spartan beast

Tough Mudder Recap(Or How Maximum Results Boot Camp Owned Vermont)

“You measure the size of the accomplishment by the obstacles you had to overcome to reach your goals.”

-Booker T. Washington

My journey to the New England Tough Mudder began 8:30 pm in West Hartford.  My teammates had arrived long ahead of me in Vermont while I stayed behind for a CT-Alive event (more of that to come in a future post…when I have pics).  By the time I arrived at the house, it was pretty rowdy- a vast understatement. lol Most of the group had run that morning and were celebrating their victory by further dehydrating their sunburned bodies with massive quantities of alcohol.  Makes total sense to me. 🙂

Being the only sober person in the room (it didn’t take Adam and G-dawg long to catch up, having only arrived 2 hrs before I did) it was a pretty entertaining scene… especially when G-dawg was telling my friends how terrified he is of me because I’m “impervious to pain”.  In his drunken state, he also managed to convince one the guys who ran Saturday to do the course again with us.  There were considerable amounts of Patron involved in this decision process…

All that being said, I didn’t get a heck of a lot of sleep.  I resorted to stuffing tissue in my ears and curling up on a chair in another room in an unsuccessful attempt to drown out some of the noise.  I probably drifted off to sleep in the early hours of the morning, only to wake up a few later.  The Saturday group was in pretty rough shape, but in true team form came out to support us anyway.  

The course was different from the NorCal mudder in that you had to climb a Berlin Wall to get to the start.- a nice touch in my opinion.  Many of the obstacles were the same, but there were a few new ones like the Electric Eel (getting shocked while crawling under barbed wire) and some under ground tunnels that were tight  even for me.  Our first obstacle was a dumpster filled with ice where you had to climb under a board and out the other side. There was so much ice it was hard to wade your way through; and the temperature of the water made it difficult to breath. Sound fun right?

From there we ran up and down the ski slope so many times I lost track (oh and there were some obstacle mixed in between).  The uphills were so steep there were times we were crawling on all fours, and the downhills were so muddy it was hard to move.  I would take a step and be literally knee deep!!!  I LOVE mud, but it was A LOT- even for me. lol

No surprise, there were a lot of water obstacles. We crawled under barbed wire in muddy water, climbed through tunnels in muddy water, went under and over logs in….you get the idea.  😉 We got blasted with snow and freezing water going up the hills- at one point the water hit me so hard I got knocked off track. lol  Thankfully, the water on the walk the plank was not NEARLY as cold as last time.  It was nice to be able to breath when I hit the surface!   BTW it was still TERRIFYING- absolutely my LEAST FAVORITE obstacle!!!  I would rather go through the electric shock 5 times (which just for the record was not that bad… maybe they turned down the voltage?) than jump off that plank.

I spent extra time swimming because I fell in on the monkey bars (in retrospect, maybe not the best obstacle to try with my shoulder…) AND off the rope where we were supposed to shimmy across the pond.  The rest of the obstacles I managed though! The walls were much easier with a team- especially coming down.  I also made it up Everest this time despite wearing mudddy Vibrams with no tread.  The cargo net, snow obstacles, logs, and tunnels were all pretty easy for me, although I did a great job scraping myself up on the logs and came out of the tunnels bleeding from my knee.  I think I was the first to draw blood!  I also made it across the plank in record time because I was afraid of the guy yelling at everyone to move faster.  There was a point where Kelly and I momentarily got caught up when we went to jump over the fire and they cranked it up.  We were so cold and close to being finished at that point that we (not so gracefully) hopped over it anyway.

Overall, everyone on our team KICKED ASS.  I don’t think anyone was prepared for those hills, but everyone plowed through them.  We worked together as a team and BEASTED through that course! (even our recruit from Saturday, who stayed with us even after he sobered up)  The energy was amazing. I was so happy for everyone who had finished for the first time.  There is no greater feeling than achieving a goal you aren’t sure you can reach.  I was especially proud of all the people in our group who ran with various injuries and were still able to push through the pain and finish.  I couldn’t imagine being part of a more motivated, determined, and dedicated (not only to their goals, but also each other) group of people!

So in case you are wondering what a bunch of Boot Campers do after conquering a Tough Mudder, I will tell you.  They set another goal AND KICK IT IN THE FACE.  Looks like G-Dawg and I will have some company in September for the Ultra Beast! (…at least for half the course)

Love these guys!!!!

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Victories and Setbacks

“I assess the power of a will by how much resistance, pain,
torture it endures and knows how to turn to its advantage. “
Friedrich Nietzsche

Life is composed of victories and setbacks.  Great victories are always eventually followed by setbacks, and setbacks by victories.  It’s all a cycle. That’s just the way of things. Keeping this in mind helps me maintain perspective.  When I’m doing well, I do my best to enjoy it knowing it won’t last; and when things get rough, I remind myself that it will pass.

In terms of my life and ongoing struggle with daily existence after trauma, I’d say I’m on the victory side of things.  However, running has fallen into the setback zone.  My entire life I have been plagued by knee problems.  As long as I’ve been walking, my knees have popped out of place. The pain and other joint issues associated with this have always limited my running.  When I started using the Vibram Five Fingers (don’t ask me why it’s “fingers” and not toes), I noticed a dramatic improvement in my joint pain.  Basically, I didn’t have any.  I was hurting all right, but it was all muscular.  Everything was going fine and dandy until last week when, deluded with my new sense of limitless, I decided to up my mileage by a full hour instead of 30 minutes.

That is how I became rudely reacquainted with the nagging pain of IT band syndrome.  It’s a running overuse injury that I am all too familiar with.  Initially, I was not aware of its reemergance due to the new location of the pain. However, when it got to the point that even gently brushing anything against my tibial tubercle (the bony knob just under your knee) caused me to jump in agony, I decided to do a google search on “lateral knee pain” and then “pain, tibial tubercle”.  What I found was my familiar nemesis IT band syndrome.  Apparently, if you continue to run when your IT band is irritated, you develop terrible point tenderness –you guessed it– at your tibial tubercle.  So after patting myself on the back for pushing IT band syndrome to new personal heights, I looked up the treatment: six weeks of rest and stretching.  This was not an acceptable option.  Six weeks of “rest” would have me in the loony bin.  I needed to exercise for my sanity sake!  More reading.. there was also a mention of strengthening weak muscle groups- this seemed more palatable.

At the moment, I am trying very hard to limit my running.  I have been spending quality time with the stair climber and doing general conditioning/strength training.  There was a moment or two that doubted I would be able to run the marathon in Oct., or ever.  Of course, then I came back to my senses and realized I would never allow myself to quit.  Plus, if I tried, my best friend Randi would assuredly put me back in line.

Everyone needs a good friend to hold a mirror up when you need it, tell you what you need to hear (even when you don’t want to hear it), and hold you accountable.  Randi has been my best friend since high school; and while I have many incredible, amazing friends who I cherish, Randi is the one I can count on to do all these things.  I, through coercion, begging, and even a little arm twisting, have convinced her to do the Diva Half Marathon with me.  I have been “encouraging” her to do the Hartford Marathon with me as well.  Every time she comes up with an excuse or says she’d never be able to run that far- I assure her that I’m convinced she can.  When her motivation starts to wane or she gets discouraged by running injuries, I do my best to encourage her (like buying her cool running gear and books for her birthday).

I have to finish that marathon, IT band syndrome or not!  I need to prove to myself I can do it.  Plus, I want to show Randi that she can do it.  After all, she is the athletic one!  I would not only be letting myself down if I quit, but also my best friend.  There’s just no way that’s going to happen.

In the meantime, I’ll be training for the NorCal Tough Mudder next month.  On this afternoon’s agenda, time at the gym with my very own personal trainer (my boyfriend Adam- the seasoned marathon runner and Tough Mudder alum)