It all started on a very warm night back in July. My weight had been steadily creeping up and I was feeling fairly miserable about it. I was chatting to my husband in the garden (over a gin or two) and telling him my summer plans to hit the gym, lose those extra pounds and get back into shape.
“Why don’t you do Tough Mudder?”
At first I thought he’d gone mad. My husband did it last year and he’s a lot fitter than I am. Trying to get to a point where I could run over 11 miles, whilst completing various obstacles and with a whole lot of mud thrown in, in just under 2 months seemed like Mission Impossible.
But he did have a point, I needed something to focus on and work towards. Plus there was a team entering from the gym so I wouldn’t be on my own. So spurred on by the gin I signed up that night before I could change my mind.
A big chunk of my summer holidays have been spent at the gym or getting out running. It’s been hard and there have been days where I really couldn’t be bothered but knowing I had Tough Mudder looming always spurred me on. Sunday morning lie-ins have been replaced with Warrior Training and getting to know the lovely girls (and a few men too) who would be running alongside me.
The weeks have flown and the 13th September arrived. It was a very quiet coach ride on a chilly Saturday morning as we all contemplated what lay ahead, and before we knew it we were arriving.
There’s a lot to be said for nervous adrenaline as we registered, got our race numbers, drew our numbers on our faces and waited! The buggers make you climb over a wall before you can even get to the start line, but at 8:20am we were off!
I’m not going to run you through every obstacle, I’ll be here forever, but here are my highlights:
Mud mile – it is what it says it is and when you’re stuck in mud unable to move you need a few friends on hand to help you out. The loveliest thing about Tough Mudder is that there is always someone willing to help, whether you know them or not.
Arctic Enema – or the ice bath. The Big Mr had warned me about this and said that none of the girls he had completed it with had managed to go under the tyres (you climb in and then have to swim under tyres to get to the other end). You can come out the side if you want. I hate being cold and this is one of the obstacles I had been dreading. I know that hubby expected me to climb straight out the side.
They’re not kidding when they say it’s cold, I climbed in and could feel myself starting to panic. I hung onto the side trying to regulate my breathing, whilst one of the men in charge came over to tell the lady volunteer they were behind schedule and to get people out if they weren’t going under. There was no way I was getting out, I stared him, “I’m doing this” It’s amazing the strength you get when trying to prove your husband wrong!
And the lowlights:
Hero Walls – the elation at climbing up a 12 foot wall, with a bit of help, soon vanished when instead of delicately lowering myself down I slipped and went down like a sack of sh*t. At least it provided a bit of a giggle for those around me!
Everest – despite four attempts and managing to grab someone’s hand three times I still couldn’t manage to get to the top!
It was tough and about 4 miles in I honestly thought I wasn’t going to finish, and if you’d asked me if I’d ever do another one the answer would have been a definite NO! But after hitting the 6 mile mark with a very welcome Energy Bar stand to refuel I started to believe I could get to the end.
Nothing beats that feeling when you see the finish line and are heading towards it. The only downside being that you are heading towards it through a sea of wires all set to give you an electric shock!
There have been quite a lot of pictures from the event and what hits me when looking at them is how much we are all smiling. The bad moments fade away and the lasting memories are the good ones. The ones where we were laughing and helping each other and applauding as we conquered another obstacle, or just managed to get unstuck from a pile of stinking mud.
A few years ago the thought of being covered in mud from head to toe would have sent me into a mild panic but it has been one of the best (and most fun) things I’ve ever done, so yes, I will be back for more. I’ve already signed up to do Survival of the Fittest in November and I’m sure I’ll be doing another Tough Mudder one day. If only to get to the top of Everest!