Tyler Robbins Fitness

B.Sc. Biochemistry, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT/CF-L3), USA Weightlifting Level 1

Filtering by Category: "Berlin Walls"

Day 219 - World's Toughest Mudder - My Experience: Part 3

In part 3, we pick up right where I left off in Part 2, after just conquering Everest!

Swamp Stomp/Log Bog Jog

After leaving Everest behind, we headed into the forest again for a short run before coming across some pretty serious mud pits. Swamp Stomp wasn't necessarily one giant swamp to traverse through, it was more like a series of mud obstacles. Some mud pits were shallow enough to get through easily, but there were a couple of pits that had you up to your armpits, wading through mud.

I would like to point out that these were not filled with muddy water, but thick, sloppy, mud! As one Mudder in front of me remarked, "You could take a diarrhea in here and nobody would notice..."

Electric Eel

After exiting the forest, now that I was covered in mud, I came to my absolute least favorite obstacle at Tough Mudder; Electric Eel. I had commented after completing Tough Mudder Toronto at how much I hated Electric Eel when compared to Electroshock Therapy. I find that at least with Electroshock Therapy, you can run faster to get out of the "live" field as quick as you can. With Electric Eel, you have to crawl through a field of live wires, so moving through it quickly doesn't exactly work.

Hangin Brain

To be honest, I am not too sure what Tough Mudder was aiming to accomplish with this obstacle. It was essentially Berlin Walls 1, but the walls themselves were tilted on about a 20 degree angle towards you. I guess they figured that if the walls themselves were slanted, then they would be harder to get leverage to get yourself up and over, but I really did not see many people struggling with this one at all. Considering the skill level and athleticism of the field of participants, everyone seemed to be clearing this one with little to no problem at all.

If, for some reason, someone could not clear this obstacle, they had a penalty Arctic Enema on hand as well.

Island Hoppin

After Hangin Brain and a very short run, I came up to Island Hoppin. I remember seeing this obstacle in the 2011 WTM video, so I knew what to expect with this one. There are a series of floating platforms that you must jump from one to the next to make your way across. The water here was shallow, so we were informed that if we fell off any of the platforms, we must get back on and continue from there, there was no option to swim to the end of the obstacle.

Pirate's Booty

After Island Hoppin and then a quick jaunt around the lake, it was time to go swimming. Pirate's Booty had us start out with a swim that was about 200m (in my estimation). At the end of the swim, I then had to scale about a 30 foot high cargo net. The lake was very cold, so by the time I was climbing the cargo net, my hands and feet were pretty much numb. It made for an interesting climb to say the least!

Underwater Tunnels

After I was up and over the cargo net, there was another very short run before getting back in the water. This time the swim across the lake was about half the distance as compared to Pirate's Booty, but it was probably worse due to the fact that we had go completely under 3 separate barrels to reach the other side. If I wasn't cold before, I certainly was now!

Balls to the Wall

After exiting the water, it was time to head on over to Balls to the Wall. This is a new obstacle, or least new to me. You basically have to use a rope and only 2 ledges to climb up and over a wooden wall. The picture below shows the backside of the obstacle.

This is where things started to get interesting for me. I am not sure why or how it started, but trying to jump my feet up to the first ledge on Balls to the Wall caused my calves to both seize up on me like nobody's business. I have a feeling I was dehydrated from being a bit overheated in my wetsuit, so I really started to struggle at this point. I collected myself and was able to get up and over the wall, but was definitely starting to hurt!

Drag King

Right after Balls to the Wall came Drag King. Here, there were pairs of tires tied together. You needed to grab a rope and drag the tires about 200m in one direction, then turn around and drag them all the way back. Due to the heat being generated in my wetsuit, I hated this obstacle far more than I probably should've.

Competitors were trying many different techniques at this point just to get those damn tires down and then back up the track.

Mud Mile

Once I got those damn tires back up the track, I headed on a short run over to Mud Mile. A perfect time to get muddy and wet again! Mud Mile at World's Toughest Mudder was definitely taken up a notch compared to what I experienced at Tough Mudder Toronto. There must have been 15 mounds and valleys to climb up, over, and through. Not only that, but each trench had muddy water that came up to chest level.

It was cold, it was muddy, it was difficult to get through...but I have to admit that it was pretty awesome!

Berlin Walls 2

Upon exiting Mud Mile, there was a very short run before coming up to Berlin Walls 2. At the Tough Mudder Toronto event, I struggled to get over the second set of walls simply due to the fact that they were placed so close to the end of the course. I struggled, but made it. Afterwards, I had no doubt in my mind that they were probably the toughest obstacle on the course.

World's Toughest Mudder was no exception. After experiencing some pretty bad calf cramping at Balls to the Wall, I attempted to have a fellow Mudder give me a boost. I managed to get up and grab the top of the wall but just could not muster any jump to get myself up, my calves were toast! I was then forced to take the penalty obstacle - Arctic Enema. Upon exiting the Arctic Enema, I came to the realization that this really was no worse than swimming through a New Jersey lake in November anyways, so ended up opting for this penalty obstacle my second lap as well.

Electroshock Therapy

Last but certainly not least (because Tough Mudder always like to leave this bad-boy for the end) was Electroshock Therapy. Not much else to be said about this one that hasn't already been said before.

Quote of the day:
"If we never felt like a failure, perhaps we have failed to define the meaning of success."
~ Anton Suharyanto

Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com

Day 214 - World's Toughest Mudder - My Experience: Part 1

This blog will be about my experience at the World's Toughest Mudder event. As my very first experience at an event like this, I definitely learned a lot! In future blogs I will detail about things that worked, along with things that didn't work, but today will mainly be a description of what I experienced at the event and how the World's Toughest Mudder stacked up against your regular Tough Mudder events.

I ended up completing 2 laps of the course in just under 7 hours (about 30 minute rest between laps). I will give my insight into each obstacle and lap below.

The Start (0:35-3:19 in video above)

It was pretty humbling at the start of the race being surrounded by so many fit individuals. It was pretty remarkable to think that after all of the Tough Mudder events held in 2012 (over 450,000 participants), that I was standing in a crowd of just over 1300 of the best Mudders!

There was a great atmosphere and mood in the crowd, especially when there was gratitude given to the military personal in attendance. The speech given before the race was definitely moving. Reminding us all of the sacrifices folks make every day, not only in the military, but also those fighting illness or disease, and that we have this opportunity to test our mental and physical strength. It was quite inspiring!

Once the race began, there was a good mile or so of running through some mud and water before hitting the first obstacle.

Cliffhanger (3:20-3:29 in video above)

This obstacle was not much of a challenge on the first lap. I tried to get out of the starting gate somewhere in the front half of the pack, so not too many Mudders had traversed this hill at that point. By the time I reached this obstacle on the second lap, things were a bit more interesting, as the hill was a little worse for wear, but still not too much of a challenge to get up.

Berlin Walls 1

For those of you who have completed regular Tough Mudder events, you will be familiar with the Berlin Walls obstacle. There are 2 walls that you must get up and over, both being around 7 feet I believe. We are talking about the top echelon of competitors in this competition so people were flying over these walls like they were hardly there. Certainly not one of the most difficult obstacles on the course.

This obstacle was the first to have a "penalty", where if you could not get yourself over the walls, then you had to make your way through an "Arctic Enema" instead. I don't believe I saw anyone doing the Arctic Enema as I believe everyone was able to make it over the walls.

Kiss of Mud 1

Again, not the most physically demanding obstacle. You army crawl, or barrel roll, through mud, underneath barbed wire. I actually reached this obstacle and had an entire lane to myself so I tried the barrel roll technique. I wouldn't necessarily say that I made it through the obstacle any quicker, and ended up being dizzy by the time I reached the end, so I switched back to your standard army crawl for subsequent attempts at this obstacle.

One thing to note. I felt that this obstacle seemed considerably easier with the wetsuit and with lots of mud. I was able to slide on top of the mud much easier in the wetsuit, making the second time through this obstacle quite easy.

Rock Out with Your Block Out (new obstacle)

The next obstacle on the course involved carrying a standard cinder block along a hairpin loop. You would walk about 100m in one direction and then turn around and come back. Pretty basic stuff. If you have even a decent amount of strength this obstacle was a breeze.

Funky Monkey

Ah yes, good ol' Funky Monkey. The course was set up so that you actually did this obstacle twice. First time through in one direction, then the course looped back on itself and you ended up having to do it again a second time.

First time through this obstacle I made it with no problems at all. Second time through on the first lap was a totally different story. They had the second bout of Funky Monkey follow almost immediately after "Trench Warfare" so everyone was covered in mud, making for very slippery monkey bars. I fell in the water and had to take a short 1/8th mile penalty lap.

I would say that this was one of my most challenging obstacles (mentally) on the course because of how muddy the rungs became. It was very challenging to make it from one side to the other!

Trench Warfare

Underground tunnels that have a few sharp turns. The main difference I noticed here is how muddy these tunnels were. At the Toronto event that I competed in earlier this year, the tunnels were essentially bone-dry when crawled through.

These tunnels, on the other hand, had to have at least a foot of sloppy mud in them. As I said above, it made for a very interesting second bout of Funky Monkey.

Ladder to Hell (new obstacle) (3:30-3:53 in video above)

A relatively basic obstacle, but still requiring some coordination and strength to complete. I am not a huge fan of heights, so this one was interesting for me, but it wasn't too high that I felt unsafe at the top. Pretty basic really, climb up one side and then down the other!

Devil's Beard

I believe they had this obstacle at the side of a hill last year's WTM basically combining it with "Cliffhanger". This obstacle was pretty weak in my opinion. The design of it is a tight cargo net, about 50 feet long (approximately) securely fastened to the ground. You must crawl/walk/roll underneath the net. The idea here is that it forces you to stay low to the ground, potentially burning out your legs or other body parts depending on how you complete it.

This obstacle can be completed rather easily be bending over and walking under the net either sideways or backwards. The net should then slide right over top of your body.

Log Jammin'

Sometimes called by a different name, this obstacle requires climbing over and crawling under a series of logs. Nothing too exciting or different here when compared to your traditional Tough Mudder course.

Boa Constrictor

Another 'staple' obstacle from regular Tough Mudder events, here you slide down a tube (head first) into some mudder water, and then crawl back out the other side, also heading up through a tube.

I felt as though the water on this obstacle was higher than usual. I actually had to fully submerge my head in order to get out of the 'down' tunnel. The toughest part about this obstacle is trying to get out of an inclined tube, while muddy and wet. Wearing a wet wetsuit certainly doesn't help the situation either...

Quote of the day:
"Losers live in the past. Winners learn from the past and enjoy working in the present toward the future."
- Denis Waitley

Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com

Day 125 - Tough Mudder Tactics: Berlin Walls

Tough Mudder Toronto actually had 2 sets of Berlin Walls. The first set was approximately 8-10 feet high, whereas the second set was at least 11 feet high, probably closer to 12 feet. (Sorry, I don't really remember the exact heights)

This obstacle relies on teamwork. Scale three 12′ wooden walls with the help of your teammates, strategically placed for when you are at your weakest during the event. While some Mudders have worked up the strength to ascend the walls alone, most need a boost from a fellow Mudder — they got your back, literally.

To properly prepare for these walls, or to at least be able to complete them on your own, you are going to need some upper body strength. I highly recommend preparing by using pullups - wide front pullups to be more specific.

Tough Mudder really tries to stress the importance of teamwork at their events, and it may be entirely necessary for you to use someone else's helping hand to get you over both sets of walls, but I am here to tell you that it is also possible to do it alone!

For those readers who are not familiar with my training or follow me consistently enough, let me explain a little about myself.

I am 5'11", 174lbs (heading into Tough Mudder Toronto). In my final fit test prior to the event, I was able to crank out 30 pullups in a minute. I am honestly not trying to brag, just letting you know what level of fitness I am/was at in order to complete these obstacles on my own.

Both sets of Berlin Walls have a very small ledge about 2-3 feet off the ground to at least get you closer to reaching the top of the wall. On the first set of walls, I was able to reach the top of the wall quite easily by standing on the ledge. At that point, I really had no issue at all pulling myself up and over.

The second set of walls were a completely different story, however. From the ledge, I was unable to reach the top of the wall, so a jump was required. The problem with this is that the second set of Berlin Walls were towards the end of the course, and my legs were pretty toast from all of the hills, especially my calves!

I had to run from a few feet back to get a bit of forward momentum, transitioned into upward momentum to reach the top of the wall. Once I was able to grip the top of the wall, I could at least pull myself up to the point where I could swing my leg over, followed by the rest of my body. You can see me traverse the higher Berlin Walls starting at the 3:09 part of the video below.

Quote of the day:
"Diligence is the mother of good luck."
~ American Proverb