It was at this point in the course where I was really starting to feel the effects of nine miles and eighteen obstacles. My knees were starting to throb, my left shin was killing me and for some unknown reason my hip was giving me problems (I guess I'm old). But still I pushed on.
There was one last water station before the last set of obstacles. Wanting to be done already I took a quick swig of water and kept going. Next up was Hangin' Tough. Here you swing from a series of suspended rings over water. It was at this point in the game I realized I had very little to no grip strength left (if there was much to begin with). I couldn't even hold on to the first ring and went right into the water. Frustrated, but not surprised I climbed out and proceeded on.
And of course, immediately after Hangin' Tough was another grip obstacle: Funky Monkey. You climb a series of increasingly high monkey bars that reach a pinnacle and then back down the other side. I fared slightly better than Hangin' Tough as I made it to the third monkey bar before I fell into the water again. Not really surprised at my performance I climbed out of the water (again) and kept going.
Here there was another one of those "little" obstacles that I can distinctly remember, approximately 50 yards of chest-deep mud that you had to trudge through. I would step and there would be no hard bottom to the mud, so it was almost like swimming through it. It was more tiring than anything. Directly after this I passed the second to last mile marker, number 10. I could almost taste the finish line, but I wasn't quite done yet.
Still in my way was Boa Constrictor. On this one you slide through a small enclosed pipe into mud (of course) and then have to climb back up through an identical enclosed pipe. Getting in was easy, out was a little more difficult. I laid on my back and used my legs to push my way back out which worked surprisingly well. This obstacle was also unique because a pedestrian bridge crossed over the top where a lot of people could watch. Undaunted by this obstacle and seriously wanting to finish by this point I kept running.
The penultimate obstacle is appropriately called Everest. This is a quarter pipe coated in mud and grease that requires teamwork to get up. People on the top hold out their hands and you run as fast as you can (don't slow down!) and you hope someone grabs you. I saw one guy do it by himself, but everyone else needed help. If you miss you slide right back down and have to try again. One guy missed and smacked his head against the side of the pipe. It took him a minute to get back up, but he kept going. I seriously doubt anyone who made it this far was going to quit. I was anxious about this because of the trouble I had with the Berlin Walls, but I made it up on the very first try! I stayed to help a few people and then went to face the final obstacle.
Still feeling the sting of Electric Eel, I was very apprehensive about Electroshock Therapy. However because you can run/jump through it, I was hopeful that I could make it through unscathed. This obstacle can make or break you, check out some of the videos on Youtube. If that 10,000 volt hits you, it takes you down no matter what. After watching a few people go through, I planned my route and ran as fast as I could. Amazingly I made it through without getting hit of which I was eternally grateful.
Finally I was crowned with my Tough Mudder headband and walked through the finish line. It was a lot of work for that little orange piece of fabric, but it was so totally worth it. I challenged myself to something I wasn't sure I could do and I was able to do it despite all my fears and reservations. It felt so good to be done with this beast of an event I have been wrestling with for the past fourteen weeks and for one of the few times in my life, I am actually proud of myself. So thank you Tough Mudder for an experience I will never forget. I'm gonna tell everyone I know about it!