A Few Tough Mudders

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When I first found out about a race called “Tough Mudder”, I honestly thought,”How hard could it be”?

I watched the video they had on their site, it looked more fun than hard and decided that is exactly what I would do.  I would put together a team, raise some money for The Wounded Warrior Project and just do it.  Again, How hard could that be?

I formed my team. It would be myself, Rob Alex, Amanda Wilson, Damian Granoff, Marianne Turner and a new friend I made named Kai (Kai never made it to the actual race).  I started by getting Tough Mudder to allow us to race as press.  That was easy.  Tough Mudder has some pretty great people working for them so the communication was always top-notch. Second was  securing a gym to sponsor us and train us.  That was fairly easy too.  Apparently this little website here has a little name for itself in Atlanta and it wasn’t hard to talk them into sponsoring us.

It was all set.  The six of us would run this course and raise money.

As time went by, we added a few more people to our team.  Michael Galardi and Joe Schaber were great assets to our team and raised over $1000 to give to our cause, with the help of Smiths Olde Bar.   They were great to run with and had such great spirit about them.  They certainly made me laugh.

My good pal Roger Barnett asked me if he could join my team.  I thought sure, why not…  He brought on three other people from his work, Justa Bar.  Roger busted his butt to bring in some donations and all in all gave us close to $500.

As time flew by I have to admit, I never went to our gym sponsor one time.  Never worked out with the personal trainer, never did the boot camp that I was going to be so diligent doing.  I just figured I would cross that proverbial muddy bridge when I got to Tough Mudder.

March 12, 2011 – 8:45 a.m. Rob and I pull up to Justa Bar to catch our bus.  Yep, we decided that it would be a great idea to take the Justa Bar party bus to Cedartown, GA.   We also got a little kick out of imagining that Polk country, where Cedartown is, watching us pull up in the bus.  Did I mention that Polk County is a dry county?  Meaning they don’t serve liquor.  Still makes me chuckle remembering some of the faces  as we drove by.  I got side tracked,  back to the story….  Marianne, Rob, Damian, Amanda, Anne Marie, Roger and myself (plus Roger and Anne Marie’s son) all boarded the bus and headed for what was sure to be a great time.

We arrived by 11:00 a.m. and made our way to the media sign in.  Tough Mudder was so gracious to let me bring this entire team as media and run in this event.  Checking in we got our numbers and wrist bands and found our favorite photographer, Tom Dausner to shoot some before pictures.  Tom shot the beginning and the ending but could not navigate the course.  I do not blame him at all.  We had a video crew set to follow us and they canceled on us last minute.  To their credit, they said they did try to find a replacement but everyone wanted to get paid for this charity event.  Really? It’s for charity!

We approached the starting line, posed for a few more pictures and we were off!  All of us running through the trail.  It was great.  I remember thinking that it really wasn’t that bad.  I could jog for a while then slow it down through the obstacles and be done in 3 or so hours.  All that wonderful thinking came to a screeching halt when I made it to obstacle numero uno.  A 30 feet swim across the water to the other side only to turn around and swim back.  I ran right in thinking that it couldn’t be that bad.  After all, it was 72 degrees out and gorgeous.  HOLY *$@!  that was by far the coldest water I have ever, ever felt, up until them.  To make maters worse, I thought midway through I could put my feet down and walk.  Nope… too deep.  Have you ever swam through ice-cold water with big running shoes on?  Not too easy.  This was the first time I almost gave up.  I thought for a second, ” I put this whole thing together.  I got the team, I got the registration.  I don’t really have to do this, my job is done.”  Yet, every time I thought that, I knew in my heart I would never forgive myself for not pushing through.

That is what I did.  I continued on.  Next stop: Boa Constrictor. Basically crawling through two 20 foot drainage pipes with mud pits in between.  Doesn’t sound all that crazy.  I could do that.  Once I got in I realized the horrible joke.  It was filled with ICE CUBES!  Ice cubes, mud and gravel.  Just enough to make some lovely cuts on  your knees and elbows as you crawled through.  Yes, there was ice all in the muddy pits you had to walk/swim through too.

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  1. Amanda Neal Wilson

    March 15, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Great article! One correction though ;), I was with Michael and Joe when they asked if you minded us going on ahead. From the look of pain on your face, I didn’t know if you were up for that much torture, so I went with them. I stuck with them the whole time and they were great!
    I am so proud of you Ange!! You rocked it!

  2. Amanda Neal Wilson

    March 15, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Oh, and I’m proud of Rob too! ;) As well as everyone else on the team! Thankful for the help from Michael and Joe, as well as a few kind-hearted strangers in getting over those Berlin Walls. A spectator gave Joe and I a “Muscle Milk” when we were stuck in a mud pit with calf muscles cramped so hard that we couldn’t move. That totally saved us…the water station in the woods was out when we got there too.
    Thanks Backstage Beat for an amazing experience and challenge! Warrior Dash will be a piece of cake after that! ;)

  3. Ange Alex

    March 15, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Hey Amanda!
    You know what, I didn’t mention you in here as it was kind of a given that you would rock it out. You trained hard and you kicked its butt! So proud of you! I was not mad at all that you went on ahead with Joe and Michael. I am glad you had them to run with! Here’s to piece of cake Warrior Dash! :)

  4. Sylvia

    March 16, 2011 at 8:57 am

    You guys are awesome. i work with a Major with the Army Special Forces operation and he said you guys deserve serious kudos- there are grown military trained men who can not finish this course. I am so proud of you Ange,Rob and Marianne- you guys are the best. it is great to see such spirit for such a great cause. Thank you for all of us not brave enough to try it!

  5. Stephanie

    March 17, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Good Job Guys!!!
    I loved reading the article Ang (and I assumed Amanda went foraging ahead with her Bad @ss self…) The video at the end had me actually cheering for them, out loud. I’m a dork!
    What a great event for a great cause!
    **Such a great bonding experience to share with your husband!!
    So proud of you all!!!

  6. Breanne

    May 2, 2011 at 3:11 am

    About how long did it take you to finish? I was thinking of doing this, but I’m not in shape and I have an old arm injury that prevents me from supporting my weight with it, obviously I could walk around the monkey bars, but are there any other obstacles that I wouldn’t be able to complete?

  7. Ange Alex

    July 24, 2011 at 8:43 am

    It took us 5 hours… I didnt work out once, and was not in shape. It was hard as hell!!! Go for it though!!!