can’t say that I was entirely prepared for this. It wasn’t skydiving, required a different skill-set than whitewater rafting, and it definitely wasn’t a triathlon!
Most of the obstacles gave us a very heavy dose of manliness, and that’s hard to compete with :-) I’m a man because I can carry a 60 pound log up and down a mountainside!!! ROAR.
Anyways… so here’s what I got out of the 4.5 hour trek of adventuresome mud pits…
- Teamwork – 80% of those obstacles simply could not have been conquered without the help of my teammates. My favorite example is the ginormous half pipe that we had to scale. You needed people on the bottom to give you a boost and people at the top to help pull you up. You tell me how you would’ve climbed a half pipe alone?! Don’t think so… Also, I found it refreshing that the team oriented event was much more fun if you waited for each other to finish the obstacles before tackling the next. I’m so used to blasting through everything for my own personal time that I had forgotten how much fun it can be smashing an adventure as a team!
- Tough it Out – If you consider yourself to be at least somewhat tough, then this event is a great assessment of that. I guarantee you we all felt badass, super tough, totally awesome, and like conquerors of the world upon crossing the finish line. It was a very different feeling from completing a marathon or the RTO or smoking a half Ironman, but was still incredibly fulfilling and super fun.
- Use Your Skills – I like to think that I’m a well-rounded athlete and not just a single sport kind of person. I probably would not have made it through this insane day without the background that I brought to it, and do not envy people who don’t do a variety of sports regularly. It must’ve been quite unpleasant! However, it was cool being able to put into practice even more of my training from my triathlons and other activities. Many of the obstacles required a huge mix of upper and lower body strength, and between pullups, pushups, crawling through icky water, monkey-baring, rope climbing, balancing on boards, and just tons of running, you get a fair mix of workout for the day! Nothing like jumping into the fire to put your skills to the test.
- Enjoy the Moment – After a half day of tearing through a mountain, it was certainly enjoyable to cross the finish line as a team and bask in the moment. Interestingly, it was almost appalling to me that after all of these challenging obstacles that some people would skip the electric wires. Are you kidding me!? I waited all day to get zapped, and I guess I got what I deserved… Running through pools of water six inches deep with electric wires surrounding you is not the brightest idea, and I definitely got blasted by a few 10,000 volt blasts which dropped me to my knees similar to a quivering pile of jello. But it was all over fifteen seconds later and I felt all the more manly and accomplished!
I think the greatest lesson that was taken away from the day was utilize your friends and your teammates. It doesn’t matter that you “could” do it alone, it matters that you are able to be a productive member of a team and help each other when you struggle. That way, you enjoy your successes together!
My vertically challenged self definitely needed a boost to start scaling the twelve foot wall, and I had no shame in asking for it :-)