‘Tough Mudder is a 10 mile mud and obstacle course designed to drag you out of your comfort zone by testing your physical strength, stamina, and mental grit. With no podiums, winners, or clocks to race against, it’s not about how fast you can cross the finish line. Rather, it’s a challenge that emphasises teamwork, camaraderie, and accomplishing something almost as tough as you are‘ ©
Now I’m sure some may agree that crossing 10 miles, somehow getting over/under 23 obstacles, getting caked in mud and being outdoors in the cold and rain would be someone’s idea of hell. But not for the The Muddy Mice, we’re the type who knuckle on down and get stuck in and we most certainly did!
OK, well maybe that’s not how we all felt prior to the event. Lets rewind back to Friday night in which I basically had a meltdown on my boyfriend, cried and said there’s no way I can complete this! What am I doing? I’m not doing it! So yeah, as you can imagine I got extremely little sleep Friday night!
But, ask me about it now and all I can do it rave about it!
I signed up to complete Tough Mudder as my boyfriends family had a moment of madness and bought it as gifts for one another at Christmas (such a great idea!) to raise money for the Maia Mouse Foundation. Being the adrenaline loving nutter I am, I was super jealous of them participating so I bought myself a ticket!
In all honesty I could not have been facing the course with a better team and I most certainly couldn’t have completed it without them! Being part of a big team made it seem a little less daunting and a lot more fun! I don’t think there was a moment in which we took any part of the course seriously. We rocked up to each obstacle, slightly in fear as to what we would be facing, but knuckled on down to the task at hand. Be it, holding someones hand to pull them under water obstacles, pull someone up a 12ft vertical wall, taking the weight of each other and strangers, cheering and motivating each other on, telling funny stories or having mud ball fights. We were all in the same boat and we all definitely came out the other side feeling very proud of what we had accomplished!
Aside from completing the course with the best bunch ever, there was one additional factor as to why I signed up. I thought it would be a great way to motivate me to get fit, get outdoors on my mountain bike, get out running in the glorious sunshine and undoubtedly it was a new challenge to set myself.
HA! I would just like to clarify that all I did to prepare was go for a 3/4 mile run in the evening after work. Now then, I only started this a month prior to the event as I realised it was fast approaching and had done nothing to prepare. But even that reality check didn’t push me on and well let’s just say my gentle, evening jogs lasted no longer than a week! I know I should have done more to train and I think this played a major part in my melt down on the Friday night because I was so worried about my fitness – lesson learnt!
More focused on getting a before photo, running to the warm up session was not the ideal way to start. But after a few funky dance moves we set off for the start line and were ready to go!
The nerves had certainly grown over the last week especially as I had never completed an event like it! The idea of running around in mud sounded appealing. One fatal mistake I did make was to look at the route and obstacles beforehand. Certain names stood out more than other, a few being Arctic Enema and Electroshock Therapy – yes, very appealing!
One of my favourite obstacles had to be Mud Mile. You did this obstacle twice, once on the blue loop and then again on the orange loop. The first time through the slopes were soft and slippery, the second time around the stones in the slopes had started to peep through as the mounds had been grinded down from the hundreds of mudders passing through. But on our second Mud Mile there was a DJ on the Samsung stage playing some absolute tunes! The atmosphere was amazing! Everyone was singing and dancing whether it be in the muddy water at the bottom of the mounds or on top of the mounds. We were dancing along to Cotton Eye Joe, S CLUB AND 5, 6, 7, 8! The DJ was mega too motivating everyone and cheering us all on, it was so much fun!
I think my worst obstacle had to be Arctic Enema. I hate water. I hate cold water. I hate my head going under water. I hate being out of my depth. This obstacle was hell for me. Climbing up to the platform there were 3 black tunnels which plummeted into the ice cold water. Henry, his Aunty and myself were the first 3 from our group to descend. Henry and his Aunty slid straight down, I on the other hand panicked at the top with my stomach doing somersaults. Every bad thought went rushing through my head. But then I thought I don’t want to hold the team up or anyone else for that matter and definitely didn’t want to miss an obstacle out! In situations like this you just have to think, hundreds of others have done it and surfaced. Tough Mudder have done all their safety checks. You’re going to be fine! So do it! Face your fear!
Hitting the ice cold water at a rate of knots, I sunk under the water, swallowed a decent mouth full, wriggled back to the surface and panicked, big time! I threw myself over the ledge of the skip, couldn’t breathe (well I could, I was just panicking so much I was finding it hard to breathe) I wanted so badly to be pulled out by the organisers but instead he just tried to calm me down. In the other ear I had Henry talking to me who was still stood in the freezing water waiting for me to come under the final barrier. He grabbed my hand from underneath, told me to count to 3, close my eyes, duck under the water and he’d pull me through. I listened and I did it. Talk about being out of your comfort zone! I was so close to tears from pure shock and happiness that I carried on, it was so over-whelming! After a 5 second breather, onwards and upwards we went…
The terrain was rough with some running sections passing through woodland and off-road terrain, the route definitely got steeper and tougher on the orange route. Some mudders we passed were having trouble with cramping calves, other were walking and others were powering on through.
The planning of the course always ensured you were covered head to toe in mud and sheep poo water. We were lucky with the weather too, it started off very grey and we did have torrential downpours just as we set off around the course but it was so refreshing. Any hotter and any sunnier and it would have been unbearable. Despite the fact at some points we felt frozen to the bone and just wanted our clothes to dry.
10 miles, 23 obstacles and 3 3/4 hours later The Muddy Mice crossed the finishing line in great spirits. Sad that it had ended but happy to not have to face any more miles or obstacles. Being donned a Tough Mudder Finisher T-shirt, crowned with an orange sweat band and handed a non-alcoholic cider it felt incredible to have accomplished every obstacle, we ran far more miles than we predicted we could and we all finished together as a team!
And what better way to fill you up and end the day than a beastly BBQ feast for the very hungry and tired mudders.
Overall I’m pleased to say Tough Mudder is not impossible. Everyone told me not to worry and they were so right! Don’t think you need to be the gladiator type to sign up, looking around it was a mixture of all fitness abilities – a good team spirit gets you a lot further than bulky muscle – well good fitness does make things a little easier, but you know what I mean. All you need to do is find your pace and stick at it!
Things to take with you:
- Spare pair of clothes & shoes to change into afterwards
- Money – for bag drop, merchandise, food
What I’ve learnt about myself:
- You can do anything you put your mind to
- Don’t bother working yourself up, you can overcome fear. Just get out and do it!
- A smile and positive thinking goes a long way
- Team work makes the dream work
- I could be fitter!