Lou, a Tough Mudder !
I took part in something a little different last Sunday called Tough Mudder with boyfriend Pete and his group of circuit friends. You know the type of event, thousands of competitors over the course of a weekend getting filthy dirty and muddying up the perfect beautiful country park of Beaumont House.
I had been a little apprehensive about this, never having done anything like it before and facebook and friends providing a plethora of horror stories. In fact, the build up to it included detailed videos of all the obstacles so that people can scrutinise the course and I'm ashamed to say, I was too afraid to look at them! Pete happily tells me the night before that he has borrowed a friends orange headband for me so that we can do the legionnaire's loop with extra running and obstacles for those who have done a tough mudder before! Great, thanks Pete, super news.
The day starts with a pretty tiring warm up led by a military guy covered with tattoos, a purple wig and a flowery dress. Not quite what you get at an Age Group event. After lots of 'hoo-raa's' all round, they drum it into to you that it is not a race. It is teamwork all the way. Again, definitely not what you get at an Age Group event. So after a big build up to the start, we were off!
However, as it turns out, five years of triathlon prepares you for more than you think and undoubtedly we are a tough bunch of nutters. I needed help with big obstacles and normally chose a strong looking bloke to boost, pull, push or do whatever it took to get me up there. The freezing ice looked and sounded a lot worse than it was and I actually managed to do it twice as Pete didn't get the camera out in time the first time round. I heard the marshal whispering - go on, tell her your camera work and see of she will do it a third time. Lots of obstacles involved very, very muddy water, sometimes swimming or being submerged in small tunnels or walking the plank with a 30ft drop into it. Lots of people found this really testing but lets face it, if you have ever done a tri or open water swim first thing in the season with ice cream cone head, it really doesn't seem too bad.
There were over 40 people in our circuits group and nearly all found the 12 miles of running and the two mud miles very tiring and probably harder than the obstacles. I loved this bit and made sure I ran at a very comfortable pace and still three of us overtook two waves of people. Honestly, it was nowhere near as bad as Watford cross-country! Pete was a little less comfortable with the pace but determined to keep up. At one point he grumbled about looking forward to being electrocuted just so he could stop running.
Towards the end of the course, you have the infamous Everest, a quarter pipe you have to run up which is greased. This was probably the worst part for me and after five failed and furious attempts, Pete wisely advised me to skip it. My knees were swollen and bleeding by this point but it broke my heart to admit I couldn't do it. Pete very helpfully let me know that I was leaping to early and needed to get one more step in before reaching for the top. Really? You didn't think I needed to know 5 attempts ago!? So I dragged him back. And up I went! I was so relieved to make it and to the men at the top who help pull me up, I was hugging them and I think Pete was just as happy as I would have been hell to live with if I had to admit defeat and have to walk away.
After that, a water slide and another bout of electro-therapy seemed small fry. Overall, it was an interesting and fun day. It felt good to test your fitness and although I am not race fit for triathlon, I still managed to beat the army guys! Oh flip, I forgot, it's not a race. With a stop at a pub on the way back, it was a perfect way to spend a Sunday.