Toughest South (the second race in the series) was held on an equestrian farm in Georgia, not far from Atlanta.
As in the event in LA, the midnight-to-8am race was split between two distinct loops. Both loops had roughly 600m of elevation so the big distinction was in the type of obstacles on the loops.
As usual, the first laps were run on the Tough Mudder Half Course and were muddy and taxing but not technical: Berlin Walls, Pyramid Scheme, Devil’s Beard, Hold Your Wood, Block Ness, Skidmarked, Kiss of Mud 2.0, Pitfall, Everest 2.0
The most exhausting for me obstacle was unequivocally Pitfall, a seemingly endless series of deep and slippery mud pits.
I worked my butt off to cover as much distance as I could on those first laps, and was stoked to be making my way up to it for the last time. As soon as I slid into the water of the first pit, they announced the obstacle was now closed. Which meant that I had to do it, but just me. Welcome to Toughest. It’s too easy to let that stuff screw with your head when you’re trying to make your way out of an endless set of deep and slick pits alone, your fingernails peeling off against the pressure and your skin peeling off against the friction. Each struggle spent for short lived freedom and one small move forward.
But that’s the game. Sometimes it works out for you and sometimes it doesn’t.
The final laps were very arm and skill heavy: Balls to the Wall, Augustus Gloop, Operation, Stage 5 Clinger, Hangtime, Arctic Enema, Hold Your Wood Dos, Funky Monkey, Ladder to Hell, Quagmire, Black Hole (aka sideways Birth Canal), Kong.
Hangtime seemed easier this time. Either the bar was closer – or my husband drilling me to jump over a banana and tap a beam on the ceiling of our hotel worked wonders. The only time I missed, I missed the net. If you get that net, even just barely… do not let go. I also used the crease of my arm to rappel down the rope. I lost some skin but I kept some grip strength… which I felt was a good trade.
Funky Monkey eluded me every time this race somehow. The spinners seemed so far apart. I’d always make it to the middle spinner and the sploosh. Never once did I close my mouth or streamline my flailing body.
In the end, I held the lead for hours… until the mighty Lindsay Webster chased me down, and then ran with me for a few kilometres (lifting my tired spirit in the process) before blasting off into the sunrise. I knew she’d be there eventually – and it was both a relief and a joy to see her, as optimistic and energetic as always.
I was super impressed by how Tough Mudder used the feedback from LA: the course was well lit and marked – and the porta potties were clean. Clearly TMHQ cares about this event and the people that do it.
Can’t wait until Philly! Just hoping that my skin grows anew before then. I definitely have more bruises and less skin than usual.