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Course Practice

At some point I am going to need to start practicing for the obstacles on the course, and the extreme elevation change of the course itself.  A friend, who lived in Denver for a year, told me it was difficult running at high elevations at first, but it got better with practice. I should try running up and down some local hills, and maybe take a trip do some high elevation workouts at the family condo, located at Squaw Valley Ski Resort.
  • The  course obstactles and descriptions from the site
    •  How I will prepare for each below
  1. Braveheart Charge: Charge into battle with 5000 fellow Tough Mudders.  Battle cries essential
    • This is just a short run downhill, so I won't do any practice for this one.  If I practice the battle cry, the neighbors may call the cops.  I'm sure I'll have a good one the day of the race
    1. Kiss of Mud: Eat dirt as you crawl on your belly under wire set only 8 inches from the ground
      • The mud will make traction difficult.  I figure I will have to really use my obliques, abdominals, and lower back muscles to make up for the loss of traction at my feet.  I may set up some ropes with stakes and practice crawling under them, but without pushing off with my feet to simulate the mud
    2. Death March: Feel the burn early on as you charge straight up this red graded ski run right to the top of the mountain
      • The best thing for this is running up a steep hill.  I can do this locally on city streets, because the video shows the runners on a gravel access road that goes up the mountain
    3. Boa Constrictor: Prove you can cope with cold dark confined spaces and a few nasty scratches with our specially designed Tough Mudder tire tunnels
      • The site and video show this a standard plastic sewer pipe.  While I could actually practice in a sewer, I think I will just practice inching along without the pipe.  I'll have my arms in a collapsed push-up, but also pulled inward.  My legs will stay straight, and I'll just push forward with my feet
    4. Dragon Wheels: Just when you thought it was all running and crawling, try your hand at climbing.  Claw up and over these three giant spools lined end to end.  Stop complaining
      • Three giant cable spools don't sound too difficult, but I'm sure they will be after all that uphill running.  If I can't do it myself, I will get a boost from my teammate
    5. 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 Bear Valley's half pipe
      • I don't expect this one to be very pleasant.  I also can't think of how to prepare for it.  I figure the fire-hoses will be enough pressure to knock me down or cause me to slip on the snow/ice.  I could try changing directions rapidly, while running across wet grass.  This would help me to get used to falling without hurting myself, and getting back up quickly 
    6. Cliffhanger: Grab onto anything you can as you scramble back to the top of the mountain up this nasty slippery and very steep black run
      • Run up the side of a dirt hill for this one.  I just wish I knew how long the run will be.  By looking at the course map, I figure it's about 200 yards
    7. Glacier: Get ready to touch the void as you scramble up this 100 ft wall of permanent ice to reach the Bear Valley summit.  Spend too long here and your balls will be part of the permafrost
      • The picture on the site shows a guy scaling an ice face on a climbing rope.  I seriously doubt that's what we will be doing, as it would require each person to don a climbing harness and helmet, and pass a climbing proficiency evaluation.  There is no mention of climbing skills or proficiency on the site, so I think we will actually be scrambling up a steep section of the course that is iced over. There will probably be ropes to help make it up the ice, so I will have to do a lot of pull-ups for my arms and rowing for my back
    8. Swamp Stomp: Get stuck in with our knee-high energy-sapping trademark Tough Mudder thick mud
      • I have actually had to do this several times when I went to canoe camp in the boundary waters of Minnesota & Canada as a young teen.  Sticky mud is no joke, as pulling one stuck leg out drives the other into the mud.  Doing some leg presses for my quads and curls for my hamstrings will make this obstacle easier
    9. Kentucky Derby: These 8ft jumps are too much for even the biggest of thoroughbreds, so you'll need teamwork and camaraderie to get yourself and your fellow Mudders over these giant beams
      • I figure I should find a tall wall, like at a handball court, and practice jumping up to get a grip and pull myself up.  If I can't do it solo, I will need a boost from my teammate, but I will need to have the strength to pull myself over the top
    10. School of Tough Knocks: Be the Kelly Slater of bus surfing as you climb cargo nets to the top of this yellow beauty just to make the 12 foot jump back down again
      • I suppose I could throw a cargo net over a parked school bus, but I think I would probably get arrested.  I plan to make rope net and hang it from a tree to practice climbing the the flexible cargo nets.  Finally, all those knots I learned in the Boy Scouts will actually have a use.
    11. Berlin Walls: 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
      • Same preparation as for number 10
    12. Greased Lightening: Have some fun sliding down the hill on your ass, real Tough Mudders go head first back into the pond
      • I have been to Raging Waters and done the Slip 'N Slide a few times in my youth, so I know what to do here.  I plan to do it head first and with my back arched, like I'm doing a swan dive
    13. Ball Shrinker: Try not to fall off this rickety swinging rope bridge; the water below will have had the surface ice removed only an hour earlier
      • I've heard this is pretty tough, especially because of the slack in the line.  I don't think I'll try setting up ropes at the local pool, but I could practice with two ropes tied to tree trunks.  I'll stay a couple feet off the ground, so it won't hurt when I wobble off the line and hit the ground
    14. Hold Your Wood: Make like a lumberjack and drag a log up a ski slope and they try to keep your footing on the way back down
      • I don't know how heavy the log will be, and I don't plan on chopping down a pine tree to practice this one.  I do have a dumbbell that I'll carry 100-yards up a hillside to simulate the obstacle
    15. 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
      • I'll probably use the ropes again, to simulate the net, and practice my crawling at a low height
    16. Fenced Off: Show your mental toughness as you cross back and forth four times over this 8 foot fence
      • Same as in 10 & 12, I will have to be able to throw my weight over the top of the of the barrier
    17. Mystery Obstacle: Obstacle design race day surprise.  Expect something truly bad ass.
      • I can't really prepare for this one, so I will just keep endurance in mind.  I will do some calisthenics for 10 minutes to supplement the obstacle, until I find out what it is
    18. Fire Walker: Plain and simple, run through our blazing kerosene soaked straw, expect flames at least 4 foot high
      • Aside from running through a backyard full of a few dozen propane barbecues and heat-lamps that are rigged spew 4-foot flames everywhere, I figure I just better be prepared for more running.  I'm sure the heat will be intense, but I will just focus on maintaining my stride to the finish line