Tough Mudder Melbourne 2012

Who’s a Tough Mudder? That’d be me. And my beautiful partner in crime, Fiona:

Mud? What mud?

18 kilometres, 28 obstacles, 15,000 participants, mud, electricity, ice and a lot of half-naked, slippery people.

I was terrified to begin with. We pulled into the carpark at about 7am, and there were already thousands of people milling around, dance music playing and smoke in the distance. My blood pressure was through the roof, and large mobs of people coupled with the prospect of imminent death did nothing to help the situation. The course was set up at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, which is a very scenic place to be when you’re not shitting your pants. I was terrified right up until the time they herded us into the starting ring. With so many participants, they had to send us off in waves every fifteen minutes – several hundred people per wave. They played a bit of Back In Black to pump us up, and that calmed me down a little. Nothing like some AC/DC to soothe the nerves. They made us get down on one knee to say the Tough Mudder pledge, then counted us down and out the gate. No more nerves!

Our fellow Mudders

We ran five or six kilometres, made it over a series of walls (with help from some brawny looking lads), crawled through gravel and cargo netting, and at that point decided we were doing GREAT. Prematurely. We turned a corner and between two refrigerator trucks found ourselves confronted by a pair of skip bins full of ice and anti-freeze. They call it the Chernobyl Jacuzzi. You leap in waist deep, duck headfirst under a wooden barrier, emerge out the other side and climb out. The whole experience took less than a minute, but the effects of the cold lasted a good fifteen minutes. I had the weirdest pins and needles sensation from the waist down, and Fi couldn’t feel her legs at all. Luckily we had a bit of a run before the next obstacle – Walk the Plank:


Climb up and leap off a four metre platform, then swim to the other side. The climb: easy. The leap: scary, but easier with Fi holding my hand. The swim: near death experience. It was only fifty yards or so, but it was freezing, we were fully clothed and fatigued, and it was fresh water not happy-floaty seawater. Another ten yards and I’d have died right there.

After that there were more walls, a lot of mud, fire, some hills and a lot of running. Fiona made it all the way across the Twinkle Toes beam, but I slipped after a couple of feet and smacked into the drink. I thought I was going great guns on the monkey bars, but again lost my hold and face planted into the pond. I ended up with a lot of questionable fluid in my lungs and sinus cavities.

All class

Ball shrinker

I'll just lean down and pretend I'm helping you up...


Surprisingly, I found it easier than expected. I was fully prepared for broken bones and panic attacks and tears, but I guess once the adrenalin kicked in nothing was as scary as I’d imagined. Not even claustrophobic death holes:

Alice in Wonderland  (how come I can’t embed videos?)

Also, challenges like scaling four metre walls became a piece of cake with burly lads hoisting you up one side and more burly men lowering you down the other. I was manhandled so much I’m pretty sure I’ve contracted an STD. Most of my fellow Mudders were helpful and encouraging, but there were some disappointing handfuls that obviously had their finishing times in mind and were happy to push past whoever was in their way. At one point we were pondering how to get over a wall, when a couple of boys asked if we could move over so they could get a run up. Fiona said of course we’ll move, but maybe you could give us a hand up first? They looked a bit sheepish and dutifully complied.

Icky poo

The worst aspect was the waiting times at some obstacles. With so many participants, there were about three bottle necks with people milling around getting cranky and cold. Fiona and I waited for about thirty minutes in waist-deep mud for our turn on the balancing beams, and by the time we got to Everest (a four metre greased half-pipe to run up) the waiting time was ninety minutes. We made an executive decision and skipped it – I trained for a lot of obstacles, but queuing was not one of them.

Can you people hurry up please?

Somewhat disappointingly, no injuries to speak of. Fiona bruises quite easily and on Sunday looked like she’d just stepped out of the UFC. I could plummet over Niagara Falls in barrel without raising a mark, which is irritating because I have a big egg on my shin and myriad other owies that would look mighty impressive if my body would only give me the satisfaction. Having said that, my entire upper body was one big muscle tear on Monday, and driving my manual car to work was more excruciating than Tough Mudder itself.

I'm just standing here because I'm waiting for the showers. Honest.

Finally, I need to give a HUGE shout out to my homegirl Amelie, whose badass effort in Vermont last year inspired me to do the same thing. I never would have done this if I hadn’t read about it on her blog.

This is the only time you will see me drinking VB.


23 thoughts on “Tough Mudder Melbourne 2012

  1. OMG, girl, YOU ROCK! Well done! I am so so impressed you went for it like that. I love the orange tutus. Wow, the ball shrinker water looks much deeper than ours was. And the death holes (gasp) it looks scary. We might have something called kinky tunnels (speaking of stds) but it’s above-ground.

    You deserve a month of chocolate fondue and hot tubs (the kind NOT filled with ice) go treat yourself, homegirl, you and Fiona both. And thanks for the shoutout. High five.

    • Thanks!! *high five* They’ve emailed my little badge, I’ll have to put it up here like yours. We had the above ground tunnels too, the ones that empty into a pool of mud – all I can say is thank god for knee pads.

      I’m happy we wore the tutus now that there are 40,000+ photos on Brightroom to trawl through…makes it easier to find us. I was looking forward to treating myself, but managed to get the flu instead and have been laid up in bed for three days. I guess running around in wet clothes all day isn’t great for the immune system.

      • Feel better soon, but don’t rush. The experts say it takes 6 months to recover from a race like that. I did not even exercise one bit for a month after TM.

        Let me know if you need help embedding the badge, I had to contact Support because the sizing was all screwy but now I know the trick to it. Oh, and for the video, try turning OFF compatibility mode if you have IE. WP is a real pain like that.

        • I think my body’s just gone “you wanna do stupid shit like that? Right, now you can LIE DOWN FOR THREE DAYS AND SNIFFLE, BITCH”

          I’m really looking forward to excercising just for the sake of it, without having to step it up week by week. No need to worry about distance or upper body strength….hehe, sorry 😉

          Thanks for the tip about the vid, and I’ll try that badge thing now – if I screw it up I’m calling you.

  2. Impressive. I would have turned around and gone home in fear just from the crowd!

    I think you ought to have that 4th photo down framed and give it to your dad on Father’s Day. He’ll be so proud.

    (I think you can only imbed videos if you pay for an upgrade. If you upload a video to youtube (or link from youtube) it’ll auto-imbed … but you know that because you’ve done it).

    • Yeah, it used to auto-imbed but now it’s being a piece of crap. There’s probably some plug-in or something I haven’t updated, who knows.

      And yeah, the crowd nearly made me turn tail too. Although I was grateful for them when it came to scaling the big scary walls.

      I think GOF would like that pic hanging on his wall, to remind him of the elegant little princess he raised.

  3. I’m just proud that you trained so hard and finished the course…..oh, and you should wear kneepads more often…they look nice.

  4. This is frickin’ fantastic!!
    I would have SO loved to do this…about 30 years ago! Oh My Gawd.

    You should be SO proud of yourself! You are awesome!!!

    You two looked cute and tough as hell, too! 😀

    • Oh Lauri, a bit of training and you could totally do it! You don’t need to be an elite athelete, and you can even skip the obstacles you’re not comfortable with. I think the numerous walls were the physically hardest bits, but everyone really helps. Fiona’s almost 6 foot tall, and they hauled her over no worries.

      We felt pretty damn cute and tough….but not for long! 🙂

  5. Fabulous work Inga. I have been checking out FaceBook postings from my kids. By the time Kafrun got her roster the entries had closed so she became the official photographer. When I asked if she was disappointed she said “Yes. Until I heard about mud getting in unmentionable places.”

    I’m wondering if she will try the Sydney one.

    • Thanks Peter! Yeah, I was still finding mud in the shower two days later – but it’s an awesome event for the feelgood factor. I wouldn’t say it was fun while I was doing it, but definitely makes you feel great when you look back on it. There’s an Adelaide one she could do too, which may have slightly less crowds?

  6. LOL with the “AHGOD”! ” thought I was going great guns on the monkey bars, but again lost my hold and face planted into the pond. I ended up with a lot of questionable fluid in my lungs and sinus cavities.” LOL! LOL! I shall smile the rest of the day. I love love love the photos too.

  7. “I’m really looking forward to excercising just for the sake of it, without having to step it up week by week. ….hehe, sorry”

    Sure, rub it in why dontcha

    (I meant to tell you – when I read that comment I was in my jogging clothes trying to motivate, shivering, sitting in a thin, measly patch of sunlight on the living room floor). 😀

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