Tough Mudder Long Island was a really great event. It was 90+ degrees, and the course was around 10 miles through a wooded area with some rolling hills, about half of which was in the sun and half on far cooler trails. I thought the heat might dissuade some folks, but the event was mobbed. I ran early and was treated to Sean Corvelle’s patented brilliance and a short speech by the CEO of Team Rubicon, Tough Mudder’s new American Charity partner since they kicked Wounded Warrior to the curb. They are a pretty cool organization that gathers veterans together and sends them to assist the needy at natural disaster sites around the globe. This organization reminded me of Eric Greiten’s book “The Heart and the Fist.”
The course was quite a lot of fun. This year Tough Mudder is really hitting it out of the park. This event forced teamwork like never before. They are adding more obstacles to each course that you just can’t do alone. The Mud Mile was a great example of this. I’m 6’2″ and the mud pits were taller than me, with water up to my lower chest. Early in the day, you couldn’t get out of those suckers without help. It was really awesome. The water felt great and we were all completely covered in mud. It reminded me of the old days. I removed a rock the size of an acorn from my sock afterward.
At Mt Snow, they had a 4-6 person log carry wherein you had to feed the log through holes in a wall at various heights, and carry it over another. Even the inverted walls at Tough Mudder are tough unless you have a very strong upper body. I really love this aspect of their events. It forces you to focus on others and not try to be such a badass hauling ass all over the place with your sponsor tattoos peeling off.
Pyramid Scheme, as you know if you tried it this year, is straight up impossible alone. The larger water pit and the lack of any grippable sides, ensures that you’ll be living the Tough Mudder pledge. It’s not easy with a group either. It is harder to beat than Everest for just about everyone. But man it’s fun! The last couple events, I have hung out at the top of both this one and Everest helping folks get up the damn things for quite a while. It is my favorite part of Tough Mudder.
I forgot how much fun everyone has at well run Tough Mudder events. I lost track of this for a couple years running competitively everywhere, but this year I’ve run just about every race with my young son, or with a first timer, and I’m having such a blast, that I feel stupid for waiting so long to adopt this approach. It is still great running as fast as you can once in awhile, but I’m loving this stopping to smell the OCR roses stuff.
King of Swingers and the Blockness Monster are my two favorite obstacles at any event. They are like amusement park rides. I hit the bell on KoS this time, after going 0 for 12 at WTM, and a volunteer yelled out “That’s 13!” Almost everyone continues to miss it. If you want to hit the bell, you have to grab onto the t-bar with completely straight arms and hang on to that thing until the apex of it’s arc, quickly reaching out as far as you can with one arm. This obstacle rewards practice. I was running near a woman who screamed in triumph after jumping and swinging. It is a very high platform and it was a great reminder that OCR still really challenges people.
Blockness is possible alone if you’re tall and lucky, but it’s so much more fun as a group. This debuted as “Roll the Dice” at World’s Toughest Mudder last year, and it has become a favorite for everyone. I know I always want to hang out there for an hour. Great innovation. The water was deep and cold as well. They did a good job spacing these water obstacles out to cool you off regularly, and the water stations were numerous. This was especially important given the open course and blazing heat. Cellucor still tastes like crap though. Blue syrup. It does the job, however.
Arctic Enema wasn’t very cold this time around, it was hot out, but throw more ice in there for cripes sake. We pay good money to get smacked in the face with an ice hammer, and ice is cheap, give us our pain! On that note, Cage Crawl is murderous this year. Tough Mudder has very intelligently started this obstacle off with plenty of space between you and the cage, but the further you go, the less space you have to breathe. I am convinced I’ll drown every time I do this one. However, when (not if) you panic, just grab the fence and press your face against iup against the chain link fence. You will be able to breathe and compose yourself. It’s torture. Love it.
I’m happy I made the trek down there for this one. There were some lame aspects. My hotel was 4 miles from the site, and I was asked to drive 10 miles in the opposite direction to take a 25-minute shuttle back. I just hopped in a rideshare instead and was there in 10 min. The end of the course was anticlimactic. I think they arranged it differently as the Tough Mudder Half was happening on Sunday, but Electroshock was off by itself in the last 1/2 mile with very few spectators, and the finish line was hidden away also with few people watching. That’s worth fixing.
Go run one!