Damsel in Distress! (aka, Strategies for Tough Mudder Virginia)

This weekend, I head to Wintergreen Resort in Virginia with a couple of pals to take on Tough Mudder. Actually, life caught up with my friends in the last month, and I have no clue what their deals are. I don’t even know our logistics of getting there, which is starting to take a toll on my type A-minus personality. I do know that even though I panicked almost immediately after registering in June, I now have guaranteed-to-succeed strategies for the event, once I get down there, of course. 
Confession:  I’ve never done a mud run, never mind a Tough Mudder. I’m a girl among men, bringing a knife to a gunfight. 

Per the Tough Mudder website:

Total Course Length: 9 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,250 feet
Expected Completion Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Here’s a rundown of the twenty-five obstacles, in the words of the Tough Mudder Virginia website, followed by my guaranteed-to-succeed strategies. In case you don’t notice, I plan to milk the fact that I am going to be wearing a sparkly skirt from Team Sparkle. Chivalry can’t be dead, can it?

On to the obstacles and my strategies!

Obstacle 1. Braveheart Charge – Charge into battle with 5000 other mudders. Battle cries essential. “Obstacle” is a misnomer because really this is the start of the course. That being said, I got this one covered. I checked Google Maps and the Wintergreen trail map, and I think we start off charging down a black diamond slope (Tyro, for anyone following along on Wintergreen’s trail map).
Obstacle 2. Devil’s Beard – Try as you might, you will get caught like a fly in a spider’s web time and time again in our annoyingly low cargo nets. Puhleaze. I’m five feet tall. This’ll suck more for the people around me than for me.
Obstacle 3. The Gauntlet – Prepare to feel like you’re at a South American political demonstration as you get high pressure hosed from both sides as you run through Wintergreen’s halfpipe. I plan to run in the middle of a pack because getting hit with a high pressure hose will upend me.
Obstacle 4. Hold Your Wood – Make like a lumberjack and drag a log up a ski slope and then try to keep your footing on the way back down. Yeah. I’m walking this one, unless it really is up and down the tubing park like it seems in the map. But I think it’s more likely that the TM map is approximate, and it’s really up and down another black diamond slope, Eagle Swoop. Also, I hope I don’t get a splinter.
Obstacle 5. Twinkle Toes – Make your way across a log bridge without falling into a freezing cold lake. As long as no one’s bouncing behind me and my legs aren’t jelly, this one should be manageable…I used to be a gymnast.
Obstacle 6. Funky Monkey – Monkey Bars were easy when you were five, but you’ll need to hold on extra tight to these. Some of them have been greased with butter and you’ll get a shock when you fall into an ice cold lake. I’ve been training for these, although it’ll still suck. I have no strategy, other than to hang on for dear life and hope that no one falls on me after I take a dip in the ice bath.

Tough Mudder training, right?

Obstacle 7. The Log Bog Jog – Because running through a swamp isn’t tough enough, you’ll have to hop over or under a series of fallen trees. I have an irrational fear of R.O.U.S.’s, so there better not be any hanging out in here.

Checking for R.O.U.S.’s in Patagonia. 
Why do they always send the snack-sized person first??
Obstacle 8. Chernobyl Jacuzzi – Jump in and out of an icy mixture of assorted carcinogens. The additional limbs you’ll grow will surely help you on later obstacles. I think these are fruit flavored ice baths. Well, maybe not fruit flavored. But, who knew that getting tossed into New Hampshire waters in April after winning college crew races would be training for the Tough Mudder?
Obstacle 9. Underwater Tunnels – Bob underneath the obstacles on the surface of the water as your head shrinks to the size of a walnut. More cold water? I’m bringing goggles and grabbing onto the ankles of the person in front of me. Beware.
Obstacle 10. Greased Lightening – Have some fun sliding down on your ass, real Tough Mudders go head first back into the pond. This is going to be rad. Headfirst, it’s like skeleton, but without a sled.
Obstacle 11. Boa Constrictor – Crawl through a series of pipes that may also force you into freezing, muddy water. More goggles and hanging on to the person in front of me. I hope my Team Sparkle Traveling Skirt doesn’t get dirty!

Hot pink Team Sparkle skirt, with Spicy Mustard backcountry.com sticker.

Obstacle 12. Berlin Walls #1 – Show team spirit and camaraderie as you work with other Tough Mudders to scale our series of 12-foot high walls, tough enough when dry, but really fun when wet. My failproof strategy here is to be a damsel in distress. The Team Sparkle Traveling Skirt will help with this effect. Someone will then pick me up and toss me over the walls. All of them.
Obstacle 13. Death March – Feel the burn early on as you charge straight up this red graded ski run to the top of the mountain. Clearly the British Special Forces wrote this because we don’t have red-graded ski runs in the US. I’m hoofing up this one. It looks like it’s up Lower Wild Turkey, Turkey Chute (double black) and Upper Wild Turkey on the trail map. Or the woods.
Obstacle 14. Cliff Hanger – Grab onto anything you can as you scramble up and over the hills of this muddy mountain track. …another damsel in distress moment.
Obstacle 15. Kiss of Mud – Eat dirt as you crawl on your belly under wire set only 8 inches from the ground. As long as I don’t overeat, it’s entirely possible that I can shimmy under wires set 8 inches above ground.  Then it looks like we run around the golf course or development or something.
Obstacle 16. Log Jammin’ – Don’t bang your head as you navigate over and under a series of logs. Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right…
Obstacle 17. Spider’s Web – Fight your way up over not one but two cargo nets. The view from the top is nice, but we think it’s best you get down the other side as soon as humanly possible. 
Obstacle 18. Berlin Walls #2 – Yet another set of brutal walls. Don’t slip off the top! See strategy for #12. Alternatively, I will stand there and tell people that the obstacle is dwarf tossing.
Obstacle 19. Shake n’ Bake – After being hosed down by the fire department, crawl through sand. If you have ever wanted to feel like breaded chicken (or sushi crunch), you’re welcome. I think by this point my arms will feel like spam musubi. I have no strategy here, other than thinking happy thoughts.
Obstacle 20. Mystery Obstacle – Obstacle Design Race Day Surprise. Expect Something Truly Bad Ass. Well…I guess I’ll just wing this one.
Obstacle 21. Kinky Tunnels – Kinky refers to the bends in the tunnels, not what takes place while inside…we think. Crawl, right? And don’t crawl into the side walls. I mean, that’s what you’re supposed to do, right?
Obstacle 22. Turd’s Nest – Try not to fall as you make your way across this fragile net.  I’ll try not to fall.
Obstacle 23. Everest – You’ll need help from your fellow mudders to reach the top of this slippery giant quarter pipe. Another damsel in distress one.
The beta on Everest from a college pal and his wife who
inadvertently came upon the obstacle during a hike at Squaw:
“It looks like a splinter-fest.” I eat splinters for breakfast!

Obstacle 24. Fire Walker – Plain and simple run through our blazing kerosene soaked straw. Expect flames at least 4 feet high. My chance to feel like I’m in a John Woo movie!

Obstacle 25. Electroshock Therapy – Release your inner demons as you sprint through a field of live wires, some of which carry a 10,000 volt shock. Terrified.

I’ll be posting my goals later this week. Like I need a goal other than rocking the Team Sparkle Traveling Skirt.