I started to document my journey to prepare for my Tough Mudder Full, but my blogging has somewhat fallen by the wayside over the past month or two. I am back now and I am proud to say that 10 miles and 24 obstacles later, my friends and I successfully completed our Tough Mudder.
Did I train properly as my previous blog posts promised I would? Not really.
If I compare my training to the three month training schedule Tough Mudder recommend, it would probably be fairer to say not at all. I ran, this was probably the only part of the event I was ready for. I bought a pair of dumbbell weights and followed a couple of workout videos on YouTube. I visited a local wall climbing centre two Sundays before for just over an hour. To perhaps put my training into perspective, the furthest I ran before the event was around 8 miles and I went from struggling to do a single ‘proper’ push-ups to just over 15.
The intention was to ‘carb-up’ and have an alcohol free day the day before the event. It was a hot sunny day, I found myself up the pub having a couple of beers a BBQ in the garden later in the day.
Image: assisting my hanging friend up Everest
The morning of the event came with mixed emotions. I was really looking forward to it, but it would be fair to say I was a little nervous. I had watched numerous videos of the obstacles we would be facing, but if I am honest with myself I had no idea what to expect on the day nor whether I would fall at the first or be running to the end. Or more likely, somewhere in between.
Our start time was 9.30am and the course was about an hour away, so it was an easy start. The weather gods smiled down at us; it was a lovely sunny day and while the temperature was hotter than we would have liked, the previous week was wet and no higher than 5C (41F).
What followed in the next fives hours was probably one of the most enjoyable things I have ever done, but at the same time also one of the hardest things I have ever done.
The first obstacle was successfully navigated, I think we all felt a sense of relief. We could do this, and actually really enjoyed it. The course was hilly. Really hilly. In truth, it was probably the hills that wore me down than anything else. The first five or six miles weren’t really a problem, some obstacles a lot harder than others. I started to flag around mile seven, it was becoming more a mental battle than a physical one.
Image: preparing to drop down into the Arctic Emema, a pool of freezing cold water and ice.
The final mile was harder than any mile I have ever run, harder than snowshoeing in Longyearbyen (when I genuinely believed I was going to die). Harder than anything I have ever done. I know full well this is a result of my complete lack of training. I only have myself to blame but I became dependant on the encouragement from my friends, other runners and spectators alike.
The teamwork and camaraderie was amazing, not just between me and my friends but other runners. Everybody was willing to help everybody, some needed it more than others and those that didn’t often stayed on a given obstacle far longer than they needed to.
That said, it was running Tough Mudder with my friends that really made the event for me. We started as a team, ran together as a team and finished as a team. It was all for one and one for all in its truest sense. Our preparation before the event, the togetherness and determination throughout and the buzz and sense of achievement after. It was a shared experience. One that would have been completely different had I been running the event on my own, or dare I say perhaps even with some other friends.
Image: just about to run the Mud Mile…
The sense of achievement was overwhelming. Being handed a free bottle of cider and spending a couple of hours drinking in the Village after the event just added to what was an amazing day.
Do I have any regrets? I wish I had trained a little more than I did. I feel no need to train to the lengths Tough Mudder recommend, but being able to run that extra mile and be that bit stronger would have helped. That said, I had so much fun, I absolutely loved the day. I want to be back next year, my friends have said the same.
So unless the feeling changes, see you in 2019 Tough Mudder.