On the spur of the moment (a mad moment in hindsight) both Jess and I decided to participate in the Tough Mudder race. Our dear friend Shona @themodeladvocate asked if we would like to participate to help support her cause. Not thinking much of it, we agreed, and subsequently firmly pushed the decision to the back of our minds. That is, until we decided to look the race up, only to discover the true extent of the gruelling, self-flagellating, mud-fest we had actually signed up for!
As it turns out, the quick run in the park with a few obstacles to clamber over, perhaps meandering through a few muddy puddles for good measure wasn’t quite what I had originally envisaged! The reality (for those of you who have never had the pleasure of running a Tough Mudder) is a gruelling 11 mile run with mighty obstacles including such fiendish elements as The Ice Enema…yes, ice enema! A nightmare slide which drops ominously into murky, muddied, freezing-cold water; and if this wasn’t awful enough you then have to swim and duck under a barrier before it allows you to escape its gut-wrenchingly icy clutches. The shock and panic you are forced to endure is nearly indescribable. One competitor’s analogy (Jess) was that it was simply: ” more painful then child birth. “I think I’d agree…” but to make matters worse, this feisty obstacle encounter is only at mile 2! Only another 9 miles more to endure….aaargh!
At this point I believe everything hit home. But there was no turning back – wimping out of the race was not an option. We were in it to win it….Until the bitter sweet end! The great thing about Tough Mudder is that it is not a race, and that the only way to get around the course is through team work. Everyone helps and supports each other over/under/around/through the obstacles, and it is this feeling of team work that got us round the obstacles. So thank you to all those wonderful strangers we met along the way.
In the midst of mud, sweat and grim determination, lost somewhere between adrenalin and absolute madness, we managed to cross the finish line. Amazingly we were not only intact, but also still running together, and in the end, flying high on a heady cocktail of accomplishment, nut bars and euphoria. All those 11 miles of hard work, climbing up agonisingly steep inclines and crawling with clenched teeth through black underground tunnels in ice-cold muddy water had been conquered…. We did it.
In true celebratory style, Shona came well equipped for every conceivable scenario. Her bountiful fanny-pack (aka the bum bag! which incidentally is one 80’s accessory that is extremely hard to pull off unless you’re Shona) was our life saviour on the course. With her carefully packed goodies of almond and coconut butter sachets for immediate energy boosts; and nut bar sans fruit (a great tip, as nut bars without fruit work just as well at providing slow release energy, but with less calories.) Shona’s fanny-pack always came up trumps. Shona was able to leave her fanny pack on the side of the obstacles so it didn’t interfere with anything.
But Shona’s pièce de résistance came in the form of a delicious home made smoothie of broccoli, spinach, banana, flax seed, avocado and other truly scrumptious goodies preprepared in Swell Flasks. This definitely helped to rejuvenate, hydrate and recover quickly at the end of the race. Oh….and of course not forgetting the bottle of Moët to celebrate our true victory afterwards!
For all those who wish to push themselves out of their comfort zone and try a fresh challenge – then this is perfect. Yes, it definitely can be tough at times, but the sheer atmosphere, camaraderie and team spirit of all those taking part really does carry you through.
Tough Mudder Top Tips
- A good pair of running shoes:
My trusty Brooks pure flow which are built for comfort and all terrains, were perfect, and I had no blisters! (Plus you can throw them in the washing machine time and time again, and they looked as good as new.)
- A Fanny Pack aka bumbag.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is not a race.
- Under Armour Compression Fit running leggings for support.
- Must have snacks- Bounce Energy Balls and Pip & Nut Almond Butter Squeeze Packs.