Saturday, March 19, 2011

Went Down to Georgia: Part Two

I talked with some of my fellow Tough Mudders last night, and when we were trying to describe the experience to other people- that weren't there- at first we said it was "intense", but that wasn't quite right. "Grueling" is what we came up with:
gru·el·ing also gru·el·ling  (gr-lng, grlng)
Physically or mentally demanding to the point of exhaustion: a grueling campaign.

"Intense" implies something extreme, but maybe a little more least to me. There were intense moments for sure- like jumping of the 20ft platform into ice cold water (they literally dumped ice in it) or right or dashing into a tangle of electric live wires.
The bigger challenge of this lay more in the duration and constant level of difficulty. I consider myself a pretty strong willed and athletic person, and this kicked my butt. I thought the run would be a piece of cake, but instead of flat/ semi-flat trails that I could fly through, it was all on mountain and dirt bike trails in the Georgia mountains that amounted to a roller coaster for runners. Some inclines were so sharp I grab had to grab tree trunks and pull myself up them. Some downhills were so steep runners just slid down them (or in a few unfortunate cases, fell and hurt their ankles). And that went on and on and on. The last several miles were also just flat out a surprise. The course maps we were given listed an 11 mile distance. As we passed mile 10's marker though, there was no end in site and multiple obstacles left to complete. I think that was the point that was the most difficult: being mentally prepared to finish, then realizing we're still miles away from the finish line.
The second to last obstacle was this platform jump. That icy water took my breath away, but also give me one last burst of energy. Just in time to bolt through the last obstacle, electrical wires, and hurl myself across the finish line.

I 'm so glad I had these ladies with me; I probably wouldn't still be smiling at the finish if it hadn't been for their comradeship. Even when I made a totally nonsensical statement in a moment of exhaustion, they just went with it and seemed totally supportive of my decision, although no one besides me actually knew what the heck I was talking about. I mean if someone said "No, I don't want to joggle anymore.", would you understand that means "We have to carry a log on our shoulders and I just want to stick with the one I already started to pick up even though someones trying to hand me a different one." No? Well, when I told Sarah E and Mary Taylor that in complete seriousness, they went with it. Then we laughed hysterically about it later, and laughter is one of my favorite ways to burst through the wall of physical and mental exhaustion.
Well done, ladies! And gents (The pic up top is of Cary rocking the monkey bars! he made it across- I did not.)! Was it extremely rough? Yes. Was it the hardest thing I've ever done? No. Will I do it again? Probably!
Me, Mary Taylor, Sarah E  

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