So the day of reckoning finally came.
After four months of 6.30am training sessions, telling my personal trainer Toby (Wan Kinobe) that he was evil and I hated press ups which only made him give me more, eating copious amounts of chicken, salads, eggs, whey protein shakes and all manner of supplements to turn me into a super solider, a popped kneecap and strained tricep just 1.5 weeks before the event Tough Mudder South London 2013 was here!
I didn’t manage to get any sleep the night before despite taking some ZMA which usually does the job. So on the Saturday morning I was bleary eyed, had a nervous stomach and also realised I had forgotten to bring my photo id which I needed to show to let me take part in the event. Needless to say my team mates were not impressed, one of them went as far to say “You are not f****** serious” to which my meek text reply was “Yes, I am :(” But fret not, thanks to the joys of the interwebz I managed to retrieve a copy of my passport from an old email – yippeee! I would get to take part after all.
Unfortunately the team I was with ‘Merry Band of Mudders’ didn’t get to start as a whole team as I was staying in a separate hotel from the rest of the guys and one of them very kindly agreed to pick me up so we ended up starting first at 9.15am as we couldn’t find the rest of the guys and then they started at 9.30am.
The atmosphere at Tough Mudder was absolutely buzzing. Lots of excited smiley and nervous people of all ages, shapes and sizes and some wearing fancy dress (always a winner in my books). We were put into a pen and geed up by a guy on a mike who was shouting lots of macho stuff that had us hollering and hoorahing like we were going to be unleashed onto a zombie apocalypse and then BOOM! we were off and running.
The Tough Mudder course in Winchester was amazing. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and there was a wind that kept you cool. The weather for once was absolutely perfect. If only the Weather Girls were there to sing ‘It’s raining men’ but it didn’t need to because there were absolutely loads of them all over the place in lycra running around.
The course in total was 12 miles with 21 obstacles and some people were already beginning to walk around the half mile mark. But it didn’t matter because Tough Mudder isn’t about finishing the course as fast as possible. It’s all about team work, camaraderie, supporting and encouraging your team mates and watching out for other people taking part to make sure they are okay.
After running for about 10 mins we came to the first obstacle which was Kiss of mud where we had to crawl on our stomachs through mud underneath some barbed wire. There were numerous shouts of “Keep your arses low” as I should imagine snagging your booty on barbed wire would be quite painful but thanks to my Asian genetics and our lack of junk in our trunk I never had a problem with that (this will be the only time I’m happy to have a flat bum. Note to self: continue with the squats, lunges and deadlift sessions). My team mate Tim and I cleared the first obstacle easily and we followed all the other nutters running around the beautiful Winchester countryside.
Now whenever you mention Tough Mudder to people, if they have heard of it one of the obstacles that always gets mentioned is the delightfully named Arctic Enema. This was obstacle number 7 and involves jumping into a pit full of ice and water. You also have to duck underneath a wooden board and come out of the other side and try to get out before your body freezes up. Unfortunately I freak out in water if my feet can’t touch the bottom and when I came out from underneath the board and was trying to swim to the other side to get out I started to panic. I could hear a volunteer shouting at me to get out quickly and all I could shriek was “I can’t!”. Thankfully another volunteer held his hand out for me and helped to haul me out of the ice before I got really cold (whoever you are I love you for saving me). Once you get out of the ice it’s actually really refreshing! Although trying to run with water logged trainers and clothes isn’t so easy but hey it’s all part of the challenge.
Around the 6/7 mile mark you could see some people were beginning to flag and get a bit tired. Tim and I had been keeping an eye out for our team mates all this time but still couldn’t see them anywhere so we carried on in our little splinter group and encouraged each other to keep going because we knew we would bump into them at some point. One of the things that I really enjoyed about Tough Mudder is the help and encouragement from other people at the obstacles. Thank you to one of the ‘Martial Fartists’ team who let me stand on his shoulders so I could get over the ridiculously high wall and thank you to the girls who were encouraging me on the Human Gecko wall when I was having a mini breakdown because I was scared of falling into the water. I did fall in, to the sound of many cheers as did everyone else who fell in but it didn’t matter because it was so much fun.
We were nearing the end of the course with only 2 obstacles left to go and as we were running down the final big hill I suddenly spotted Tom one of our Mudder mates who was behind us with the rest of the guys – Huzzah! We would get to finish as the full team. The last two obstacles were Everest which we all managed to clear easily and then we came to the dreaded final one Electroshock Therapy. Now it wasn’t the first one that dished out 10,000 volts of electric shocks as there was one earlier in the course called Electric Eel where you had to crawl on your stomach and try not to get shocked by the wires but on this one you had to run through mud straight through all the wires. I decided to grit my teeth and just go for it, then I got shocked by a wire and it made me stop in my tracks. I suddenly heard a “Whoooah sorry Rosie” and my team mate Corey came slamming into me and made me face plant into the mud as he smacked into me because I had stopped. No time to mess about, we had to get up and finish it. I got zapped a few more times but then YIPPEEEEEEE WE FINISHED!!
The feeling of euphoria as we all finished Tough Mudder was amazing. We went to collect our famous orange headbands and then had a well deserved pint of Strong Bow. Well, I only had 5 sips and had to stop drinking as it was making me drunk already (another Asian ‘defect’, no alcohol processing enzymes in my system). So, I have finally managed to tick off Tough Mudder from my bucket list and I had an awesome time.
Thank you to Tom, Tim, Corey, Jack and Andi for letting me be in your Merry Band of Mudders (my original team all pulled out). My biggest thanks goes to Toby Mayers of TJM Training, my very awesome Personal Trainer who helped me reach my goals of wanting to be the fittest and strongest I have ever been and our aim over the four months was for me to smash Tough Mudder which my team mates and I did. A huge thanks also goes to Mike Leng of Unorthodox Nutrition who also helped me reach my goals of wanting to drop body fat and build muscle in the run up to Tough Mudder. Thanks to Toby and Mike I have had to spend a fortune on jeans as I kept shrinking and my jeans were falling off (I’m not a fan of the prison look where your jeans are down by your knees and everyone can see your pants). Also thank you to my physio Hayley of Premier Therapy for fixing my injuries in the crucial 1.5 weeks before the event and for strapping me up so well that I now sport some interesting sun tan marks.
If you have thought about wanting to do Tough Mudder and haven’t got round to it I highly recommend it. Don’t be scared by the videos you see – it is probably one of the most fun things you will ever do. Sign up!🙂