Here it is…Ive been dreaming about it, stressing over it, studying the course map, and practically making myself sick with worry. I seriously considered cancelling my registration, but my work sister convinced me that if I bailed out now I’d never forgive myself. She was right, and I decided that regardless of the outcome I would go and give it my all and complete as may obstacles as I could.
So I put on a somewhat brave face, suck it up and commit to the experience 100%. Of course I can’t sleep at all the night before, and on the drive out there I couldn’t eat anything because I was so nervous!
I’m not sure what I could possibly be worried out about?
Some of the obstacles were worrying me (no idea how I’m meant to climb over a 12 foot wall) , but I think mostly the distance is freaking me out. 18k is by far the longest I’ve ever traveled on foot.
We turn up and head into the grounds and there’s Tough Mudder paraphernalia hanging everywhere, officials and volunteers grinning at us menacingly, and I honestly feel like I’m walking to the gallows. We just have time to sign in and take a quick photo before they’re yelling over the PA that its time to start. I swallow my stomach, stash my bag and head to the start line…..and that’s when I realize I should never of come.
YOU HAVE TO CLIMB A WALL TO GET INTO THE START PIT!!!!
WTF!?!? Did you know this? I sure as fuck didn’t! Its like a test! “You must be this fit to enter.” Am I the only one who thinks that shit should be on the waiver?
I’m so pissed off! One of the main obstacles I was worried about was the wall climbs and now I have to do one before I can even start the race!
Not a good start, Royce shoves me over the wall and I very ungracefully drop to the ground on other side and start listening to the opening speech. It’s all about comraderie and mental grit and the bond that forms between mudders for life…I’m not hearing any of it. All I can think is; “I’m going to die, I’m going to die. Whats that??? Oh yes that’s right, I’m going to die!”
So the horn sounds and the stampede take off, we’ve come as part of a group that has split into 2; Me and Royce, and the fit people. Ben and Georgia stick with us, which is a good thing because I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t of kept going otherwise; 3k in you would of found me on the ground, fetal, covered in mud, dramatically calling to Royce “Go on without me! I’m done for, save yourself!!!”
Its 4k (for-fucking ever!) before we get to the first obstacle, a wall climb 😦 and surprisingly with a LOT of help from Royce and Ben I manage to get over! At one point I’m literally balancing on one toe on Royce’s hands, with half my body desperately clinging to the damn wall, thinking to myself “Is this how I break my neck?” Of course Ben just muscle ups over the damn things like their speed bumps. No time to recover from the adrenaline, were off again.
I have no idea how people are running this thing, there’s slippery, ankle deep mud and potholes everywhere, and I’m just waiting for the minute I step in one funny and snap my ankle like a twig. That will be great, how the fuck would I get back to the car? Can’t think like that, just keep going.
The next obstacle is the kiss of mud, typical barbed wire mud crawl pit. Quite fun, but more difficult than I though it would be, they’re spraying it down with water which I’m actually grateful for because by this stage my calves are cramping quite badly and I’m hoping the cold water will help.
We soldier on, every now and then we cross paths with the fast group we came with and it gives us false hope. “Wow I guess were not that far behind!” We are, Were very far behind. I’m exclusively walking by this point so I feel like shit for holding everyone back. They’re not leaving me, but I can see that they want to run.
We get to trench warfare and I’m excited about this one, I love mud and getting dirty, and this ones dark and claustrophobic as well so I had a blast. Half way through the tunnel you literally cannot see a thing, its so dark you just have to feel your way through and keep crawling till you see light.
I had to carry Royce for 100m during the warrior carry, which was pretty funny, then we had the Arctic Enema. I wasn’t too worried about this one, its just cold water, how bad could it be?
FUCKING BAD!! Let me tell you something interesting that happens during this obstacle. You wait in line for your turn, climb up the ladder and slide in. Its pretty cold (-38 degrees on the day), but your tough so you suck it up and wade to the divider, take a deep breath and dive under.
And that’s when it happens… your brain shuts down, your muscles seize up, you have the overwhelming urge to gasp. You swim to the surface and start gasping like your dying, and wade to the other end of the pit. Your limbs are numb, you can only think about climbing out, but because your muscles have seized and your numb its physically impossible for you to drag yourself out. You start freaking out because your sure your going to die in there and keep half jumping on the edge until Royce jumps BACK in and helps you get out!
We carry some wood, which is a lot harder than it should be, then its onto the cage crawl. I loved this obstacle! Lie on your back and swim through tunnels? Please, I just loved having a second to rest my legs!
More walking, more barbed wire and mud pits, its all very exhausting and every step is like torture.
Then we get to Water logged, which is basically over unders of big muddy logs. This one is really difficult because there’s no hand holds! I actually had to use the corners to get over, and the lovely guy that was manning the obstacle was hosing them down and helping me over.
Another great, big, long, huge walk between obstacles and then its onto the mud mile.
OMG, this one was so fucking fun that I would go back just to do it again! Its basically a series of pits and hills that you need to get to the other side of. Your grabbing onto anyone in arms reach, they’re grabbing you, everyone’s pushing each other over, its kind of like a non sexual mud orgy. By the end your covered head to toe in mud, and smiling from ear to ear.
Something that was a lot worse than I thought it would be was the underwater tunnels.
I thought they would be fine, I have no fear of water or swimming, or even swimming under things. Unfortunately I had not factored in the extreme cramping in my calves and the effect of freezing water on them! They completely stopped working! Half way under the first tunnel I was sure I was going to drown (which apparently I am afraid of) and was freaking out by the time I broke the surface. I nearly skipped the rest, I turned to Royce and told him I had to get out, that I couldn’t swim anymore. He told me to go under and keep my legs straight, and he just pushed me like a dart to the other side!
My hips are killing me, my calves are cramping so bad I keep needing to stop and stretch them out, and guess what? Were not even half way through.
Its about 3hrs in by the time we reach the boa constrictor, and as I’ve mentioned before, I was sure I was gonna get stuck like a cork!
I even asked the official if I would get stuck and she’s like “I donno”…(looks at me, then at the tube)… “probably not?”
Well with that vote of confidence let me jump right in!! insert sarcasm here…
I do jump right in and its actually fine, the pipe is quite wide and slippery so its like a slide on the way down, and then there’s rope going up the tubes to help pull yourself out. The rope in my lane was broken tho so I had to push in front of a guy in eye deep mud to switch and get out!
The one obstacle I am really upset about is walk the plank. Jumping from heights into water is something that has always scared me, even though I have no fear of heights, or jumping, or water. So I get to the obstacle, and I’ve been psyching myself up for it, I’ve come this far, I can do this…Except that I cant! the platform is about 5 meters off the ground and there’s only 3 tiny strips of dowel hammered into the wood as a makeshift ladder to get to the top. So you need to bring your foot up to your hip sideways and pull yourself up, which I should point out I can usually do…just not after 13k. So I tried a couple of times, Royce even came back down and tried to help me up, (which left Ben and Georgia thinking Royce had drowned in the water because he suddenly disappeared) but I just couldn’t do it. I like to think had I been able to climb up that monstrosity I would of jumped, but I could of ended up chickening out and climbing back down crying just as easily.
And that was the last obstacle I did for a while.
We got the the Berlin walls, but I had no chance, I just helped the others over and walked around. Then Ben and Georgia split off to run the rest and Royce and I walked, which was really good because around the 15k mark I had a complete mental break down.
At the 15k mark, the track started snaking back and forward over really soft white pebbles. So you can see the finish line, even though you still have 3k left, but only about 500m if you walked as the crow flies. That fucked with my head big time. I was in serious pain, my calves were completely cramped solid and my hips felt like they had fallen out of the sockets. I had been walking for well over 4 hrs, I was hot and tired and cranky and just battling through the overwhelming urge to lie down.
You know when you exercise really hard, or spend a day on your feet, and just NEED with every fiber of your being to sit down? I was experiencing that, but about laying down! All I could think about was just laying on the ground and collecting myself. I kept having to kneel or squat down to stop from falling over. I felt like the best possible option was for me to just tuck and roll from standing and sleep on the god awful white pebbles wherever I landed. I kept crying hysterically, and I couldn’t think straight, I was just a sweaty, muddy, exhausted wreck.
Royce kept me going with encouraging words, We were moving slower than an 80 year old in a market, but we kept moving.
Royce did the electric eel, which by the way did NOT look fun! He’s a tough guy and he was yelling and gritting his teeth, and every time he was zapped it let out a huge crack that was audible from the other side of the pit! He did the monkey bars, and tried Everest, but by that time he was ruined as well.
Then we crawled through Electroshock therapy to avoid….you know….being shocked, and we were finally finished! It took 5 hrs and 20 mins, it was the most painful and difficult thing Ive ever done, but we were finished and proud to have survived! We are so relieved, we hug and laugh, the announcer is yelling through the PA “Congratulations, your finished, your mudders now!” we walk through the last bit of mud, round the corner, and then I see it……
ANOTHER FUCKING WALL TO GET BACK OUT!!!!
I point to the wall and yell at the guy “If were finished, what the fuck is this then?!” He says “its just a small wall because we couldn’t cut the fence”.
I reply, in a voice far removed from my own, and more akin to the devils….
“WELL NEXT TIME CUT THE FUCKING FENCE!!”