After participating in Tough Mudder for the first time last year in Lake Tahoe, I could not wait to get back to be even “more Mudder” in 2014. Otto’s Mudders will be in full force this year with nearly 30 team members ready to challenge the 11 mile course that will see a 2680 foot elevation change. Northstar Village is already at 6330 feet and over the course we will climb Mt Pluto at 8615′. The best part of TM14, 65% of the obstacles are new (including Legionnaires’ Loop)! This year there are many first timers participating and the goal of this event, to finish as a TEAM. Teamwork and camaraderie are stressed during every obstacles in shouts of encouragement and support from those you call teammates. Leave no man (or woman) behind. Hooorah!
Using the obstacle guide I wrote last year 55% of the obstacles return to Lake Tahoe; Glory Blade, Kiss of Mud, Arctic Enema, Lumberjacked, Berlin Walls, Funky Monkey, Mud Mile, Hold Your Wood, Walk the Plank, Warrior Carry, Everest and finishing the event with Electroshock Therapy. With that said, there are 7 new obstacles Otto’s Mudders will face including Devil’s Beard, Pitfall, Prairie Dog, Pole Dancer, Pyramid Scheme, Cliffhanger, Balls to the Wall, Ladder to Hell. Some of these looks very challenging, especially Pole Dancer, which is a set of parallel bars in a ‘v’ shape and Balls to the Wall, which require the Mudder to climb a 3.5 meter wall using a rope before descending the opposite side. Pyramid Scheme has the potential of being difficult, where you climb up a muddy diagonal wall using the bodies of your teammates.
Last year the name of the game was team work, while leaving no teammate behind, injuries not withstanding. Eventually all of Otto’s Mudders gathered at the finish line to “run to glory” through Electroshock Therapy, locked arm in arm in a show of strength and for our beer. On the course some, Mudders (I was guilty) ran ahead of the other members, but always waited at the upcoming obstacle. Part of the enjoyment (for some, like me) of this event is the running between obstacles, which aren’t even 1 mile apart, while the terrain could be challenging and for the about 5.5 miles of the first 6 mile, uphill.
Things don’t get any easier after getting to the summit of Mt. Pluto, while it’s predominately downhill, fatigue will have started to set in. Looking at the organization of the course, the last 5 miles will be tougher based solely on the obstacles with 5 new ones to challenge Mudders. Even now, I don’t know if those of us who ran last year will be provided a green headband (and a special wristband) to access Legionnaires’ Loop. I would love an opportunity to take on the Leap of Faith.
This year I am still considering what footwear I am going to go with. I have seriously been thinking of running in my Luna Sandals. Yeah, call me crazy, but with very few problems last year with the Salomon Speedcross 3 I wore I might be willing to use them again for the added protection that the Luna Sandals won’t offer. One of the problems I suffered were sore toes. More recently during the Diablo Challenge 50K I nearly lost a few toenails from the continually pounding on my feet. Now that I have been trail running in sandals for nearly a year, I am not sure I want to go back to the Salmon’s this year. With all the mud and all the water, shoes were never dry and usually caked with mud. While I wasn’t unfortunate enough to lose a shoe in the mud, I did hear stories while on the course. We’ll see if I am “mas loco” enough to run like a monkey, yo with my Lunas. If not, I will tie on the Speedcross 3 and know what to expect.
As for the first timer, and we have many on Otto’s Mudders this year DON’T STRESS! This event is supposed to fun, yet challenging. You won’t be left behind, so don’t worry about that. Be safe, if you encounter an obstacle you are not quite sure of, bypass it. No one is going to think any less of your if you don’t do every obstacle. If you need help, ask! In fact you probably won’t even need to do that on many obstacles. Tough Mudder is about TEAMwork, there will be many lending you a hand to help you up and over an obstacle.
If you still have some doubts, I recommend you go back and read my previous articles from the 2013 Tough Mudder at Lake Tahoe. Curious what to wear? Read Tough Mudder What To Wear. Curious about 11 of the 20 obstacles you will face, including Electroshock Therapy and Arctic Enema? Read about the extreme conditions in Tough Mudder Obstacles. Finally if you want to read about what you may experience while running through the wild and up Mt. Pluto read Tough Mudder Experience. Personally, I am looking forward to rekindling friendships with some of the participants we met last year and running with many first time Mudders this year. The course looks exciting, especially for those returning from last year. All the best to those participating on Otto’s Mudders. Hooorah!