Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Toughmudder Tri-State 2011

Toughmudder Tri-State 2011

This was quite an adventure!
One year ago, my compadre and good friend, David Quirk, completed his first ever Toughmudder and in my opinion it was quite a life-changing experience for him. He came back from the event a more motivated individual who had discovered a new-found passion for completing challenges and new fun activities of the sort.

Obviously this sort of enthusiasm got me excited and I wanted to get in on the action. .

David invited me to the first annual NYC Toughmudder Training Run back in early May of this year located in Central Park.  I was a bit apprehensive at first, but I caught on to the nice idea of doing a 6 mile run in one of the most unique places to go for a jog in this country. David’s friend, Nick Fania, also came along as he was actually the guy who got David to sign up on his team for their first Toughmudder. I had no idea what to expect from that facebook invitation, but I was in for one hell of a ride when we got there. It wasn’t just an hour-long run with a bunch of people in orange headbands like I thought it was going to be! Instead, we got yelled to do pushups, dips, crunches, run through streams, jump over rocks, and climb treacherous rocky cliffs that I didn’t even know existed in Central Park. It was quite the adventure and eventually lead me to want to sign up for my first real TM because I was so stoked on the experience.

A few months after that, it actually took some persuading on David’s part to eventually get me to sign up for the race… mostly because of the entry fee, but ultimately I caved and dished out the money for the Tri-state Toughmudder on November 12, 2011.

I had been doing a ton of triathlon training at the tail end of summer all the way to my last race on October 1st. After that I had taken a few weeks off for some much needed R&R, and then eased back into some solid running training with a few swims sprinkled in here and there. I figured I would be in pretty good shape by November 12th to run 12 miles and tackle obstacle courses.

Luckily, that conjecture was correct and on the morning of November 12, I was so ready to go!

The team was named Team Fania Mudding Co. as a play on NickFania’s dad’s family business name. Pretty awesome if you ask me! Especially because David probably wouldn’t be doing this without Nick, and in turn I probably wouldn’t be either haha.
Sarah had also been convinced to sign up for this adventure with me, and the other team mates included David’s brother, Patrick, and two of Nick’s friends, (another) Amanda and Kyle.

David drove us to IHOP that morning for a full and hearty breakfast. Nick’s family was there as well and his father so graciously paid for the food, which was so kind but so unnecessary.

After that, we made our way to the Englishtown Raceway Park and became witnesses to a massive congregation of what looked liked a bunch of crazies about to turn into mindless zombies… and that may be a somewhat true statement if  you saw what everyone looked like post-race haha
Come to think of it, if anyone wanted to capitalize on the opportunity for a bunch of starving, freezing, delusional, mud-covered extras to play zombies, they just need to show up to the Finish Line of a Toughmudder!

But in all seriousness, the race challenge was a blast!!!!!

Behold the pledge recited before every race wave:
As a Tough Mudder I pledge that…
I understand that Tough Mudder is not a race but a challenge.
I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time.
I do not whine – kids whine.
I help my fellow Mudders complete the course.
I overcome all fears.

Yelling this word for word with a crowd of strangers about to tackle the same course as you was so thrilling and, coupled with a bunch of super macho HOORAH’s, the perfect kick-off to get pumped for the grueling challenge that lay ahead!

Below are a series of photos that can somewhat describe what we went through.

By far the most fun moment was jumping off this platform into the freezing waters below, then swimming to shore!  This pretty much captures the essence of that moment for me and Sarah hahaha.

The most challenging obstacle that made me gain a ton of respect for what TM stands for was the Mount Everest Challenge. It was the half-pipe obstacle where you had to run up and grab either the ledge or an arm of a total stranger and get hoisted up by a combination of your own will power and the strength of total strangers that are helping out. Paying it forward in its most beautiful form! I loved that.

I’ll just make a quick comment about how damn COLD it was after the race. Sure the free post-race beer was satisfying to say the least, but I think I was too cold to enjoy any of it and all it did was make us have to pee so very badly while stuck in traffic leaving the raceway park haha. So frustrating. But yeah, just ask David and Sarah how much physical pain I was from the coldness. It was brutal. I don’t do well in such discomforts (goes along with my theory of bad blood circulation and crappy metabolism). I made the decision right then and there that if I was going to do another TM, it would be in a warmer climate, that’s for sure.

All-in-all, it was a total kick-ass event. I can see how people get hooked on it and want to sign up for all the ones in the area. There is an innate instinct within human beings to run around, get dirty, and feel like you’re fighting for your life. TM totally capitalizes on this basic human need and charges quite a hefty sum for all those people driven by their intrinsic impulses.