If you know me personally you know that I am not particularly fit and haven’t used my gym membership since February and in fact have only been three times before that. I can’t actually run for 5 minutes without having to stop and walk to get my breath back! So it may come as no surprise that I was really dreading Tough Mudder last weekend – especially after properly looking at the obstacles the night before for the first time! I signed up months ago when Donna was putting a team together for Black Tower, and half heartedly planned to start running and going to the gym to prepare but it just never really happened… I started couch to 5k but never did it regularly and certainly never got to 5k! Anyway, once I commit to something I don’t drop out unless I have a very good reason plus hate letting people down… so that’s how I found myself stood on Clapham Common at 8.30 on a Saturday morning staring at a giant scaffolding structure covered in a net that we’d be climbing up later!
The course we were doing was an Urban one – so no mud! However there was still a lot of crawling about on Clapham Common to be done so there was dirt! Donna and I met up with Tim and Natalie and sat about getting more nervous until it was time to get into the starters area, after dropping our bags off.
It took us around an hour and 20 minutes to complete the course – if I were able to run solidly between the obstacles it would have been less, but there is some standing about at obstacles before you tackle them, plus it’s not a race it’s a challenge!
Some of the obstacles were comparatively easy and some were the work of the devil – but it all depends on you fears too. For example ‘Next Level’ I had no problem with as I’m not afraid of heights, so I walked across the top and slid down facing outwards but for some people it was the biggest challenge as it was so tall, a girl going over it in front of me was shaking from head to toe but she still did it! The worst three in my opinion were:
The first obstacle which almost had me veering off into the bushes to hide for the rest of the day when I saw it. A wooden wall, sloped towards you so you couldn’t climb it. Literally the only way was to have people push you up and over. Then an ungraceful slide down the other side.
45 degrees of shiny surface to scale, with a bit of 2×4 wood plank nailed in the middle.- and it’s the height of about 5 people. Basically the only way up is to climb up your team mates. It was hard – this was me being pulled over the top…
The final Tough Mudder obstacle where you have a short run up a very steep incline , which wasn’t helped by me being short! Also the general rule is that you help the people around you on the big obstacles . As our foursome arrived all the folk at the top buggered off to the finish line, which is understandable but frustrating! It meant that Natalie had to get herself to the top and then help Tim, who helped me, and so on… She did it though – amazing skills and strength! I’m pleased to say our team helped the few that came after us and waited till there was nobody else to help before we limped over the finish line! It doesn’t look half as bad in this picture but trust me it was bad!
BUT we did it! We completed Tough Mudder! We attempted every single obstacle which was impressive as I had quite openly said “If I don’t like the look of them I’ll just dodge round the side” but I didn’t dare – I didn’t want to let the team down, or myself as it turns out!
I am so thankful to my amazing team members Donna, Tim & Natalie – it would have been impossible to have done this without these three. I am currently aching all over still, with scraped knees and bruises in more than a few places too – but weirdly considering doing a muddy version of the 5k now… what’s come over me?
You can find out all the info and where your nearest event is at toughmudder.co.uk.