Grade 2 Ankle Sprain

I visited the doctor today and found out I have a grade 2 ankle sprain from the Tough Mudder on Saturday.  While I am not totally surprised, the doctor was surprised that I didn’t break or make it even worse on Saturday.  After a good scolding from my doctor I was told to halt all lower body workouts and skating for the next 2 weeks.  That would put me back on the ice, hopefully on the 17th (which should make my hockey team very happy to have a super goalie in net next week).  I am just glad that it isn’t broken at this stage.

I am trying to keep in mind that the last time I hurt this ankle was in early June when I had someone fall into me while reffing.  I sat out for 2 weeks and then skated on it, but it was too soon.  I am hoping I can start working out again in a couple weeks right now, but I don’t have high hopes that for sure.  In the end, when I look at the orange headband I earned at the Tough Mudder, I feel accomplished.  What a great event.  Can’t wait to do another one next year.

Tough Mudder Michigan 2013 Completed!

On Saturday, I set out to complete my second Tough Mudder challenge.  The first was in Amherst Ohio last year in April.  This year, it was at Michigan International Speedway which is just east of Jackson, MI.  A shorter drive and we didn’t have to spend the night in Amherst, but it was still going to be a challenge.

For those who don’t know, the Tough Mudder is a 10+ mile course with obstacles that tests your overall fitness, stamina, strength, and mental toughness.  It isn’t a race so to speak as it is a challenge.  Everyone is helping each other through the obstacles throughout the event.

Our official start time was at 11:40 but we got to the event a full hour and a half ahead of schedule.  By the time we made it to the starting line, it was our time for our heat to start.  My brother and I got over the wall to get into the starting area and the event was on shortly after that.  The GoPro that my brother bought wasn’t working, so that was a bummer, but I quickly forgot about that and concentrated on the course.

Tough-Mudder-Michigan-2013-Official-Course-Map

There were 20 obstacles on our 12 mile course.  Here is a breakdown with a toughness rating for each one of 1-5.  A 1 is easy while a 5 is incredibly hard.

  1. Glory Blades – This is where you climb over a wall at an angle.  This was easy with others helping you out but still requires a little upper body strength to complete.  Toughness = 2
  2. Kiss of Mud #1 – This is where you crawl under barbed wire in the mud and over rocks.  Not very difficult if you have good upper and lower body strength, but crawling over the rocks isn’t that comfortable.  Toughness = 2
  3. Firewalker – Easy and fun obstacle!  You run, jump over fire and into a pool of water.  Toughness = 1
  4. Arctic Enema – Jump into a dumpster full of ice and water.  You then have a small plywood wall you have to go under which freezes you even more before you can climb out.  This isn’t as tough as it is physically and mentally draining.  I didn’t have much of a problem with it thanks to my attire.  Toughness = 2
  5. Underwater Tunnels – You have to be able to swim to do this.  You pretty much swim out, go under big blue barrels that are tied to platforms (there are four of them) and then climb out.  Easy, if you can swim and it was rather pleasant to just relax a bit.  Toughness = 1
  6. Mud Mile – Not tough as much as it is draining.  You have to watch your footing and make sure you don’t slip and fall like many people did.  Its a pretty long path of mud and muck to run through, but there is a lot of this over the entire course.  Toughness = 2
  7. Logjammin – This is a log obstacle where you have to climb over and go under logs.  Not very difficult but it does require a little upper body and lower body strength.  Toughness = 2
  8. Hold your Wood – Requires some good upper body strength to complete.  You have to hold a large log of wood and carry it around.  I can’t remember how long you have to carry it, but it wasn’t totally easy.  Especially in a downpour.  Toughness = 2
  9. Walk the Plank – This obstacle is where you climb up a tall platform and jump into water.  Its about as high as a high dive, so if you have an aversion to heights, its not easy.  To me it was very easy.  Jump in, swim, and climb out.  Toughness = 1
  10. Boa Constrictor – Crawling through small inverted tunnels.  Going down was easy, more of a slide.  At the bottom is water which you get to go through before working your way back up the next tunnel.  Going up was a little more tough.  I am glad I have good lower body strength.  Toughness = 2
  11. Trench Warfare – These are underground tunnels you have to crawl through.  Not pleasant if you don’t like confined spaces, but it isn’t very hard.  The rocks you crawl on are not pleasant though.  Toughness = 2
  12. Funky Monkey – This is an incredibly hard obstacle for me, but there is a way out.  There are inverted monkey bars and you have to go up about 10 rungs and then back down to complete it.  If you don’t make it, then you go into the water below and have to swim.  I think this is the hardest because I don’t have very good upper body strength and finger strength, but it isn’t insurmountable since you can swim to the other side.  Toughness = 4 if you want to complete it.  Otherwise, Toughness = 2
  13. Cage Crawl – The easiest obstacle of the entire Tough Mudder for me.  You pretty much lay on your back in water, and use your fingers to grab the cage above you and pull yourself to the other side.  If you don’t like confined spaces, this could be a challenge.  To me, this was easy.  Toughness = 2
  14. Electric Eel – This isn’t easy by far.  You pretty much have to crawl from one side to the other under barbwire.  Except this time you have electric wires dangling down to give you a zap every now and again.  You really feel like you are getting punched when this happens.  I did a slip and slide maneuver where I got a running start and then slid about 1/4 of the way through the Electric Eel and then power crawled the rest of the way through it.  I really got nailed a couple times, but I made it.  This really is not a pleasant obstacle.  Toughness = 3
  15. Warrior Carry – This is the only obstacle I had to bail on because my ankle was toast and I didn’t have the upper body strength to do it.  Carry one of your fellow Tough Mudders about 30 yards.  Toughness = 3
  16. Kiss of Mud #2 – Same as the first one but this one was a little tougher because the barbed wire was a bit lower and you had to work your arms and legs to crawl through.  Toughness = 2
  17. Bale Bonds – Last year in Amherst, the Bale Bonds were easy.  You just crawl over the hay bales and that was it.  This year, you needed to get a running jump to get over these huge hay bales.  I made it, but was by far not a slam dunk.  Toughness = 2
  18. Berlin Walls – This is the toughest obstacle that Tough Mudder has.  These walls are 12 feet high and you have to get over them.  The good thing is you have fellow mudders helping each other out.  The bad news is that it still requires some upper body strength which I didn’t have by this point in the course.  I made it but it was tough to pull myself over both of them.  Toughness = 3
  19. Everest – Its a quarter pipe you get to scale.  The only way to get to the top is to find someone to help you at the top.  Get a running start and leap up and grab their hands.  They then will help you up.  Last year I fell my first time.  This year, I made it the first time.  Just based on the number of fails I saw, I am rating this one a little higher.  If you have lower body strength and speed, and someone to help you at the top (which there are always people up there assisting), then you are good.  Toughness = 3
  20. Electroshock therapy – This is the final obstacle and its more of those electric wires that you saw in the electric eel, except this time you have to run through them.  You are going to get shocked about 3-4 times, and I fell flat on my face again this year after getting hit in the face by one of those things.  Its over fast, but its unpleasant.  Toughness = 2

Overall, this was incredibly challenging this year.  Not for the obstacles or the length of the course, but because I ended up re-injuring my ankle at mile 8 which required me to walk most of the last 3 miles.  We made it, but I was in significant pain.  Running up Everest hurt the worst.  Even today, a couple days later, I know that I am not going to be running or skating for the next few weeks.  I am ok with that though, since I have my Tough Mudder headband.

I am already planning on doing (at least) one more next year.

Long term goals

When I started this blog entry, I was thinking about so much that I haven’t accomplished and how bad it has been the last couple days in terms of my crappy play in net and losing one of my ice teams I played on last season.  Those things hurt, and then I started thinking about everything that I have accomplished in the last couple years.  Then I factored in everything I wanted to accomplish in the last 20 years.  Now, things don’t seem so negative.

When I set out to embark upon getting my MBA, I took a long good look at what I wanted to accomplish.  I wanted to teach.  I wanted to get into management and bring up people who have been in the technology trenches for so long and make them leaders.  Most importantly though, I didn’t want to sacrifice what I have loved to do, which is referee and play hockey (along with a Tough Mudder and some distance running).  Now that I have been playing pain free hockey for the last couple years, it really has been a lot of fun to strap on the pads and keep going.  When it comes to all these goals, I am right where I want to be.

  • I have that leadership position I love.
  • I will have my MBA in 3 weeks or so.
  • I have a couple hockey teams I love playing on.
  • I am refereeing adult and youth hockey on a regular basis entering my 4th year in the USA hockey program.
  • I completed my first tough mudder in April and am going to do another one in June 2013.

Finally, everything is coming together and I am excited about what the future holds.  What are going to be my next goals though?  I would love to find another ice hockey team to play for, and get back into my distance running that has taken a hiatus due to my injury earlier this year.  The other ice team may or may not happen, but it would be nice.  Aside from that, after hitting 40, I am just going to bask and enjoy what I have done so far.  What a ride.

I did it!

Wow, what an experience!

I completed the Tough Mudder in Amherst, OH on Saturday 4/14 at around 3:15pm.  Took me a little over 3 hours to complete the course.

I was so glad we got there early because it took an hour to park and another 15 minutes just to get on the shuttle and to the grounds.  After that, it was all smooth sailing.  I checked my bag and then climbed over the starter wall to hear the speech at the beginning.  We recited the Tough Mudder creed, honored our country, and then they set us off to the Rocky theme song.

  1. High Steppin: A series of wooden hurdles which I climbed over pretty easily.
  2. Artic Enema:  Here is where it started to go downhill.  We hit the arctic enema, which is a huge fat of ice cold water.  I hit that water and just felt my energy level sap.  It was freezing, and then I had to wait about 10 seconds to get out because there was someone slow in front of me.  Still, I made it through.
  3. Berlin Walls:  A couple walls that you have to climb over.  They aren’t that tall when you have your teammates helping you up and over them..
  4. Firewalker:  It wasn’t that hot.  It was mainly a series of fires that were set and it made more smoke than anything.  I ran through it easily, and was happy to get a little warmth.
  5. Bale Bonds:  A series of large hay bails that you have to climb over.  Easy enough for the most part.
  6. illa Gorilla:  A series of uphill and downhill climbs.  On the way down the first hill, we got to go through knee deep cold water.
  7. Walk The Plank:  It was about as high as a high dive, and when you hit that water, it was cold enough to take your breath away.  Still I made it through.  After this, we hit a water station and I was glad we did.  At this point I was still feeling pretty good.
  8. The Dirty Ballerina:  Got to jump over some pits of mud.  Not too difficult, but you couldn’t see where the pits were since you were running through mud.  I fell into a couple.  If you do fall in, you go up to your neck in mud, and you get to climb out and do it again a couple more times.  Not too hard except climbing out is tiring.
  9. Swamp Stomp:  A short run through a thick swamp.  It was about a 1/4 mile I believe, but it was tough going through knee deep sludge.
  10. Mud Mile:  A series of mud pits and dirt mounds.  Once again, not too bad being as that we were going through the swamp not long ago, so you knew what to expect.
  11. Devils Beard:  Crawling underneath a stretched cargo net.  It wasn’t too hard when everyone is helping each other out.  I held the net at the end for a little bit to help people out.  You pretty much have to bend over and go under the net just using your back to keep the net up.  Its stretched pretty tight, but we made it.
  12. Boa Constrictor:  Crawl through sections of 3′ pipe.  This was easy for me to do, but there are some people who had difficulty.  I just went through on my back  and crawled through.
  13. Kiss of Mud:  Another easy obstacle unless you hate to get dirty.  You crawl under barb wire on your belly, but I pretty much just floated since the muddy water was deep enough.
  14. Funky Monkey:  Ah, the inverted monkey bars.  I wish I could tell you that I made it the distance, but I didn’t.  I made it 3 rungs and then fell into the cold water below.  My brother did much better as he made it half way.
  15. Trench Warfare:  Belly down crawl through earthen tunnels.  Wasn’t too bad, but by this time my knees were pretty badly scraped up and the tunnels were not really smooth.  A lot of rocks and debris made it uncomfortable to crawl through.
  16. Cliffhanger:  We had to climb these huge 25′ hills of dirt.  Then, when we got to the top, we descended and climbed another one.
  17. Electric Eel:  Crawling under electrified wire seemed pretty easy at the time, but thats not what was going on.  You are crawling under barbed wire, no water under you thankfully, and you have these electrified wires that are dangling down.  You have no choice but to touch some of the wires, and the shock is enough like you are being punched.  I got shocked 3 times going through that obstacle, and I hated it each time.
  18. Twinkle Toes:  Balance beams were never my thing, but there was a series of balance beams over a pit of cold water.  Whats worse is that if someone fell in front of you, odds are you were falling too since the beams were not really steady.  I fell in half way across.
  19. Hangin Tough:  You have a series of rings that are dangling.  You grab one ring, swing to another ring, grab that one and keep going.  I made it three rings in before I fell in.  At this point, my upper body was pretty much spent, so I am not surprised that I fell in.
  20. Log Jammin:  I was very successful in climbing through sections of large logs.  Some you have to duck, and others you climb over.
  21. Berlin Walls #2:  At this point, my upper body was gone, but the walls were over 9 feet tall.  Everyone was pushing people up so people could climb over and fall down each of the two walls.  This was a punishing obstacle.
  22. Hold your Wood:  This was supposed to be a 1/4 mile log carry, but the path was very slippery.  They didn’t allow us to carry logs because of the terrain and I don’t blame them.  The muddy walk had turned into a swampy one.  I couldn’t imagine many people able to carry logs through this terrain.
  23. Everest:  Ah, the greased up quarter pipe.  At this point in the run, I was exhausted.  Watching people try to jump up and make it up to the people at the top of the quarter pipe just deflated what confidence I had.  I had nothing left at this point, and they want me to run up to the quarter pipe, leap, and have people help me up at the top?  My first attempt I missed grabbing onto the top ledge and I fell back down.  The second time I made it.  It took 3 people to help me up and over the top.  Yes, I hugged all three guys and I am not ashamed to admit it!
  24. Electroshock Therapy:  This was the run through the electrified wires.  I got shocked only once, and it was enough to put me on my ass, but I got up and ran the rest of the way through.  That shock was worse than the 3 I got in the electric eel, and it was too the side of my head as well.

When I crossed that finish line, I got my headband and my free beer.  That beer tasted so good going down.  I was totally spent.  It took me about 10 minutes to get my muddy and wet clothes off because I was so sore and tired.  Still, it was the toughest event that I have ever done.  The camaraderie of everyone helping each other was a big boost to your confidence.  I would do this again without question.

For now though, I am going to rest up.

The Tough Mudder was an insane event.  One of the most grueling events I have ever done, but also one of the most rewarding.  It was an event that punished me, even after working out and preparing for it.  Trust me, if you have a deficiency in your workout routine, this event will make you regret it.  My upper body still has not healed up fully since running the tough mudder and it has been almost 68 hours since I finished.  My advice to anyone who wants to do this is to start working out and just do it.  You will not regret it!

Not in the cards

Ice hockey playoffs have always left a bittersweet taste in my mouth.  I love to compete.  I was never a competitive person up until I started to play hockey.  Now, even at almost 40, I look forward to competing in hockey.  Yet, ice hockey is something I have not had a lot of success with.  My teams have made it to the finals about five times, but could never seal the deal.  Tonight, I played probably one of my better games in the semifinals and lost 5-4.

Yes, I got elbowed in the face and plowed into by the other team.
Yes, my neck hurts pretty bad, but with a one goal lead, I was feeling great.
Yes, I played well enough to win, but I was more furious about my team trying to sit on a one goal lead with an entire 3rd period to play.

We almost pulled it off too if it wasn’t for a deflection with 30 seconds left that pinballed off of 2 players and over my shoulder.  The game winner was a really nice backhand shot that went far post with 5 seconds left.

After that debacle, I just couldn’t get that upset.  I have been in this situation before where I didn’t come up big and my team didn’t give me crap over it.  So I returned the favor.  We really didn’t need it, because while losing sucked, my team really wasn’t phased.  We drank beer in the locker room and just chatted about the game like it was just a regular season game.  It was then I realized that I had crossed over into 40 and over league hockey.  Playing the game is what matters.  The outcome, while a win would be great, isn’t what my teammates think about.  Yes, I was disappointed, but with the rest of my team relatively jovial, I tried to keep the mood light.

I was the last one out of our locker room, and the opposing team was all still in their locker room celebrating the come from behind win.  I drove home a little sour about it, and I am still sour now.  All I could think about was another opportunity had come and gone.  At almost 40, I don’t have many opportunities left.  It would be nice to win one championship in ice hockey someday, but this season, it wasn’t in the cards.  Everything happens for a reason though, and good things come to those who wait.  I will be patient.

The good news is that this just fuels me to be even more prepared for the Tough Mudder in April.  The miles I am running and all the skating I am doing is just preparing me physically and mentally for this event.  This is the best shape I have been in since 1997 when I was in college and exercising regularly.  It feels good to be back in shape.

Holding out hope now that not only will I have an ice hockey team to play for over the summer, but that I will be physically prepared for what lies ahead.