So, I thought I’d take a shot at video blogging as a way to spice up my blog. During my exploration of my new hometown, I discovered that Washington, DC has a lot of hidden gems…one of which are the iconic steps from the 1973 horror flick, The Exorcist. You know the movie I’m talking about…where the little girl acts all crazy spitting vomit across the room and her head doing 360 degree turns? Mmmhmm, that one. I will warn you now…a 4 year old can probably edit better than me but since it’s my first try, I am going to cut myself some slack. Check me out!
For those of y’all that have followed my blog for a while, you know about my Warrior Dash debacle (which got me published in Obstacle Racing Magazine!). I let myself get Jedi mind-tricked into participating in Tough Mudder. What is Tough Mudder, you ask? It’s a hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all-around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. The Georgia course was around 10 miles and contained about 22 obstacles.
You’d have thought I’d have learned my lesson last year, right? Nope. See, Delusional Nikki thought she had enough time to train & prepare for this event since she registered a YEAR in advance. Why am I talking about myself in the 3rd person? That’s what delusional folks do, ok? Anyway, the months start ticking by and Delusional Nikki keeps eating Reese Cups & watching Scandal…like Olivia & Fitz were going to do this race with her. Next thing Delusional Nikki knows, 11 months have passed and it’s 2 weeks before the event. Sigh. So, at this point, Sane Nikki shows up and is like, “girl, stop. you know you can’t do this. save yourself.” Sane Nikki sends an email to her Tough Mudder team that basically said, “Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky & Mike…you’ll have to count me out.” (shout out to my New Edition fans!). But, the team knew Sane Nikki was weak & not making good decisions since Scandal was on a 3 week hiatus. So, she gets Jedi mind-tricked again with an email from the team captain saying, “It won’t be that bad! We haven’t trained either.” [Um, sidenote…they are lying liars who lie because clearly, they had trained. While I’m asking folks for rosary beads & prayers at obstacle 3, they are doing the electric slide through Obstacle 748.]
So, I suck it up and decide to go. A couple of days before the event, Tough Mudder sent an email with logistical details (parking, etc) and a video of one of the obstacles, Arctic Enema. As soon as I watched the clip, I was like, “NOPE!” That looked like a whole bunch of crazy that I couldn’t be a part of. My strategy was to skip the obstacles that looked dangerous/difficult. Don’t judge me. I’m coming out of a Reese Cups coma.
After driving a couple of hours we arrive at the race site. We passed several obstacles on our way to park. My first thought was “TURN THIS CAR AROUND NOW!” But, I kept focused and started mentally hyping myself up…then we walk over to the starting area. Um, how come I didn’t know you had to complete an obstacle to even START the freaking race?
Jesus take the wheel! iCan’t. But, my teammates were like,”LET’S DO THIS!!!” and I got caught up. We climbed the wall, listened to the Tough Mudder inspirational guy (no, I don’t remember his name and I’m too lazy to go find it out), and finished it off by singing the Star Spangled Banner. Then, we officially start the race.
The first obstacle was “Kiss of Mud”. In the beginning, I thought it would be fine. Because I’m still under mind-control. What I didn’t count on was that the course would be extra muddy due to the week of rain we had before the race. After running 1/4 of a mile, we come up to the first obstacle and have to crawl under the wire. Seems pretty simple right? WRONG! It felt like there was cracked glass & empty syringes lying on the ground. Seriously.
But, it wasn’t too bad (compared to the obstacles coming up). After getting through Obstacle 1, we run through some more mud. Now, we are still in what I will call the “regular” area…or as I started to think of it, “my safe zone”. The early obstacles were close to the parking lot so you could keep running to your car if things got too “tough”. But, I was lulled into a sense of “badassness” by the early obstacles. Obstacle 2 looked like it would be difficult (I have the upper body strength of a mosquito so climbing up & over stuff is a challenge…might have helped if I had actually trained but hey, I ain’t about to judge myself, k?). Turns out, Obstacle #2 (Bale Bonds) wasn’t that hard once you got into the swing of it. At this point, I’m like, “WHAT? DO YOU SEE ME? I’M AWESOME!” I should’ve known it was too good to last.
After that obstacle, the course takes you into the woods. Seriously…there is no trail. Just some red ribbon that they attached to the trees earlier that week. Good luck with that! The mud combined with no actual trail proved to be the toughest “obstacle”. And one that I wasn’t really ready for. It was difficult to keep upright because it was so slick. Trail shoes wouldn’t have made a difference because the mud cakes the soles until it was like you were running on ice. Folks loved it though…screaming WOOHOO as they slipped & slid all the way to Grandma’s house.
Once we come out of the woods, we are at Obstacle 3 “Arctic Enema”. Now, I had already seen the video (provided below) and my initial reaction was…
AW, HECKS NAW! Nuh uh. Keep that. But when I actually arrived at the obstacle, I was feeling solid…the previous obstacles had me feeling like I could do this! Even when a couple of spectators told me that a man had went unconscious in the pool about 10 minutes before me, I was like, “So what? He’s weak!”
So, my crazy self jumps into the dumpster filled with 80 pounds of ice & water…and I can’t quite tell you what happened next. I remember having to swim down to the bottom so I could go under the partition to get to the other side to exit…then, as I surfaced, I think I saw Jesus sitting on the side of the dumpster reaching His hand out to me saying, “What kind of fool are you?” My response? “I don’t know, Jesus…but I’m pretty sure it’s the biggest kind of fool there is.” After getting out of the dumpster, my body locks up and I just stand there for a minute. No idea what was going on.
Then, it’s back to the woods. I hate the woods, y’all. Nothing good happens there! Next obstacle was hauling some wood around. Lord Jesus…WHY DID I SIGN UP FOR THIS AND NOT TRAIN? Luckily, my teammates carried the log and I pretended that I was helping to carry it but that was all for appearances.
Then we get to the next obstacle, “Boa Constrictor”…the pictures make this look so easy. Like all you have to do is crawl through a tube. I should’ve known that was too easy. You have just enough room to crawl into the tube…on your stomach. The only people who can crawl through on their needs are “little people” and toddlers. Half way into the tube, I got stuck. Sigh. After scooting as much as I could, they lowered a guy down to pull me the rest of the way out. Which I noticed was pretty common.
After that obstacle…I was done. I pulled a back muscle in the tube and hadn’t been able to catch my breath since Arctic Enema. So, I tapped out and wished my team good luck. Which ended up being the smartest decision I made. I never was able to breathe properly until I went to the doctor a couple of days later and had to be put on an inhaler because my lung capacity was at 60%. All in all, I completed 3.5 miles of the course so I just say I did a 5K 🙂 I want credit for this, y’all.
To prove I’m not making this up (well, my review may be slightly embellished), see the 3 minute video below.
First, where was the cutie at the beginning of the video when I was doing this race??? Did you see those arms & that chest? *grabbing smelling salts* If I had raced with him, I might have found a bit more inspiration 🙂 Second, y’all saw those obstacles right? And folks were smiling! Like the Tough Mudder folks had laced the mud pits with a meth, bath salts, crack cocktail! No, ma’am/sir.
I stuck around to watch a couple of other obstacles. Overall, I’d say Tough Mudder really is a race for those who actually train (not like the 5K mud races where you can fake your way through it). The obstacles & course are very difficult. The week after the Georgia TM, Tough Mudder had an event in West Virginia where a man died during the “Walk the Plank” obstacle. While this isn’t the norm, it does emphasize that you should be careful. I have never quit in the middle of a race…but I do not regret quitting this one. And, it was my own fault for not being prepared. I will say this…the great thing about this race is the spirit of camaraderie and other “mudders” helping their comrades along the way. They have a “no man left behind” mindset (of course, I was like, “leave me, y’all). If you have survived Tough Mudder…my hat is off to you as you are better than me 🙂
Interested in what the rest of the obstacles were?
Hey, y’all!!! I know it’s been a few months since I’ve last blogged. Did you think I broke up with you? No worries, I only do that via a text message that basically says “it’s you, not me…kick rocks, sucka”.
Honestly, my sabbatical was really due to a combination of writers block, an extremely hectic work schedule and general apathy. Also, I was suffering from mental rickets caused by mud cancer which I contracted during my failed Tough Mudder race in April. Mental Rickets (or “MR” as it’s known in the crazy community) causes dementia & delusions of grandeur which end in the inevitable sobfest that everybody but the sufferer knew was coming because…well, you are crazy. Sorry. I’m a sufferer too. Now that I’m in recovery, I will probably be some poor soul’s sponsor.
Get ready to ride with me again. More posts are coming! I’ll be writing about Tough Mudder (which I have renamed the “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That 5K”), Japan, Hong Kong, Switzerland, London & Amsterdam!! I’ve missed y’all 🙂
In the meantime, check out my passport. She’s got 24 new pages…so we ain’t calling her fat…but pleasantly plump & ready for travel! Just like me. Ha!
It’s been less than a week and I’m already missing the beach. Something about water calms me…it’s like an instant shot of happiness 🙂 Maybe I need to get an “ocean waves” app or something…but then I’m nervous that it will make me want to pee all the time. Hmmm…I guess the next best thing to being there is staring at pictures!!! As I started looking thru my online photo albums, I realized that I’ve been BEYOND BLESSED to visit so many amazing places! And I’d like to share a few of them with you. So, get your pretend swimsuit, a very real cocktail, sunglasses and let’s go!!!
Want to run with glow sticks and covered in LED lights? Check out the Firefly Illuminated 5K/10K Night Run. Currently, this race is offered in Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, Denver, Chicago and San Jose. But keep checking the website as they may add new cities.
Atlanta only offered the 5K run starting & finishing at Piedmont Park. There were about 4 hills so the run was actually a little tough! I didn’t die of water cancer or think about pushing a kid off a scooter so all in all, I’d say it’s a win 🙂
I formed a team named The Glitterati. We had an awesome time! There was plenty of music, bananas, water and great people! Between the neon glowing wigs to lighted fairy wings, there was a bit of everything. Running inspires camaraderie and it’s amazing how you will strike up a conversation with complete strangers over the common theme of racing.
Want more information on what to expect? Check out the video below!
So if you are looking for a great night race to try, check out the Firefly Illuminated 5K/10K Night Run. You will have a BLAST!
Now, I’m looking for my next race. What do you recommend? What’s your favorite race(s)?
Well, not really but I did spend the afternoon at Oakland Cemetery. “This garden cemetery, founded in 1850, is the final resting place of many of Atlanta’s settlers, builders, and most noted citizens like Bobby Jones, Margaret Mitchell, and Maynard Jackson. It is also a showplace of sculpture and architecture, and a botanical preserve with ancient oaks and magnolias. Here in this peaceful place the full scope of the city’s rich and fascinating history unfolds before you. From a hilltop in Oakland Cemetery, General John B. Hood watched the Battle of Atlanta, and nearby lie soldiers from both sides who died in it.” (source, www.oaklandcemetery.com)
I decided to check it out as I’d heard so much about this cemetery from professional photographers. It was recently selected by the Atlanta Journal Constitution as Atlanta’s Best Picnic Spot. Now, while I find cemeteries peaceful and like to try to figure out the family ties of those buried within, I don’t have any interest in having a picnic next to Dearly Departed Darryl. It did afford me the opportunity to practice my photography tho!
“Oakland’s acres of Victorian gardens offer a variety of spectacular locations for your special occasion. Maynard Jackson, Atlanta’s first African American mayor, and Ivan Allen, Jr. became the 26th and 27th mayors of the city to be buried at Oakland, joining six Georgia governors. Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With The Wind, is also buried here. So are golf great Robert T. (Bobby) Jones; Joel Hurt, one of the city’s leading developers and entrepreneurs; Atlanta historian Franklin Garrett, Bishop Wesley John Gaines, founder of Morris Brown College; Carrie Steele Logan, 19th Century founder of Atlanta’s first orphanage for black children which continues today as the Carrie Steel Pitts Home, and others who played a role in Atlanta’s evolution.” (source, www.oaklandcemetery.com). I’m pretty sure I’m related to Carrie Steel Pitts (or at least that is the story I plan to circulate…see what kind of ancestry you can make up by hanging out at the cemetery?).
My friend, Haskell, and I decided to spend a few hours taking pictures in Little 5 Points and Oakland Cemetery. Little 5 Points (a/k/a “L5P”) is a funky bohemian neighborhood east of downtown Atlanta. Known for unique clothing boutiques (Junkman’s Daughter, Envy, etc.), hookah bars and cafes…it’s a fabulous place to spend a Saturday afternoon!