Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Events: Tough Mudder #4 March 2014
I did my fourth Tough Mudder in March, which earned me both a green (x2) and a PINK (x3-6) Mudder headband.
It was also my first TM solo, whereas before I'd run it with teams of work-mates, or friends, this time I just tackled it on my own, along with the other 20,000 or so people who did it this time around. It was a slightly overcast and chilly day, and I was very glad that I had set myself up with my gear with this in mind.
This time around, as I had done previously, I geared up in all my "Zombie Control Officer" get-up, some for show, some for practical reasons. The core of my outfit was again the
FirstSpear OAGRE tactical vest which I've worn to all but my first of these adventure runs. This vest has given me both a platform to attach my accessories, but also provided me with a modicum of abrasion resistance, not to mention keeping my shorts on during some of the hairier moments, with its built in belt-attachment loops.
I mounted a set of Platatac twin 40mm pouches to my left side, which I filled with energy bars. On my right side, I mounted a Platatac SR25 pouch for another energy bar, a magnet to switch on and off my Contour GPS camera which has trouble in its waterproof case (see below). I would have also kept my spare battery for the Contour in there too, in a double-ziplocked baggie, as I've done in past, but alas, I couldn't find the damn thing till the week after the event, stuck in the bottom of a cable-jar.
On top of the vest I wore the same Platatac admin pouch as I had previously, with a cyalume stick, permanent marker and a small laminated map of the course. I tracked my progress, marked off obstacles and marked times as I went. I also lucked a large LARP foam fighting knife behind it, for photo-ops and in case any of my fellow competitors wanted to "go zombie" at me. No one did, haha. My loss. Wearing my Z.E.R.T. membership shield, call sign (Q3199) I got a lot of nods from the other costumed participants.
Also on my chest rig, I wore the UVPaqlite for power-fee solar dark-space navigation, and on my shoulder, opposite the ITW-Nexus Picatinny mount for the Contour, my PrincetonTEC Switch MPLS-light, which alas didn't survive the course, and judging from the few photos I found, looks like it came off at least in the first third of the course. Makes me sad, but I guess I'm in the market for a new helmet light...
I wore a Platatac Punisher-2014 CUS shirt under the OAGRE, which kept me cool but not cold, dried quickly and chafing free for all 23km of course.I clipped my bib number to my MOLLE with plastic side-opening ALICE clips.
I wore running skins under my TripleAughtDesign Amphibious Shorts which cut down on abrasions even further, and kept me a little warmer when the wind hit us. They also helped keep my BlackHawk! kneepads on and in place, and again, without the bleeding hamstring regions I've had previously. Skins are definitely an endurance asset. This time around I also opted to wear my BlackHawk! elbow pads too, which cut down on my elbow gravel-rash immensely. A little cumbersome, and made getting hauled up by helping hands a little more challenging, but so worth it. Between the skins, the knee and elbow pads you could hardly tell I'd done the course (apart from the usual behind-the-thigh bruises) just a day or two after.
I had a Source 3L WXP storm bladder on my back again, in an early strapless version of the Platatac Bravo hydration system, which was PALS/MOLLE locked on tight to the OAGRE vest.
This time I also wore my Paleo- Barefoots ANTERA paws with the neoprene inserts, the PAWS dots made a heap of difference, giving me all the grip I needed on events like "Twinkle Toes", which was a wet-beam crossing, and running up the quarter pipe of Everest. I also wore the Paleo-Barefoots BAMANOS paws, giving them their first big outing for me. Unfortunately, in their current form, without a lining, they chewed up my hands quite a lot.
I've passed on feedback to Jörg of GoSt Barefoots, and the roughness I felt when wearing them, especially on the hang-by-your-hands obstacles like the "just the tip" vertical wall-crawl, the "Funky Monkey" monkey-bars and "Leap of Faith" (jump off a platform, over water and climb up a dangling cargo-net, my favourite obstacle of the course.)
I completed the course around 45 minutes faster than my previous times, which included an extra kilometer of "Legionnaire" veteran course, and four extra obstacles. The Powerade / energy bar combination meant that I didn't stop running for water or snacks the entire time. My map was a great morale boost, as well as helping me keep my orienteering awareness up.
These events are a great hobby for me, they test my body, determination and gear.
Here's a shot of me fiddling with my camera, when in its case I need to use a magnet to switch it on and off, which isn't always easily done. Especially when all caked in mud.
I only managed to get a couple of clips from this Tough Mudder, because of problems with the switch. Don't mind the muddy banter ....
I had a really good time, signed up for the next Melbourne event on the day, and made it home in time for dinner.