Hope all is well with you today! It is 4:12am, Sunday, July 29..and I just got out of bed because I had to write about my Mud Ninja experience! I tried to wait until later in the day, but nope, couldn’t do it! I am sure I will add additional detail in the next day or so.
I generally don’t do long posts, but in order to tell my experience, this one may be a bit lengthy!
If you are considering doing a challenging obstacle course run (Warrior Dash, Mud Ninja, etc) or if you just want a good laugh, or maybe you just want to visualize what my crazy friends and I experienced on this journey, then keep reading! Yeah, we are some crazy folks – we said that to each other while running down the hill over rocks, mud and weeds.
Training tip: When I train, or train others, it’s always good to remember to do pushing and pulling movements, or a push/pull routine. When you do a “push”, do a “pull”. You will mention this during the post.
When my wife and I arrive at the event we were amazed that the event was less than 25 minutes from where we live – Chillicothe, Ohio! We thought, is this still in Ross County?? We were to meet 2 friends of ours also participating in this event. There were people from all over there – Atlanta, Baltimore, Kentucky, Illinois, Pennsylvania, just to name a few, all to come participate or to just experience this event.
This was my FIRST Mud Ninja event (my friends Todd and Dawns, too) so I thought, ok, how rough can it be – I’ve done the Warrior Dash before. Lord Jeeezuz help. Was I in for a rude awakening.
In order to prepare for this event, I started running hills and trails early part of June..I knew there would be hills. I am soo glad that I did!
After we got registered, it was time for us to start…..here we go..!
As soon as we take off, 100 yards into it, no lackadaisical stuff here, the course goes directly into a steep, steep STEEP decline full of large rocks, so you really had to watch your footing and maintain your balance. Not a problem so far…but we knew the further we ran the winding trail down, we would have to come back up at some point. People were walking already so we went around them.
We get to what we thought was the bottom, and we have to wade thru a pond – a smelly pond with grey water and green stuff floating on top – but hey, it’s the Mud Ninja right? So, we’re up for any obstacle! After getting out of the pond we said “we are some crazy people” ain’t we ! We laughed and then crazy me said you don’t see many black people doin this type of stuff! (although there were some there. Another post on that coming soon!)…sure don’t! But I am a fan of doing different stuff!
Well, we continued to descend even further..then here it comes..we start to go up..we run..so far so good (walking lunges and hill runs really helped with this). By now the trail is muddy, so people were slipping and falling on some parts. we get to the top and the next obstacle was a water slide – back down again we go. It was about 100 ft slide. You slide down into water…..oh yeah, and some mud. Fun. Then we go down hill some more and run into the next obstacle – a very tight zig-zag maze of thin rope you had to go over while long rags hung in your face (like a jungle)..once out, it was more downhill from there. Seriously? More downhill? You needed good core strength for this part – the trail was muddy and slick and you had to maintain your balance. We get to the bottom and we had to cross two creeks..and what lies ahead, the first obstacle that required pulling.
It was a vertical, yes, VERTICAL climb up the muddy side of the embankment. You had to grab rope and pull yourself up…slippery, wet and muddy! I loved it! Some people were struggling with this one. I thought I was Bruce Willis or somebody saving someone hanging from the side of a building! Just like you see in the movies, I grabbed onto the top of the rope and stretched my hand out. I yelled to one lady just hanging there..”c’mon honey, take my hand! ” She didn’t at first-she was afraid to let go. Then people said “take the big mans hand take the big mans hand’! I finally got her up, then I had to crouch and make my way thru the thicket. Off running again – more down hill. What the??? Still going DOWN?? Really??
Ok, FINALLY…here it comes..steep hill..I saw how far up we had to go. Let’s do this. I ran it – pushing myself and telling myself “do it!” “come on..come on”..WOW. My legs on fire now-but I work thru it. Finally, it levels off as the course starts winding in another direction….SCREECH!! tall grass hid THIS from me around the corner. A TUNNEL. A dark, gloomy tunnel. Lord, jeezus help. UUUGH! I run to it..and stopped again…ok, I love the Lord and all..and sometimes we slip…well I thought I THOUGHT a few cuss words..but uhm..but before I knew it, they actually slipped out! *$*&@#N@(#N and *(#$#^&)N)@*#N@@)(*&!@ ….then the words started coming out like a machine gun – *&#$(#* (*#(@N@#….*$(#N…&^^%…(#&#!…*##*#)!*…..forgive me, Lord!
I am claustrophobic and I had forgotten all about this tunnel on the course! I jogged in place…looked around..then I jogged in a circle…trying to sike myself up. OK, I can do this…I proceed to the small opening..peep in…I come right back out! OK, let me try it again…got in a little further this time..but nope, I backed that thang right back up! By now, Todd and Dawn have made it thru. They knew I had a fear of this..they were encouraging me from the other side and they waited.
On the fourth attempt, the attendant said, you can go around..well, I started to just go around, then I said “no”.
So I tried again. I yelled back at the attendant “don’tyouletnobodycomebehindme!” If someone came behind me it would not be pretty! I was already in a state of panic and I needed this tunnel all to myself. Yes, I did. Ok, here goes… My heart racing 5x it’s normal speed, I get down, and I crawled and screamed the entire way thru..I did not look back..I get to the middle and I can see shimmers of light about and ahead..I crawled faster..sho’ did. I see the light! Crawl, Sidney! Faster, I see the light! Shoot, I tried to get out so fast I bumped my head on a beam – ouch! But I did it! I faced my fear and got thru it. I had to crawl about 75 yards in the mud and water. The animal exercises, spider man pushups and the crawling moves helped with this.
Once out, immediately there was an ascent – this was steep, too! Really?? The tunnel took a lot out of me and I couldn’t get my heart rate down fast enough from the trauma – but I continued to run. We get to the top of the hill…finally a water break..uh oh..I get a bit sick on the stomach ..What??!! Me? I never get sick on the stomach due to exercise…well; I took a swig of water, swallowed a bit and spit it out, cleaned mud of our hands and headed directly to the next obstacle. No time for nausea to stop me.
The next obstacle was a wall of about 20ft high I guess. The wall was wet, and there was nothing to help you get over it. No rope, no pegs, nothing. You had to have upper body strength and use team work – Or make a human ladder as I called it. We hoisted and pulled several people up.
Uhm, but why did I have the guy in fatigues who I’m sure weighed 50lbs more than scrawny ol’ me, waiting to be hoisted up?? And he had on a weighted back pack!! He was on the ground, I was on top of the wall already, and here I am trying to lift him! Well, after several grunts we did it! Todd and I said, ok, time to go. Lets get down and keep moving. The pulling motion was mostly used here – the rows and lat pulldowns helped with this.
Skipping a few obstacles ahead, we are now on the other side of the property.
Low crawling thru water and mud, under barbed wire was next. You had to stay low for this one..then up an down mounds. Upper and lower body strength needed for these. At times you had to slide down into the pit and crawl your way back out.
Uh oh..repel time! Hanging upside down while dripping wet and muddy hands! Awesome! You had to pull yourself across a very thin rope to the other side. Otherwise, if you let go, you fall into a deep pit of water. I’ve never done that before that I can remember – even as a kid. We all had success on this one! That pulling motion is required again – upper body strength needed for this one.
A gorge, a valley, a canyon or whatever you want to name it, was now before us. Is this really in Ross County??? Well, we ran down and down and down and down what seemed like 100 miles. (Sigh..) now my wet shorts started to fall down from around my waist due to the constant pounding of running down hill. I could feel them getting lower and lower. So I had to try and pull them up while running. I did the the RT – you know, the “run and tie”. That’s when you run and tie at the same time.
Well, as we continued to run, we knew we would have to save our strength – we could see far off in the distance thru the trees people scaling up the side of a mountain. Lord jeezuz help….They looked so little. How much further we got to do how much further!!? We’ve already been on this dag on course for what seemed like 6 miles! People just walkin like they out for an afternoon stroll. I know how they feel!
We finally get to that vertical incline we saw in the distance. There was a huge wet, slippery log blocking our way that you had to pull yourself up and over. We did it…now time to climb – vertically. Without any rope. Laaawwd jeeezuz help. You could solely use your legs, but here is where I tried to balance using upper and lower body strength. Bear crawls really helped with this obstacle. By the time I reached the top (seemed like forever), I could feel my glutes burning. Did I need a quick breather. Yes! But, ummph we didn’t take one! We pressed forward!
It started to level out, but we weren’t out of the woods just yet! We had to run more hills. Were did all of these hills and crevices come from???!
Ok, about 3-5 mins into the run, I had to walk a bit here. But the last portion of the hill I ran. At the top of the hill – water break. I needed it. I think I only took about a few sips..poured one cup over my head.
Next was balance and strength again. The Log Scoot. Upper body strength required. Men, be careful on these logs..uhm, yeah, be careful scootin’ on the logs and you know whyyyy. (little did we know there would be more of that coming!)
Next we had jumping over ditches – they were about 4ft deep and about 5feet apart with mounds of dirt you had to maneuver over, in between each ditch. There were about 7 total. One thing I do know – I can jump forever! So this one was easy for us. Plyometrics, squat/box jumps, squats etc, helped with this one.
More running and another pond. This pond looked like a scene from a military movie where the soldiers were wading thru the swamp with cattails all around. Yes, there were cattails in this pond.
Next, monkey bars. Yeaaah! Another test of strength! But these were not just your everyday type monkey bars. There was a deep pit of water and mud below, so don’t fall off! The “bars” were pieces of wood. Slippery. Did I do it – yes! Much upper body strength required. Pull-ups and “hand walking” across an overhead bar, feet off the floor, helped me with this one.
Before the finish line we encountered one obstacle that you had to pull a 30lb bucket of concrete up 30ft and hit a bell. Different. The pulling motion, hand over hand; seated rows helped with this one.
Time to run some more…and oooh boy! What do we see ahead!
Back to back to back mud pits!! High walls of dirt/mud..slippery slides…awesome! This will be challenging. I love it!
First we had to plank walk the tight rope. If you were short – good luck! I’m sure there was another one that could be used, though. Those planks and plank walks we do sure did come in handy for this one!
Here comes the muddy mounds and muddy pits. Wow! Excitement and mayhem to the tenth level! But no up and over by yourself – no sir’ree bob…not possible! Team work is needed here. At any position you are on these mounds, you are constantly pulling and pushing yourself and someone else up.
To conquer these mounds, you have to form a “step” with your hands. One person steps into your hands so they can get onto the mound, then they grab a rope, or dig their hand into the dirt, then you have to push them up and they pull! They crawl to the top. At one point helping, I told the man and woman I ain’t getting fresh, but shoot, I had to push them from their butts! I needed to get up and over too, one man returned the favor by pulling me up. Todd was a master at this-he would help as many people as he could get up/over. Team work, baby!
You also had to strategize on some of the mud pits on how you would get out of it. There was more log scoots..people would slide down the mound and watch out! Or you would get knocked off! This happened to Dawn….bam! They both fell into the water! The man was nice enough to help her back up. Sheer determination along with upper body/core strength needed here in the mud pits/mounds.
Well, we finally made it out of the pits. We were surprised that we were finished! We crossed the finish line together in victory!
We thought this was a 3.5 mile course..but we are sure it was more like 5 miles..!
One thing is for sure they sure did map this course well!
You will need to be somewhat cardiovascularly fit, and have upper, lower body and core strength.
Here are some of the exercises that I did that I am sure helped me completed this Mud Ninja Extreme course:
- Pushups (all variations)
- Lat pulldowns and Rows
- Planks (walking planks)
- Hill/trail runs (for distance and endurance)
- Bear crawls, Alligator walks and Tiger crawl
- Squats and Squat/box jumps
- Lunges and Deadlifts
Well, I hope you enjoyed my commentary of my first Mud Ninja experience! I LOVE this challenging stuff..the mud, the camaraderie, etc. Was it extreme – Yes. Will I do it again? Definitely! Also, this challenge gave me the opportunity to face my fear (going thru the tunnel) and conquer it, thru a physical fitness event. Will I go thru another tunnel at another event…hmmmm..can’t answer that at the moment!
It was good to participate in this event with friends, Todd and Dawn as well – they are beasts when it comes to fitness! And I appreciate them for supporting & encouraging me to get thru the tunnel. They could have ran ahead, but they waited. One thing that is sure sportsmanship is that we did not do this event for “time” we did it for fun and to say that we FINISHED. That’s what it’s all about- finishing. Sure we could have saved alot of time by not helping others, but that’s not what we (I) do! We all finish.
In my age group I came in 3rd…WOW! Overall I was finished 98th out of about 2000 people! Dawn finished first 1st in her age group and Todd finished 5th..but we all crossed the finish line together so I’m confused about the times….oh well, no worries! Overall, we had a great, great, great! time!
Funny thing..but we felt good that we were able to either do as well or better than most of the young’ens! One lady shouted to me “well, look at you! Awesome” as I ran passed her up the last hill. I guess the gray in my goatee gave my age away?
I will be back hittin’ the trails again this week. I wonder if the people who own the farm land would let me do some running out there? hmm..it’s a thought.
Plans are in the works to do the Tough Mudder in Pittsburgh, Pa..August 2013! Yeah, that’s on my bucket list!
If you would like to view all of the pics my wife, Joy, took of the event, you can view them here:
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