Flashback to last Saturday June 13th, a group of twenty-one Unlimited MMA members and friends including myself headed up to Truckee, CA to take on the Tough Mudder Challenge 2015. With Northstar Resort as the backdrop—the obstacle course along with Mother Nature was guaranteed to test everything we had and then some. To be more specific, just picture a 10.5 mile run up a mountain trail –with rocks and tree branches and tan bark and dirt (you get the picture) while going through military style obstacles along the way.
The starting point was at the bottom of a hill. I think it is safe to say that most of us weren’t prepared for the amount of climbing that would be involved throughout the day--we had a total elevation gain of 2,861 feet!!! Out of the starting block was a slow walk uphill for about 1.5 miles, and approximately 1,000 feet. The pace was slow due to the number of people moving through the starting line. Eventually, the crowds thinned out and it was possible to move faster and pass others up--we faced 20 obstacles throughout the course.
I can’t speak for everybody, but this was definitely a challenge for me. I’ve never done anything like Tough Mudder before, and frankly I was feeling a bit nervous-not knowing what to expect. To be honest, I really had to dig deep—I was hurting from the beginning. The uphill hike pretty much killed my legs, and the difference in elevation made it hard to breathe—I guess climbing a mountain can do that to you. I trailed for much of the course but had no intention of quitting the race—thank goodness Jose stuck by me the whole time.
Eventually we caught up to the rest of the pack and we finished the race as a team. The end was the best part. There was I point when I thought I was gonna finish the race by myself, and crossing that finish line with my team felt extra good. Nothing can beat that feeling of accomplishment—to look back and say, “We did that and we finished as a team!”
While I can keep on writing about myself, I thought it would be more fun for my teammates to share their thoughts on the event.
Here are some of the things they shared:
Brian Rapaido: I've always enjoyed events like Tough Mudder. In the previous years, it was just schedule conflicts with other events, but Jeannette and I cleared our weekend for this. The idea of physically and mentally challenging ourselves is one of the most rewarding feelings. I was an Airborne paratrooper from 2002-2008 and obstacle courses were common in our training, but it's been 7 years since then and I've been itching to do it again. But for me, what I love about these events is the camaraderie we build with others. Growing and accomplishing such a task like Tough Mudder as a team is something I can look back at for many years and smile from the memories.
With that said, my favorite obstacle was the warped wall (Mt. Everest) because I felt that everyone was engaged in helping each other out. The person running and reaching out to the people on top had to trust that they wouldn't let go, and the people who had their hands out made sure that the trust was never doubted.
Jeannette Rapaido: I've always wanted to try Tough Mudder, and always said I would. But I never actually signed up. Brian signed us up one day, so I thought, “Ok, no backing out.” I wanted to challenge myself, and see what my body can or cannot do. I believe that I am athletic, and knew that I could do this. It was more of a matter of how well, and can I push myself to my limit. I'm competitive by nature-- I would never choose to stop a challenge if I had to. And my husband is a great athlete who pushes me to try harder and do my best. I always want to keep up with him no matter what. This challenge has motivated me even more to want to be fit and strong, gain muscle. It's made me realize that I have to push myself harder if I want to be stronger and to see results. The best part was the camaraderie with everyone, and the Monkey Bars was my favorite obstacle.
Clara Lim: Tough Mudder for me? There was one obstacle that took me 3x to conquer, appropriately called Mt. Everest. It was my arch nemesis. The obstacle required me to run up a mud-greased, inclining quarter pipe, and take a leap (of faith) to grab a teammate’s hand in order to get my short ass over. Each time I missed, I thought “great, I’ll be here all day.” When I made it up the third time, I was rushed with excited hugs from my teammates. This moment I felt two things: an overwhelming sense of relief that I didn’t have to do it again, but more importantly, how much I loved the team that got me through this challenge. The best part of Tough Mudder for me was accomplishing obstacles I thought I couldn’t do (like Mt. Everest, or the monkey bars) or were afraid of (like getting electrocuted), and sharing the experience with some of the most fun, positive, supportive, and bad-ass people I’ve come across.
Elaine- I did Tough Mudder to push myself beyond my limits both mentally & physically. Quitting was not an option--it was a hard to reach thought. Tough Mudder versus marathon running both take the same amount of time but test different human capabilities.
This was an experience that tested each person’s physical and mental toughness. A test that definitely made you ask yourself: “What’s your limit?”