[This post is going to be lousy with #firstworldproblems. I know a girl (she's 11) who has a prosthetic leg, so all of the words henceforth can go in the chapter of the Avid Bruxist narrative titled Complaints About Shit that Doesn't Matter in the Grand Scheme. There's my disclaimer. And yet...]
In February, five friends and I registered to do the Tough Mudder Mid-Atlantic, a 12-mile course with 25 obstacles, obstacles to be overcome by doing such things as swinging across monkey bars, climbing over giant piles of logs and/or hay bales, and getting electrocuted.
The things I was worried about were myriad:
- Running 12 miles. Not the hugest deal—my sister and I lumbered a half-marathon a few years ago—but, this time, I would have to do a reasonable job of keeping up with my teammates, all of whom (a) own legs at least nine inches longer than mine, (b) weigh 50 pounds less than me, or (c) participated in the 2011 CrossFit Games.
- Doing some of the obstacles. See, there were some I planned to stroll right around: Everest, for example, a huge quarter-pipe, slippery as a snake, up which one must fling oneself and hope that another Mudder grabs at least one body part with which to hoist one the rest of the way. I was planning on skipping that one. But it was the obstacles I knew I should do but was really unsure about that caused some agita. For example, there’s a series of about a dozen shoulder-deep trenches filled with water, spaced five feet apart, over which I was supposed to jump, and I just knew—I knew—I would fall in and not be able to hoist myself out, and my teammates would have to double back and drag me out by the armpits. It was gonna be real embarrassing.
- Using wet and muddy port-a-potties. While wet and muddy. Gross.
- Getting electrocuted.
Turns out I worried about the wrong things.
Friday evening, my gang and I drove 280 miles to Germantown, MD, where we had booked two hotel rooms for two nights. On Saturday morning at 7:20, we received a text from the Tough Mudder management telling us that, because of traffic delays, we needed to use an alternate route to the site. OK. Odd that there were congestion issues before the first heat had even run, but OK.
Our start time wasn’t until 1:00, so we had breakfast, got dressed,
ran to Target for last-minute gear, and headed to the course (about 20 miles away) at 11:30. Plenty of time, we thought, to get there, get registered, and get psyched up.
Approximately five miles from the course, traffic stopped completely. We sat there for half an hour and then, using our handy telephones, navigated our way to a back entrance.
This time, we got to half a mile from the course before we were stopped. One hour later, we were still a quarter-mile away (correct my math, but I think that’s a quarter-mile an hour). That’s when the skies opened. After another 45 minutes, we arrived at the parking lot, which was 20 acres of nothing but mud. We watched even SUVs having to get pushed out by already muddy Mudders who had completed the course.
Hope sprung eternal, tho’, and several members of Team ‘Lisa grabbed IDs and the it’s-your-fault-if-you-die-doing-this-bullshit waivers we had signed and sprinted through the rain to the registration tents.
The final heat of the day was scheduled for 2:40. It was 2:35. As we ran back to the car to check on parking progress, we heard them over the megaphone announcing last call. We could do it! We were sure!
But, woe!, the attendants were (probably wisely) not allowing cars into the mudbath/parking lot. We were ready to ditch the car on the side of the road, but right then, a group of Mudders came out saying that site management had closed all the obstacles, and if we were to start, we’d basically be doing a 12-mile mud run.
The obstacles are the point.
Team ‘Lisa conferred and decided we would just get up at sick:30 in the morning and do the course the following day. We were Tough Mudders; we would prevail!
In the middle of the night, TM management sent another text saying that, due to safety concerns (flooding from the storm on the course), the Sunday event had been canceled.
Well, see, but the part about safety concerns wasn’t true.
I mean, even at that moment, it rang false because, um, the nature of the event is to slog through a 12-mile flood, but later, news reports indicated that Mother Nature was not the problem. TM management pointed the finger at uncooperative local authorities, who in turn blamed TM management for overselling the event. But the upshot was the mayor pulled the permit.
On the part of TM, I think it was a case of good ol’-fashioned hubris. They’ve been the popular jock strutting around the fieldhouse of mud-runs for a long time. They stopped showing up for practice, didn’t listen to the coach (sanctimonious jerk, though he was), and got their asses handed to them in the Friday night game.
As for the police department and mayor’s office, a.k.a. sanctimonious jerk coach, I do believe there was a lot of hitching up of pants and saying, “You big-city folks might do it that way where you’re from, but not in my town.”
Since then, TM management has backed off the “safety” charade and said essentially, “Even though local authorities were being badge-waving pissants, the responsibility lies with us to make a good event for you, and we failed.” (Which is true. They’re projected to take in $75 million this year. How ’bout you’ns invest in some goddamn ombudsmen?) They’re offering refunds(!), which they never do, or free transfers to upcoming events.
Team ‘Lisa is determined to triumph, so we’re requesting entrée into Tough Mudder Carolinas late next month. (That would give me seven weeks to generate some real good worries.) Alas, TM Carolinas is not on the list of approved transfers that was sent out today, so who knows if they’ll let us in?
All in all, I’ve gone through a lot (of #firstworldproblems) in the last few months. The chapter title for the summer of 2012 will be Wherein Our Heroine Learns to Deal with Disappointment.
I guess we all need struggles, right?, to learn and grow and change… That’s what life’s about, right?, learning and growing and changing… So I guess I should be thankful, right?, for all the learning experiences…
Nah. Summer 2012 can eat a dick.