The team came together through Teanille Cutler, who first heard about the challenge late last year. Cutler said, “I’m actually obsessed with the show ‘The Amazing Race.’ I’m fascinated by the things that everyday people can do.” Although Cutler, a mother of two, feels that now isn’t the best time for her to try out for “The Amazing Race,” she reasoned, “This is here, and I don’t have to go anywhere to do it.”
Cutler, a child care provider at Mount Snow, sent an email to friends and co-workers, saying, “This is insane - who wants to do it?”
The other team members who signed on are: Erin Diaz, Trisha Dlubac, and Deidre Bensin, all of whom also work in Mount Snow’s child care center; Christy Abraham, Mary Agan-Fisher, and Brett Wagenbach, who work at Mount Snow; and Sarah Daniels, Elisha Boisvert, and Melissa Boyd, other local working women.
The group of women decided to compete over the winter and started getting in shape. Two of the women have previous triathlon and marathon experience, one has actually in-line skated across the country, but most of them just try to keep generally healthy and active. “Anything fun that can still be exercise,” explained Dlubac, who likes to jump on her trampoline and ride the valley bike trail with her children.
Seven of the 10 women are mothers, and have a total of 12 children among them.
“My son says to me, ‘I’m going to help you get strong, Mom!’” Cutler said of her 5-year-old son, who likes to do workout videos with her at home.
Diaz, who has a 4-year-old son said, “Every time my son sees a picture of something to do with Tough Mudder, he’s confused why I’m doing it and not his Dad. But now, anytime I do anything challenging, he says, ‘You’re a Tough Mudder, Mom, you can do it.’” Diaz looks forward to seeing his face when she crosses the finish line.
Boyd was the most recent teammate to sign on, 1 1/2 months ago, when Cutler came into her work-place at Mountain Styles Salon. “She came in and was talking about it,” said Boyd, “I had wanted to do it, but I didn’t have a team. Then I found out that a bunch of those girls were doing it, so I signed on.” Boyd, a mother of three, has been running for exercise for about 10 to 12 years, since she was in high school. She said that her children are “psyched to see Mommy get all dirty.” She said that her oldest son Logan, who is almost 9, can’t wait to see her doing the challenge. She laughed and said, “He wants to try and follow me during the challenge.”
Boyd said of her teammates, “I’m so proud of everybody for finding time to get in shape for this, even with kids and busy lives. It’s been nice for me because I get to hang out with other moms, which I usually don’t have a lot of time to do with three kids and work and everything.”
They’ve had some tips along the way about how to prepare for the event. One was to duct tape their shoes on, and they saw the merit in that when one of their group had a shoe come off in the mud during a hike. More advice came from Diaz’s mother, who runs marathons. Her suggestion was for the group to find a focus. “For a time when you’re ready to give up,” explained Diaz, “Many of us have children, and for me, that’s what my focus is.”
Wagenbach, who doesn’t have children, said that her main focus with any challenge she does is her mother. Wagenbach was 16 when her mother died of breast cancer. She describes her mother as the only one who “really got it” in supporting her in her athletic goals and dreams to finish college. Wagenbach explained that when others would say, “You can’t do that,” her mother was always there offering encouragement. It was to honor her mother that Wagenbach skated across the United States in 1998. It will be in her mother’s memory and in support of all other women with breast cancer that Wagenbach endeavors to hike Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro this August.
Wagenbach moved to this area last year from Boston in order to be closer to the mountains. She said that teaching skiing at Mount Snow got her onto the mountain, and when she was done teaching a class, she would continue skiing for the remainder of the day in order to build herself up. “The reason I’m doing Tough Mudder is to kind of push myself,” she said
As a group they try to work out together once or twice a week. “We started snowshoeing and moved into hiking about a month and a half ago,” said Cutler.
On Wednesday they had their last group hike together before the challenge, a first with all 10 teammates present. “We’re taking it mellow this week,” said Cutler. She explained that they were basically just doing a walk together for the last time before the Tough Mudder this weekend.
The consensus of the group is that they are as prepared as they are going to be for the challenge. They have done legs of the course (without the obstacles), which has helped to build their strength and endurance. “It’s our backyard, and many of us have been hiking here for years,” said Cutler.
They discussed what they should wear for the event, and they all concluded that they didn’t want to be distracted by what they were wearing. “We’re going with comfort,” said Cutler. Although they are going to try and incorporate hot pink and lime green accents so that they can recognize each other, they are keeping it simple with yoga wear such as capris and leggings.
The group’s biggest concern regarding the challenge is the cold water temperature, currently at 36 degrees, because they know they’ll have to be in and out of it throughout the course.
As for the dangling electric wires, Dlubac said, “If I make it to the electric part, which is toward the end, I’ll be excited about it. I’m not going to stress about that - I’ll worry about that when I get there.” Although, she admitted, “Maybe I’ll watch some people go through it first.”
Regarding the finale of running through the four-foot-high flames from burning hay bales, Cutler laughed and said, “By the time we get to the fire, we’re going to want to warm up, anyway.”
Cutler said, “When I look at most of the challenges, I feel like I can do that. I feel good about the endurance part, and our team has a lot of camaraderie.”
However the girls get it done, Cutler said, “We’re women, so we’re going to do it efficiently.”
Editor’s note: As we were going to press, we received word that Daniels had severely sprained her ankle on a training run shortly after the team photo on this page was taken. Regretfully, she had to pull out of the event.