Ah, the ‘race’ that started it all.
Last year when I had only just returned to work and was focusing on getting back to a healthy place in my mind the opportunity to take part in Tough Mudder came up. Do something I’ve never done before, with a large group of people I didn’t really know, amongst thousands and leave my youngest for the day. The 4 things that petrify me the most.
So naturally, this year, I did it again!
What was different though was that I was doing it with my brother and after the last few weeks it was needed. My husband was doing it too but he was racing his brother so I had to accept when the tickets were booked I wouldn’t see him and that he had to do his own thing. I was secretly hoping his brother would pull out or end up doing it with his wife but ultimately I knew my husbands goal was to race his brother.
Now, my brother William, did not do any training. Eating a kebab pizza every night and drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels does not constitute training. Neither does his measly 4 runs. He’s a lot bigger than me so there was no hope in me pulling him over obstacles however, he’s very much a social person so I knew he would be able to get a hand if need be. We are complete opposites. I hide in the shadows or literally behind someone politely saying hi but nothing much else. He storms in a room singing some random song at the top of his voice wearing some outrageous outfit – think Ab Fab, in every way!
I had to drive the 2 and a half hours there. Stress levels quickly elevated and the pain in my chest threatened to jump out and punch me in the face. At least 4 times I almost pulled over to make one of the boys drive. But, I didn’t. First obstacle done ha ha.
We were late, shock horror. I think it’s in our genes. It was actually touch and go whether we would be going at all what with my dad and other things. The plan was the 9.30 wave for Joe (husband) and 10am for my brother and I as we were also meeting some guys I ran with last year. We didn’t make it in time and Joes brother didn’t wait for him. As much as I wanted to do the course with him I knew he had been looking forward to beating his brother so I just kept telling him to go for it. He’s fast, he had a good chance of catching him.
Off to the start and the warm up and the rain started. Big, huge drops. No sunburn this year! We did the traditional pledge and we were off. After about 500 yards my brothers face went a really worrying shade of blue/purple! This wasn’t good! He swore he was fine but he didn’t look it. At the first obstacle and we were crawling through the mud under barbed wire. His expression now ‘why am I doing this?’. The first high wall was hard, he got a lift up the first one but he’s stubborn and insisted on doing the next himself. I’m both surprised and impressed he did!
On to the infamous Arctic Enema and the sharp shock of the ice cold water hit me as hard as last year. I have to keep moving after that so I made my brother run up the hill. To be fair he did quite well with the running. We didn’t go fast and we stopped when he needed but only for a short period. The longest wait was for King of the swingers, that was a good 25/30 minutes. William was determined to hit the bell and was like a little kid waiting his turn. He didn’t get a good hold though and slipped off. I didn’t get it either, missed it by a whisker!
Funky Monkey was the other one we both wanted to do. Monkey bars and then a pole across. Again though he slipped, the first couple being really wet. I made it half way down the pipe before realising if I got to the end I could reach the platform anyway as I was so small so dropped in the water. I’m still really pleased with that!
William was a bit disappointed as we didn’t see many photographers and being the shy retiring type he is he loves getting his photo taken. The ones he did spot he was right over asking for them to take one. Pretty sure we would have been at least 30mins faster if it wasn’t for his posing!
He banged his head on ‘Rain Man’ and cut it a little so his chant for the day ended up being ‘ain’t got time to bleed’. When he could catch his breathe that is ha ha. No seriously he did so much better than I thought he would. There was very little walking and I was happy to take it easy in the mud as I didn’t want to sprain my ankle now I’m back on marathon training.
We didn’t see Joe until the end but that was to be expected. He didn’t quite catch up with his brother but he did beat him on time – also to be expected. He ended up running with another guy I know and had chatted to at the bag drop. He was also running solo so the pair of them teamed up for a good distance. That’s the good thing about all of this fitness stuff – you meet so many other people and can join up like that.
Back to the car after getting our tshirts and we headed to a service station for food as the queue at Tough Mudder was worse than it was for some obstacles and the prices were through the roof. I needed home for the kids too so this was the fastest way.
All in all a grand day. Not sure yet if I will do it again next year. It didn’t feel very difficult and I am focusing more on distance running. The atmosphere wasn’t as good this year either – not so many stewards shouting you on. I don’t know though, never say never.