Monday, September 30, 2013

Tough Mudder 2013

I did the Tough Mudder in Tahoe this past weekend. And it was awesome. I actually did a lot of preparation for it, and i wanted to keep a note of all the things that worked and all the things that would be good for the next time.

First, a quick summary of the weekend. We drove from San Francisco on Friday, and the drive was about 3.5 hours. We actually first had dinner at Dennis's house and ate a delicious spaghetti dinner to carb load, and to avoid the traffic. We left the house at 7:50, hit minor traffic through Oakland but nothing at a standstill, and grabbed more food at Chik-fil-a along the way. We got in between 11 and 11:30.

Our start time was 8 AM, and in the morning it was about 25 degrees F. We decided to do a late start time, and a quick look indicates that nobody cares if people are on their start time or not. We ended up getting to the registration around 10, and probably started at 11 after all the bag checks, bathroom breaks, and just getting the team together. By then, it was warm enough to not have a large layer over the dryfit stuff.

We finished around 4 pm, which is a surprisingly long amount of time. Probably due to having a larger group, we had longer waits for the team, and also there were significant waits at each obstacle. The course was supposedly 12 miles long, with about 12 obstacles. There were water, banana and clif bloks stations every once in a while. At the end, there is a water/clif bar/beer station, space blankets, and a rinse station.

So my preparation list todo for the weekend:

Hydrate. Before the race, before the race day. During practice runs, I got headaches, probably from being tired and dehydrated. I hydrated by drinking a good amount of water the night before, and also brought a water pack, so I was drinking a bit between the stations. My teammates who were very hydrated actually had to run into the woods for breaks a lot, and I didn't get to that point. I'm sure the cramps would have been way worse if I hadn't.

Poop. My big fear was having to hold it in for 5 miles, so I tried my hardest to get rid of everything inside me the morning of. Unfortunately that wasn't super easy, but it was done. The night after the race, we ate about 2 lbs of steak each, and a ton of potatoes and ice cream. And beer and whiskey. And I had no trouble for the next two days.

Bananas. I brought two bananas with me to the trip but left one in the cabin. I could have carried them in my pack without feeling it. I ended up eating three bananas on the run from the food stations. I could have had a lot more. There are plenty of signs at the hydration stations that say "hydrate. when you feel thirsty, you're already dehydrated." I think it's the same with bananas and potassium and cramping.

Gatorade in the water pack. Actually my gatorade spilled out after the first refill of water. And the trip is so long that unless you have small individual gatorade powder packs, it's not really going to do you any good.

Things that my teammates brought that ended up really useful:

Sunscreen. My lips were chapped and a bit burnt at the end. Fortunately my face wasn't.

Ibuprofen. I took two before the race, and I'm pretty sure that kept a lot of soreness and knee pain away. I don't think taking more would hurt.

Woolen stuff. Along with dry fit tops, I think real woolen socks would have been useful. I had some thick wintery socks that took in water and held on to it. I had to wring them out several times. And it wasn't too cold later on, but I think having some sort of woolen shirt would have been good.

My gear that really worked:

Long leggings. My teammates got leg muscle cramps from the cold. Especially since swim trucks stayed wet and cold over the thighs. Having leggings helped the legs stay a bit warmer, but would also dry. It also hurt less when crawling over mud and rocks.

Patella bands for the knees. They kept my knees together. Also, acted as knee guards while crawling over mud and rocks.

Two dryfit tops. I could switch between the wet one and slightly less wet one. I'd wear the wet one on my waist to let it dry while i ran. Also, the black one absorbed sun a lot better.

Running bag. I carried gels, a water pack, dryish clothes in them. I put the tag on the bag so I could easily switch shirts. The bag also kept the contents somewhat dry, because my back would be right above the water line most of the time. But nothing inside should be not waterproof.