Ragnar Relay Colorado – Post Race Recap – Part II

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(You can catch Part I HERE.)

Leg 25 – 6.3 miles

It’s 5am and my phone starts ringing. Not the alarm, my actual ring tone, and I don’t have the number saved. Super sleepy and confused, I pick it up, knowing that it could be a team member.

“Hello,” I say in a very sleepy, raspy, quiet voice.

“Hey Whitney…. It’s Piar….” he says, gently. (A runner from Van 2)

“Oh, hey. What’s up,” still whispering, rubbing my eyes.

“Oh… we’re here and Monique (the current runner) will be here in about 5 minutes!”

Wait. WHAT??

My brain immediately kicks into action, “OH! OK! I was sleeping. I’ll get ready as fast as I can!”

One of my teammates was sleeping next to me and obviously wakes up to this. I tell him they’re here and he offers to gather all my stuff  so that I can run to the van and get everything else I need! How nice!

I can’t imagine what I looked like to everyone else; to those few awake in the gym that is. It was probably hilarious watching me try to put on my shoes as I’m run/walking to the door. One of my shoes was only half on as I reached the doors and pretty much sprinted to the car.

SEE!!!! All uphill!!!!!

SEE!!!! All uphill!!!!!

Our team captain was sleeping in the van, doors locked, and I probably scared him half to death as I came pounding on the door.

“James! It’s locked! I need my shoes! They’re here!”

He pops up, opens the back door, all his stuff spilling to the ground, (what he was trying to avoid by locking the door) and I try to remember everything I need.

Running Shoes: check. Safety vest: check. Blinky light: check. Headlamp: check. Phone: got it. Granola bar shoved in my sports bra just in case: check. It’s a good thing I slept in most of my running clothes, all I needed was a long-sleeved pullover to keep warm.

Obviously a horrible picture of my self… but this is pretty much what my vision was like as I was running that morning.

Obviously a horrible picture of my self… but this is pretty much what my vision was like as I was running that morning.

Without even my shorts tied, I took off running, not really sure where to go, and had to ask a volunteer as I ran away where the actual exchange zone was.

You see, we had a spread sheet of projected times, and everyone read it wrong before we went to bed. We were reading the time I would be FINISHED in the morning, not when I should start running. All six of us read the sheet and all six of read it wrong.

I later found out this conversation: “How will we be able to tell if it’s Whitney since it dark?” Answer: “Oh, she’ll be the one running over here.”

I didn’t even need to be near for them to know it was me. I came tearing around the corner and I hear familiar voices calling my name, “WHITNEY! Over here!”

I held out my arm, Monique slapped the bracelet baton on, and I started running.

“WAIT! Where do I go?!” I had no idea where the trail was. A volunteer on the other side of the exchange zone yelled directions as I took off running.

Still not fully awake, my eyes were super blurry, but I just followed the trail. This was going to be a tough one. Let alone did I get a “rude awakening” but this 6.3 miles was ALL uphill. No exaggeration.

This is a pretty accurate picture of what my vision saw for the first half of the run. Blurry and all.

This is a pretty accurate picture of what my vision was for the first half of the run. Blurry and all.

Before the sun rose, it was pretty chilly and I didn’t think to grab a pair of gloves. But I’m kinda glad that I had to just start running, only for the sake of the rest of me NOT being cold. From sleeping inside and immediately starting to run, I didn’t have a chance to adjust to the cooler morning temps. If I had been the 2nd runner or beyond, we would have been walking around in the cold waiting for the other runners and once I’m cold, I feel like I never warm up.

As the sun started to rise, I could see that I was running along a river, which probably would have been very pretty in the daylight. Then you get out the city and into what I would call a little more rural area. There were houses, but each had lots of space and yards and some had farms. I continued to trudge up the hills as my van passed by and cheered out the windows.

Watching the sun rise of the mountains

Watching the sun rise of the mountains

I passed four other runners on this run!!! (And only one other person passed me). I didn’t stop running. I couldn’t. If  I did, I wouldn’t have been able to get going again.

One of the runners I had passed turned out to be a girl I went to high school with! Very ironic! I didn’t know it was her until after we were both done running and she approached me to say hi. I had said something to her on the trail like, “man these hills SUCK!” not knowing I knew her!

The hills just kept going and going. It would decrease in incline percentage for a bit, only to go back up. Finally, I saw a “left turn” sign and my last half mile or so was relatively flat…ish. I saw a bunch of people, vans and cones in the distance hoping it wasn’t a mirage from sleep left in my eyes.

At the top of the hill I thought I still had to climb, but luckily it was our next runner that had to climb this.

At the top of the hill I thought I still had to climb, but luckily it was our next runner that had to climb this.

There was also another hill in front of me. I was hoping that I didn’t have to climb it. Thankfully the next runner met me at exchange which was at the bottom of that hill. I handed off the slap bracelet and stumbled around.

I was DONE! Done, done, done, done and done.

DONE! The first of our team to fill in all of their boxes!

DONE! The first of our team to fill in all of their boxes!


After my run, I wasn’t feeling all that great. I was hungry but nauseous all at the same time. Clearly it was due to poor nutrition since I was on the run less than 10 minutes of waking up and didn’t get to fuel properly. I helped cheer on my fellow van-mates at the remaining exchange zones while I managed to suck down a Muscle Milk to get something in my stomach.

Lisa handing off to Chuy, our last runner of van 1!

Lisa handing off to Chuy, our last runner of van 1!

You could tell we were nearing the end of our journey. Watching other teams get in and out of their vans (including us) was almost comical. More and more people had limps or were just moving reeeeeaaaaalllllyyyyyy slow.

Finally our last runner had arrived at the last major exchange before the finish line. In all the Ragnar information we were promised pancakes (all you can eat!) and were very disappointed when we found out the pancake people never showed up.

yes, that was my contribution to the van art!

yes, that was my contribution to the van art!

Instead, we went to a local diner and of course I got pancakes! I was really looking forward to those delicious breakfast treats as you can tell from my window decoration!

Once we stuffed ourselves silly, or maybe the was just me, we drove the remaining way into Snowmass, found our condo that some of us would be staying in for the night and I promptly aimed for the hot tub! After soaking my bum knee, I finally cleaned up and hung out at the finish line/expo to wait for our last runner to finish!

Waitin' for our last runners!

Waitin’ for our last runners!

When she finally arrived, we met her at the top of the hill. As she ran the switch backs, we ran down the middle! We gave her high fives and made a tunnel! It was such a blast!

All of us running to the finish line with our last runner!

All of us running to the finish line with our last runner!



Yes, that's me!

Yes, that’s me!

We collected our medals and posed for pictures!


Some of us got TWO medals! Yep, that’s right! Those of us that also did Ragnar Trail – Snowmass earned the “Rocky Mountain Fever Medal.” There were four of us, I believe, from 3W that got them. I was told only 80 total people in the ENTIRE world earned this medal this year! And the medal itself is super awesome! It’s a double bottle opener, and it’s hunk of METAL, literally! It’s super heavy!

Three out of the four of us 3W people that earned our double medal!

Three out of the four of us 3W people who earned our double medal!


After high-fives and congratulations, half of our team left to head back to Denver. The rest of us were staying in Snowmass for the evening. Some went to the condo to take a nap. I hung around Ragnar village eating ice cream and drinking beer (Duh, what else would I do!?). I waited for the other team to finish. Soon after they came across the finish line as well!

Breckin' our Aspens off coming in for their finish!

Breckin’ our Aspens off coming in for their finish!



There are only a few (tiny) things that take the 0.5 away from my overall rating. First off, I feel like Ragnar is such a big event that they could have a few more sponsors and booths at the Ragnar village. especially at the end. There was really only a few things there: Sierra Nevada beer, ice cream, Nuun, a leg massage tent and this Peace Tea company. There was also their Ragnar store, but that’s actual merchandise, so it doesn’t really count. That’s about all they had a the finish line.

The lack of FREE beer. They said there was supposed to be free beer at the finish line. Well, I take that back, there was free BEER, but you had to pay $1.00 for the CUP. Sure it’s not expensive by any means, but A) I wasn’t carrying my money with me and B) that’s just ridiculous! Free beer but you have to buy the cup??? Silly people.

Lastly, I feel like there wasn’t that many volunteers out there or there could have been at last more course markers. I personally didn’t get lost, but I heard of a few people who did get lost. There just wasn’t a lot of course markers. All my routes were pretty self-explanatory; I would have had to exit the main path to get lost, but I can imagine other routes being more confusing in the mountains. However, I guess when you sign up to do a relay, you’re basically agreeing to read all the instructions and course maps.

A non-Ragnar fault’s thing is the construction! Ragnar has no idea if/when a city is doing construction, but man was there a lot! My second leg was filled with construction! Two thirds of the 3 miles was under construction and I really had to watch my step for when the side walks would just end abruptly which proved to be difficult at night. Even driving in the vans, we passed a lot of construction. But then again, Colorado has two seasons: Winter and Construction Season.

Van art – This was a blast for me! During the Wild West Relay I did a few years ago, we didn’t decorate our van. And obviously with the Ragnar Trail, you don’t have a van to decorate! There was so many interesting vans! People are pretty creative. Besides our van, some of my favorites were the Scooby Doo Van, there was a van that lit up at night, a Toy Story Van, and a “Cannibus” van! All were pretty awesome!

Our Van!

Our Van!


Some favorites of other teams!

Tagging the Other Vans – We didn’t do this with the Wild West Relay either! I learned this was a “thing” during this relay. Basically, you just “tag” other people’s vans….you write your name or some people had a magnet, others drew pictures… The only thing I can compare it to is like a dog marking its territory. We had a blast sneaking up on people! And I loved coming back to our van to see what people would do. I collected all the magnets and my favorite tag was by our other team! (Look in the picture for the Bart butt, it’s kinda hard to see but that’s my favorite).

All the "tags" we accumulated!

All the “tags” we accumulated!

Kills – I’m sure there’s some people out there that probably hate the idea of counting the people you pass, but I found it super motivational! There was only a few teams that I saw that DIDN’T tally their kills on their vans. We clearly did, and the thought of trying to catch someone made me keep running even though I had some aches and pains. I dreaded getting killed, and only got killed once! I thought it was pretty clever of one team to keep track of people “saved,” making fun of themselves and putting a good light on the fact that they were maybe slightly slower than the other teams. As long as one isn’t out-loud keeping track of kills as they pass, or at least plays it off in a joking way, I don’t see anything wrong with it!

Ragnar Village(s) – In the beginning of the race, Ragnar Village was pretty small with just a few booths set up. Since the same area was where the first major exchange zone was, it actually filled up later in the day as teams were passing through. It was very crowded and quite the party (minus the beer). I’m mostly concerned with the end, as described before. The booths/sponsors that they did have were relevent and great, but I feel like for such a big event, there could be more!


Other Teams – I didn’t meet a single team that wasn’t nice. The only weird people (or that I thought were weird) was a team that we had tagged that immediately wiped it off when they found it. They did have their own writing on the van, so we figured it would be ok, but clearly not. They didn’t want to be tagged. My favorite other team was the High Flying Vikings, but only because one of the members was my running “buddy” during the first leg. I kept seeing him at a lot of the exchange zones. I made jokes that the other members of his team better start running slower so that we could run together again. I believe his team did end up finishing ahead of us, but not by much!

Swag – Besides the freaking awesome double medal we few got for doing both the Colorado Trail Ragnar and this one, we also received a t-shirt, stickers and a patch. Worth the price? (Even though we didn’t pay for our registration, I still know on average that a relay is about 100 plus per person) To answer that: Eh… I get where the money goes. I mean, a relay covers A LOT of time and space, but we didn’t really get much included. But hey, I didn’t pay for it, so I’m not going to complain! I think the price is DEFINITELY worth the whole EXPERIENCE!


After it was all said and done, the remaining team members from both teams dined together at the Base Camp Restaurant. We all chatted and told stories of the race and then all went back to the condo to do the same. On the way back to Denver the next day, we traveled over Independence Pass and stopped to enjoy the view! All in all, a great weekend. I couldn’t ask for better: Running, Traveling, Friends, Beer, Colorado, Pretty Views… That’s the life!




The Colfax Marathon – Relay – Post Race Recap

downloadWhat a weekend! I’m still exhausted! I’m even exhausted just thinking about it!

What a great event. I am extremely pleased with the whole experience. To the Colfax Marathon Coordinators: You guys put on a great event!

I nervously anticipated the start of the Colfax Marathon Relay – the Government Cup (say that five times fast) for days before Sunday. I really wanted to start my team off well and I really wanted to make a comeback into the running world. I’ve been battling injury and motivation issues for quite a while now; going back and forth between loving and hating just not loving the sport. The night before, I nervously talked my boyfriend’s ears off about running, made sure to eat well and took time to form roll. I was determined to do EVERYTHING right before the race.

I work up that morning at (GASP!) 4am. Brutal. Although, I can’t complain too much, as I wake up at that time for one of my clients twice a week. Ick.

I tried to get my mind and body moving. I poured my coffee, made my breakfast (that I only ended up eating half of due to the butterflies in my stomach), and took both items to go in my car (open coffee mug to boot). I didn’t want to be late and I needed to find a parking spot. This is a HUGE event in Denver, and I knew parking would be rough. I lucked out and found a spot on a near by residential street.


I finished my coffee, walked over to the race start in the brisk morning air. I still had about 45 minutes until start time. I took the time to warm up efficiently (a jog, high knees, butt kickers, and a few other dynamic stretches). Not wanting to leave the warmth of my sweats behind, I reluctantly walked to bag drop to get ready to line up. With 10 minutes to go, my stomach nervously twisted in my stomach!


“What is with me!?” I thought, “I’m a veteran runner, here. I shouldn’t be this nervous!” But I really wanted to do well. The national anthem was sung, and we were off! I trudged on, focusing on my pace, my breathing and the music in my ears. I put one foot in front of the other and sure enough by mile 1, I was running at a comfortable 8min/mile pace! I felt great! I was confident I could stick to that pace!

Each mile maker I passed increased my confidence; not feeling like I had gone the distance listed. With Mile High Stadium in sight, I pushed it into high gear! I was feeling great! No aches or pain! My lungs were strong! It was wonderful!

The crowd split between the full marathoners and the relayers. They went left, I went right. A course marshal called out my bib number as I enter the hand off zone. I had never met my hand-off person, and I ran right by her. I had to back track a few feet once I found the bright yellow shirt. Then, she was off!


I checked my watch….. Remember what my goal was? 60 minutes, right? I made it 6.4 miles in 53:35!!!!!!!!!! Although, I stopped my watched a little after the handoff, so I thought it was 54:14…and was still ecstatic. Then to find out when I got home I was even faster!? Thrilled!


I grabbed some snacks, hopped on the RTD Bus back to the start, and waited around. And waited…and waited… I had about 2 hours to kill until the rest of my group would join me at the finish line. The downside was the waiting time. The bright side was that I got to see all the booths sans the crowd!


I walked around to each booth, got some free swag, learned a lot about local non-profits and charities, petted some adoptable pound puppies, and watched runners as they finished.

imagesOVERALL: 5/5!

I loved every minute of this event! It was put on very well. The course route was excellent (at least what I saw and what I heard from others). The people were great. The expo was great. The after party was great. Just great great great great great! I think next year, given I still work for the city, I would definitely still be down to run the relay again. I don’t see myself quitting this job, but you never know. IF for whatever reason I’m not able to do the relay, I would totally do the half. I would say the full, but honestly, I think when I do my marathons, I want to do them in other states, or with a more scenic, unique routes. The Colfax marathon is right down all the streets that I drive everyday. I don’t think I want to run that full marathon. But a half, or part of the full, I’m totally down for! To boot, the half goes through the Denver Zoo!

Race organization: 5/5

I’ve already said it a million times, this event is very well-organized from the start to the finish. From the expo to the after party.

Cost: ??

I’m not sure. I honestly don’t know how much the race costed. I fortunately got to run for free thanks to the City of Golden. For how well the event was put on and the swag we got, I’d wager to bet it’s worth the cost. With the entry fee, we got a t-shift (which is super cute might I add), the medal of course (which came with a charm to put on a necklace, the chain we got in our packet pick up), a Colfax Marathon Relay sticker, coupons to various things and restaurants around Denver, a free beer for after, BBQ lunch after in addition to the normal water, bagels, and snacks at the finish line, and since the event was sponsor by Kaiser Permanente (a health care system out here), there was a whole Kaiser section at the after party which had a contest for sweet water bottles (which I didn’t win), free exercise bands, smoothies, AND a whole bunch of fresh produce, as in fruits and veggies, for runners to go “shopping” through and take. Pretty awesome!


Post Run: 5/5

There was all those booths set up as I’ve mentions, food, beer, music, big grassy area to hang out in. It was all excellent.

To top it all off, I had more company at this event than any race I’ve done. Obviously I got to hang out with my relay team and we celebrated with victory beers, but there was another City of Golden Relay team from Public Works, two marathoners and one half marathoner, all sponsored by the city. There was also a handful of 3W Ambassadors there (one running her FIRST marathon that day), and a handful of my friends were volunteering at the local charity booths! I meandered around for a long while after the race, even after my team finished and finally left around 1pm to go home and crash on my bed.


My Race: 5/5

I set a goal to run my 6.4 miles in 60 minutes, which actually meant I needed to run under 10 minute miles. Now, I haven’t raced in a long time, and I wasn’t quite sure what kind of pace I could pull out. But I figured that goal would keep my motivated. I ended up running it in 53:35! Which, if you do the math, is about a 8:30 pace! I’m pretty proud of my time considering I’ve been battling injuries and motivation issues! But, I think with a race like this, I’m back in the game. Mentally and physically. Actually, I didn’t have any pains during the race! And post race, my calves were cramping a bit but that’s about it! The day after, I was a bit sore, but that’s normal!


So, the relay teams are in a couple of categories. There’s the open, for pretty much anybody that wants to run in a relay. There’s the government cup relay, for teams through city/state jobs. And there’s a corporate cup relay, for basically the same thing, just not a state job. For both the government and corporate cups, the top three teams in the women’s, mens and coed teams get money to donate to a charity. Unfortunately our team didn’t win any prize money for our charity, which was the Golden School District. We placed 7th out of 26 female teams, I believe, with a total time of 4 hours and 6 minutes. I guess last year the same team (minus me, of course) placed 3rd. This year, the team ran faster, but apparently there was a lot more fast-ER people who enter the government cup. Too bad!


Above all, we had fun! We were running in name of charity at a great event! I don’t think I have a single bad thing to say about this whole event, except maybe the unfortunate witness to the aftermath of someone having lost their bowels on the race course. No joke. Poor runner!


Read this heart warming story about the “average Joe” that won the marathon! LOVE IT!


3W’s Heart Throb 5k – Post Race Recap

heart throb 5kIt’s a little over a week since my first race of the year, but I’m not about to get off track again and miss post-race recaps this time around! So here it goes, the post-race recap for:

The Heart Throb 5k, by 3W Races, at Memorial park in Arvada, CO

I did this race last year in virtual form, and I was excited to get to do the live version this year, especially after becoming a 3W Ambassador.

The day before the race, I helped load up the truck that takes all the things you need for a race to the event location. Joined by the race directors and owners of 3W, James and Michelle, and two other guys, we played a live version of tetris to get everything in the truck.

Michelle is super organized, knows exactly where everything is kept and where everything goes and has check lists for each event/race to make sure everything goes smoothly.

I’ve run MANY, MANY races over the years and I’ve volunteered a few times as well, but now I have a new view of the racing community – behind the scenes! It’s quite amazing what goes on to prepare for a race that most of us never get to see. From promoting the race to packing up the truck, knowing how to set up a course, coordinating the workers and volunteers ON TOP of then actually running the race itself, there’s definitely a lot that goes into races.

After the truck was packed to the brim, I said goodbye and see you tomorrow!


Saturday morning game quick and early for me. I really didn’t want to get out of bed – it’s becoming a pattern because I’ve been so exhausted lately. But I eventually threw back the covers and got dressed, which is actually a pretty important topic for this recap. The whole week prior to this event it was FREEZING! In the negative double digits. BRRR! Plus, the heat in my house was not functioning. I was really tired of being cold and even with the forecast listing a balmy 37 degrees, I was so sick of the cold, I ended up wear TOO many layers, thinking that the temperature wouldn’t reach that 37 in morning during race time. Oh well.

All the Ambassadors. Photo Credit: 3W

All the Ambassadors. Photo Credit: 3W

I finally arrived to the scene, picked up my packet and mingled with my fellow ambassadors! It’s definitely a new feeling for me…I usually show up to races in one of two fashions. Either, 1) With family or friends, and I get to hangout with them before and after the race or 2) I show up alone, and mindlessly walk around until the race start, taking off pretty quickly after I’m done. This time, I may have showed up to the race alone, but I had plenty of people to talk to before and after the race, as there’s a total of about 30 ambassadors for 3W, and I hung out for a good long while after I was actually done racing! It’s pretty awesome! Definitely a new experience.

The starting line. Photo Credit: 3W

The starting line. Photo Credit: 3W

We all wished each other luck, took a group picture (I feel like we’re part of an exclusive club – oh wait, we are), and meandered over to the start line. Given all of us ambassadors run at completely different speeds and some had their children with them, or ever a friend that was a first time racer, we all filed into the starting line at different spots. I chose my normal spot: the front 1/3 of the queue line, but not right with the first lines of people.

Heart Throb 2014 018

Photo credit: 3W

I had no intention of running hard or trying to break any world records that morning, I just wanted to run, with people around, and with no pain to boot! So when the gun went off, I just followed my feet.

I started off slow and steady, trying not to think about all the people passing me. I just concentrated on the sound of my feet hitting the icy road. (It was really only icy in small sections – but that’s part of living in CO). I didn’t bring my music with me this day, I just wanted to hear all the people around me and remember why I like racing so much.

Photo Credit: 3W

Photo Credit: 3W

I didn’t feel like I picked up the pace, I was just going with the flow of my feet, but before I knew it, I was the one passing others left and right! I finally made it to the turn around, waved at the race director, and then took off back down the road. Woah! There really wasn’t that many people in front of me! As I ran back to the finish line, I passed my fellow ambassadors going the other way, and we cheered each other on as we high-fived over the two-way dividing line.

I rounded the last few corners and saw the finish line and decided to just go for it! I picked up the pace, hearing foot steps behind me, and even though my lungs and throat were burning from the cold air, I was almost done and I wanted to finish strong!

Photo Credit: 3W

Photo Credit: 3W

I crossed the finish line and looked at the race clock, 26 min and some odd seconds…not even close to my PR by any means, but not too bad for just getting over my “injury” and not racing for a while.

I let my fellow ambassadors (it’s weird when you know all the volunteers at a race) clip my timing chip off my shoe and grabbed some water and a banana. I stretched as other ambassadors came up and said “good job” or “man, you really took off” or “I was soooo tempted to catch up to you.” And I was thinking was, “I didn’t even run that fast.”

Heart Throb 005After discussing which after party to go to (there was two options – Fuzzy’s Tacos for 99 cent margaritas or Arvada Beer Company for buy one get one free), it was time for the awards and guess who placed 2nd in her age group?

YEP, this girl! I was sooo excited! I guess wearing too many layers was good luck….but makes me wonder how fast I would have run with proper attire….

And no, there wasn’t just two in my age group! HA! There was actually about 28!

Heart Throb 2014 019

I proudly picked up my medal and took my picture on the awards platform.

And you better believe I wore my medal all day!

Heart Throb 004

(In case you’re wondering, I picked the “buy one get one free beer” after party over the margarita after party. Duh.)

Tough Mudder 2013

tough mudder logoJust three short weeks after I finished my marathon, I chose to participate in the Tough Mudder. I probably should not have given the fact that I was not fully recovered.

But, I do a lot of things that I probably shouldn’t.

I wouldn’t say I was “injured” but I was definitely starting to notice that heel pain I’ve been talking about. At the time, I also had some hip tightness and pain when I would run longer than about 4 miles.

Oh well, I still did it! Tough Mudder took place on June 16th in Beaver Creek, Colorado. This was my second time running this race and, even though I am in a lot better shape this time in my life than the first time I attempted the Mudder, I did not do nearly as well.

The negative: I’m really not happy with this race, my performance in particular, at all.

The positive: This was the first race I did with the boy…. so that’s exciting!

I first visited the Tough Mudder in 2011.  It was the first of these type of races, i.e. obstacle courses, that I had ever tried to do. That first year I proved to myself that I can do anything I put my mind to. I faced heights, cold water, strength tests, endurance tests, and even electricity. Choosing to do the Tough Mudder as my first obstacle course was a brave decision, but it made all the other runs look like cake! Since then, I’ve done the Rugged Maniac as well. I’m really addicted to these obstacle course type of events!

This year, as I returned, I knew some of the obstacles would be the same, but they change them every year, so I was trying to prepare myself for anything. Only a handful were the same from two years ago.

The race is up in the mountains and our wave was at 10am so we had to leave Denver pretty early. We woke up, grabbed breakfast at Einsteins and started the two hour drive up I-70.

After finding where we needed to go, we dropped off our bag and waited in the “staging area” as I like to call it. Each wave will head up to the start line about 15 minute before the time for a motivation speech, safety rules and a pump up session.


Before you head up there, there’s an area you wait in, the staging area. While waiting, I re-tied my shoes like five times, stretched a little and made sure to use the restroom one more time. When I returned, my boyfriend had made a new friend. A young kid, I honestly don’t remember his name, who was taking on the Tough Mudder solo. He was joining the Air Force real soon and instantly latched on to my boyfriend because he’s in the Army. We let him come along and run with us, although, I shortly regretted that decicision due to his “unsportsman like encouragement” and his constant loud bleching.

Finally it was our time to go. To get to the actual start line, we had to get over a 6 foot wall. A gentleman stood nearby making sure everyone made it over and was helping each other out – the way the race is supposed to be run. After hearing our motivational speech, singing the national anthem and reviewing the safety rules, we were off!


It’s hard to see, but flags formed the letters T and M on the hill

Before I get into the race recap, please keep in mind, the objective of Tough Mudder is to help each other out. The proceeds go to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project and it even says in the rules to never leave a fellow Mudder behind. It is OK to skip an event if you don’t feel like you can complete it and/or are not comfortable (i.e. scared or, in my case this day: injured). You don’t get “disqualified” or kicked out. And in my opinion, what does it matter?! Even just running the length of the course is a challenge in itself at 10 plus mile, especially in that elevation. It’s all about having fun and helping eachother out. Here’s the tough mudder’s answer to skipping an event from their website:

“Can I skip an obstacle?

Oh, just a DEATH WAIVER!!

Oh, just a DEATH WAIVER!!

Tough Mudder® is not supposed to be about getting a faster time than your friends, so it’s fine by us if you want to skip an obstacle. The way we see it, you are there to have fun and get a real sense of achievement at the end. If you think a particular obstacle isn’t going to do this for you, just go around it – no shame there. However, if you are skipping an obstacle just to improve your time, then we think you are only cheating yourself. You paid to do the course – why not actually do it? Obviously, though, for some who participate there is a real element of competition involved in the event, so we do say that to qualify for a winners’s prize or for the World’s Toughest Mudder® competition you must have completed all the obstacles.”

With the start of the race, we ran down hill, curved around and were instantly subjected to the hills. Yay. (If you can’t tell, I’m being sarcastic). And then the obstacles started….

(Most obstacles are linked to a you tube video, I tried to find them all from the CO event, just to show you want they’re like).

Obstacle 1 – Kiss of Mud: With un uphill pull, we crawled under barbed wire through muddy rocks and dirt on our forearms and legs, beginning the long day of being wet, cold and dirty.

Obstacle 2 – Electric Eel: Oh boy was I dreading this obstacle!! This is where you had to crawl through water WITH electricty hanging down. We rounded the corner, shivering, as the clouds drew in the rain. “Obstacle closed due to lightning!” shouted a race official! You should have seen how much energy I gathered as I skipped around and laughed! I was soooooo excited that this event was closed!!!

Obstacle 3 – Blades of Glory: slanted walls to climb over as you slid down the other side. Peice of cake.

Obstacle 4 – Wound Warrior carry: The object is to pair up with someone and either buddy carry them or BE buddy carried. Would you believe that I buddy carried my boyfriend the whole way?! No, you don’t believe that?? Good, cause I didn’t. I was the one buddy carried. He swooped me over his shoulders and ran with me down the 30 yards or so of the obstacle. I loved people’s reactions when I yelled, “that was the easiest obstacle ever!”

Obstacle 5 – Funky Monkey: When I first completed Tough Mudder, this was the event I was most dreading because I didn’t think I had the upper body strength to get me across the monkey bars. I did it, though, and made it all the way across! This year, I noticed a few different things: 1. It was a lot colder, and I couldn’t feel my fingers to grip the bars and 2. A majority of the people were falling off and into the water…. Ah, greased bars. I still thought I would give it a try. I made it about 3 rungs before I caught a greased bar and I plummeted into the icy water. And Icy is not an understatement. When I came to the surface for air, I could barely breathe. The cold water left my chest feeling tight and me struggling for strength. I could barely pull myself out of the water. Some how I managed to get out; I couldn’t push myself using just my arms, so I wiggled my torso onto the ledge and rolled out. Needless to say, I was freezing at that point. My fingers began to turn purple along with my lips and it hurt to take in breaths. The weather didn’t help at all with the clouds looming over head and rain still coming down. Coldest I have ever been in my life.

Trying to move my muscles, the boy helped to warm my hands by cupping them in his. He encouraged me to keep moving, as much as I protested. I slowly made my way to the next obstacle.

Obstacle 6 – Sweaty Yeti: Basically, all this obstacle entailed was a steep down hill followed by a REALLY steep uphill, followed by a down hill hike (or slide) over snow. Did you know that when snow is left that long in the summer, it becomes really pellet-y (that’s the best descriptive word I could come up with) and rough to the touch. Rough + cold = really painful when you fall/slide down; especially when you’re still not recovered from your previous plunge into icy cold water.

Obstacle 7 – Arctic Enema: For those hard core runners, you’d think this was a just a nice ice bath after a long run…. Oh yeah, they add salt to it to keep it from freezing solid. Being chillded to the bone, quite literally, just minutes before, I chose to skip this event. I did it back in 2011, and didn’t need to do it again. I proved myself once already with this type of obstacle. The boy and our “friend” did it though! I can still see their shocked faces as they emerged from the icy water tub.

Obstacle 8 – Underwater tunnels: Immediately following arctic enema, they subjected people to submerge in slightly warmer icy snow melt water of the Colorado mountains. When I first did Tough Mudder, this was the only event I skipped. It’s a series of barrels floating in the water that you have to go under. That first year, the barrels were in water that was too deep to touch the ground in. I made it under the first barrel and when I came up for air, I panicked when I couldn’t touch the bottom and couldn’t breathe due to the cold. Because of that, I skipped this event this year. I was not ready to get wet and cold again yet. But I did notice that the water was shallow enough this year to touch in between each barrel, I think that would have been easier.

Obstacle 9 – Luberjack: (this video is not from CO). A series of logs to climb over. More difficult that it looked at first. The boy and our new “friend” gave me a lift up and I swung my legs over and dropped to the other side.

Obstacle 10 – Hold your wood: Grab a log, carry it around for about a quarter mile. Meh. No big deal!

Obstacle 11 – Ladder to hell: (Go to 8:25 in video) A ladder into the sky made of 2×4’s. I carefully climbed up and back down. While at the top, I encountered a girl who had made it that far, but was scared to proceed down. I told her to follow me, take it easy and step exactly where I stepped. This seemed to work (as her boyfriend was already on the ground) and she made it off of the heights.

Before moving on to the next event, we had the obstacle of the course itself: A steep up hill hike that really challenged my “injured” hip. It was hurting, I mean, really hurting with even step. A girl with a bull horn shouted words of encouragement as we neared the top of the hill, telling us that this was the last hill in the course. Boy was she wrong…

Obstacle 12 – Boa Constrictor: Sick of being wet, I really didn’t want to plunge head first into water again, but after the boy went first and assured me the water was “warm,” I followed him through the round tunnels, crawled through the mud and out the other uphill tunnel.

After the 12th obstacle, there as a good mile or so of pure, fun, single track, trail running! Here was my time to shine. Finally! Taking  the lead, I took off bounding along the trail! I was cruising; passing other runners left and right with my boy and our friends (we gained another solo Mudder) behind me. I thoroughly enjoyed this section of the course. Although, I’m not so sure my body did. It was after this section that my hip tighten up and it started becoming even MORE painful every time I stepped with my right leg….

Obstacle 13 – Berlin Walls:  (this video is from the Saturday CO Mudder…you can tell because the sun is actually shining in the video). I swear these were taller this year than last time!!!! I’m not THAT scared of heights, but I am scared of sitting at the top, straddling of a shaky 10 ft+ wall. The boy boosted me up, and as I got one leg over the wall, I squeezed for dear life with my thighs, then realized I was frozen; I couldn’t get down. I was scared and weak and the idea of bringing my other leg over and lowering myself down seem so terrifying. The boy, seeing my fear, jumped over himself (oh so strong!), lowered himself down and then allowed me to place the foot that was over on the support of his hands while I swung the other leg over and he caught me as I dropped the rest of the way down. And repeat, two more times. 

Obstacle 14 – Just the Tip: No, this is not a dirty joke, this is event was actually kinda hard. And by kinda, I mean really. And by hard I mean, I didn’t finish it. (I could have added another dirty joke there, going with the play on words, but I’ll refrain). It was a two by four you had to just grip with just your finger-tips, hence the name, but I haven’t been climbing enough to build up that strength!!! (the video is not CO and there’s an annoying girl’s voice in the background. Sorry.)

Being 9 miles into this race and 1.5 miles left to go, I was nearing my end. My hip was god awfully painful, causing my eyes to tear up; and believe me when I say, I RARELY cry. And then we reached ANOTHER hill!!! Everyone around us openly exclaimed how upset they were that we were promised the last hill was the LAST hill. I shared their sentiment. The boy grabbed my hand, and powered me up the hill. We reached the next set of obstacles…

Obstacle 15 – Kiss of Mud #2: Should be called Kiss of Rocks. This event was painful. There was no mud, just wet, gritty rocks under barbed wire.



Obstacle 16 – Walk the Plank: Sick of being cold and wet, I almost skipped this one as well, but was promised that the water “wasn’t that bad.” Liars. Let alone did it take courage to jump off the height, but once you get over that, you plummet into icy deep water and are expected to swim to the other side. Water so cold it takes your breath away and your ability to move your limbs. The “lifeguard” aided me by letting me hold on to the life preserver while my boy waited to help me out of the water.

Once you climb out of the water, the way down is over more scratchy cold snow.

Obstacle 17 – Hangin’ Tough: More monkey bars, but the swinging kind. I tried it. I failed. But the water actually was the warmest on the course. Albeit muddy and gross, but warm. I made it about two ring swings before I fell in.

Obstacle 18 – Glacier: Bascially a pile of more snow. By this point I had perfected a way down these obstacles: place one foot in a narrow path created by others, sit “down” on this foot; not actually sitting but using it as support. The other foot goes out in front to act as a brake of sorts, although not confident enough in my braking ability, I still scratched up my hands by instinctively placing them on the snow bank beside me to stop myself.

Obstacles 19 – Everest: The 1/4 pipe you’re expected to run up and catch at the top. I had completed this event during my last Tough Mudder but being that I couldn’t walk, or run, without a limp, I chose to skip it. I met the boy and our “friends” on the other side.

Next up, everyones favorite. The last obstacle, Number 20 – Electroshock Therapy: OH BOY! Definitely watch that video, it’s really cool. Let’s just cut to the chase. I skipped it. Call me weak, lame, or whatever your wanted. I’ve done this obstacle before at my first Tough Mudder. I got shocked – a lot. This year, I was cold, wet, in pain and grumpy.  I was NOT in the mood to get shocked. Nor could I even run at that moment and I did not feel like limping slowly through wires filled with voltage. Nope, not gonna happen.

I chose to skip it. But, I will tell you this story: The boyfriend, did go through it. Now, a little fact about the boy, he has a metal place in this shoulder from a football injury…….. in the warning for this race, they HIGHLY recommend you not do the electricity events if you have a pacemaker, heart condition OR metal plates in your body!!!!

Another fact about the boy: He’s tough and strong and will not quit/avoid/give up anything (a little something the Army instilled in him). Yes, he still went through. What he did tell me afterward is that as he was running through, out of of the corner of his eye he saw it: A rogue wire come wizzing up to him, shocking him and STICKING to his shoulder, the one with the metal plate! It was like it was magnatized or something!

He also told me that he felt “funny” after that event. Go figure. BOYS!

Having gone around the event, the boy and our new friends didn’t realize that I was still “in the race” and ran up to finish. They all raced eachother trying to “beat” one another under the finishers banner. I didn’t see who won, probably my boy (Yep, I’m biased), as I was hobbling my own way over the finish line. I grabbed my Finishers Shirt, my beer and searched for the boy and a place to sit. I took off my muddy shoes and donated them to a charity that cleans and sorts them and sends them to less fortunate children and/or countries to be used! I actually really love this idea…however, I looked everywhere for more information on what actual charity it was. The best I could find was the each state’s Tough Mudder has a different used shoe charity. If anyone one knows more information on this PLEASE TELL ME!! I’m super curious/want to know!

In the end, I was in pain and super unhappy about my racing performance. I know it’s not a serious event or the end of the world, but I felt like I was in much better shape than the first time I did Tough Mudder, yet I wasn’t able to a lot of the events. I feel a little like I chickened out, I felt defeated and I felt like I was not as tough as I thought. I was in a lot of pain and with the weather being overcast and rainy, the cold was not good for my bod.


Oh, thanks SUN for coming out AFTER were done.

The boy and I rested up, changed into dry clothes, and drank our beers while listening to the live band. The after party was great, full of fun things to do. There was music, like I said and a “Man of Steele” competition since the new Superman Movie had just come out. This was sponsored by Under Armor and featured crazy strong man obstacles like tire flipping, box jumps, etc.  The boy tried his strength at some of the events they had and then we finally made our way home.

Being new to Colorado, I wanted to take the boy to Beaju’s Pizza (delicious Colorado style pizza made with super thick crust designed for you to eat with honey after your finish off the rest of the pizza pie). The original location is in Idaho Springs which is on the way from the mountains to Denver. I highly recommended it for anyone visiting Colorado. After sitting in traffic for over two hours, we finally arrived at Beau Jo’s to find it CLOSED!!!!!!! (It was just closed being of a power outage; it’s still open in general). Devastated and still hungry, we high tailed it back to Denver and right into the local chain location so he could try the pizza pie (yes, he did love it).

I already have plans to do another Tough Mudder. I would love to try one in a different location! Actually, after looking at the website, I noticed they are bringing a second location to Colorado Springs in 2014! However, I will try and train a little differently.

A 10 mile obstacle course, beer, live music followed with pizza. Yep, it was a good great summer day.


Check out that photo bomber behind us!!!!

Additional Info:

Tough Mudder Website – check it out! Sign up! Do it!

My Recap on the 2011 Tough Mudder