Including the tissue I stuffed my bra with.
No, I was not trying to enhance my appearance. I couldn't carry anything so my sports bra was the only place I could store tissues for my runny nose and Gu Chomps to give me extra energy through the race. I also stubbornly put cheap sunglasses on, against teammates' warnings, because I figured they'd protect my contacts for at least part of the race and if they fell off after that, no big deal.
Before we hit the first mile marker - those sunglasses had disappeared.
After that, I went to pull out the tissues, only to find a sad mass of brown muddy kleenex. Sacrificed item #2 to the Mudder gods.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Back to the start.
So after we get our "pep" talk ("Someone's already bit through their lip from the electric shocks....."), and after we enjoy reading people's shirts like the Jamaican team's:
"We Run Tings"
-we take off. And we get to the first obstacle, aptly called -
Sounds pleasant, right? So I jump into the icy pool and start gasping uncontrollably and pawing the now water-splotched glasses off my face. And it's not enough for Big Mudder that you immerse your organs in icy water, but you have to completely submerge and swim under something (don't ask me what that something was because I was fairly blacked out by that point and couldn't tell you) and come up, half-panicked from the inability to inhale, on the other side and continue until you could pull yourself out.
Everyone felt like this guy:
That'll get your race started right there, lemme tell you.
So our team stops to take a happy photo after we Finish Our First Obstacle, Yay!
...too bad we have about twenty-five more to go.
So we proceed through various other obstacles, including one that was a series of ditches you were supposed to jump over.
Sounds easy, right?
Except the ground was mud. And the ditches were filled with more mud. So no matter what you did, you were pretty much going to slip in mud.
Our team starts to leap and immediately slide around, stand up, and try to "catch" the next person leaping. I panic and just picture the pulled muscles I'm going to get right off the bat by landing in a tangle of my own splayed out giraffe-limbs. I don't give it enough gas when I take my flight -
and I end up planting myself against the bank I was suppose to land on top of, legs half in the ditch of mud, arms being pulled by my laughing teammates, while they ask if I'm ok. I got better at it and eventually made the leap unassisted (and then promptly slid to my knees) but not before our team captain had an even more unfortunate landing-
His right leg made it onto the top of the bank. The left leg didn't. Leaving him basically castrated on the side of the bank before sliding woefully into the muddy ditch while people commented that they hoped he'd already had kids.....
We had other bangs and bruises before finally getting through the series and heading for more obstacles.
Here's someone who likely actually made it -- while holding a cardboard cutout. Not the only one I saw on the course, surprisingly. These people are crazy!
And then it gets real interesting.
We come up to the end of a giant tube in an obstacle called "boa constrictor." And you decide how best to get yourself through it, land in water with barbed wire above you, then crawl up another tube on the other side.
You start like so:
Following a stranger in front of you inch themselves through the slight decline and thinking "man, this would be a really crappy time to find out if you're clausterphobic," and the whole time you are hearing a race staff member yelling at people at the end to "WATCH YOUR HEAD, DON'T STAND UP." You finally push your way out to find out why that warning was given -- because there is barbed wire that will snag your face if you don't stay low and swim between the tubes as this participant realized:
So you swim through muddy water and start up another tube, this one up a slight incline.
And that's where one teammate got stuck and had to be pulled out by his girlfriend. Did I mention our team was made up of mostly girls? Did I mention this makes me feel smug?
I kid, I kid, in all fairness, it was not his fault. Thankfully us girls were able to crawl on hands and knees inside the little tubes - boys' bodies, not so much. He literally got wedged in but eventually we all made it and all popped out like so:
And we headed to more obstacles. Including one called Electric Eel, which we'll discuss next....