It’s June. It’s Saturday. I’m awake at 4.50am and the baby is still asleep. Must be TOUGH MUDDER DAY!
Say what you want about Tough Mudder (I will only EVER say good things about them), but they know how to put on an event. They deliver on distance, they deliver on obstacles and they deliver on atmosphere. If you’ve never done anything like this, do this one.
Last year, Tough Mudder was my first every obstacle race. So it’s sort of to blame for well, all of everything that has happened since. The entire day is just a success from start to finish. Based around Team work and Camaraderie as opposed to Course Time, they have obstacles designed specifically to make you use the other Mudders on the course. Pyramid Scheme, Hero Walls and Everest are three of the many that require everyone to dig deep and use each other to combat them. You meet people you’ve never met before, and will never see again, but for those few minutes they are the people you need most in the world. Except for the dick at mile 5 who was smoking, and walking. I mean I really hope he got round unscathed and all that but who the hell smokes going round an obstacle course. Dick.
I ran this year with my friend Audrey, it was her first time and I think it was somewhat safe to say we were both pretty nervous before hand. The nice warm up man who has gladly recovered from last years broken leg, was firmly in place to warm us all up and then we were delivered our pre-race rousing motivational speech by the same dude as last year. The familiarity was nice, Tough Mudder is a family – although at 2 million strong it is a family that is growing by the event. Of course there are memories that linger that aren’t so nice – the ice for one. Arctic Enema 2.0 was horrific last year, as the official photos show. This year was no different. Sliding into iced water to then have to dunk back into it to clear a submerged plank of wood is never going to be fun, especially not at 10am in the morning when it’s throwing it down with rain.
Except this year something was different. Me. I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but I am no longer an Obstacle pussy and I have my ultimate OCR partner in crime Lee to thank for this change in attitude. During the 20 mile bonding race we experienced in May I realized that there is nothing that will ever appear in front of me, obstacle wise or otherwise, that I cannot tackle head on. So today, the ice was fine (although still fucking cold mind). King of the Swingers (where you jump from a platform to grab a swing to then let go of said swing, to drop into water all while trying to whack a cow bell on the way down) – nailed it. Although I did forget about the cow bell and just very ungraciously plummeted into the water. And then there was Rain Man, which is a cage crawl in water but in the dark with water dripping on your face. This obstacle should have scared the shit out of me. I hate water being dripped on my face, I don’t like being in a confined space really and I’m not good when I can’t see where I’m going but actually today it was my second favorite obstacle. It held the first position right up until we got to The Block Ness Monster and that just knocked everything else out of the park. It was team work and hilarity all combined and the only criticism would be that it wasn’t long enough. Make it longer next year Tough Mudder please. It is a very different experience when you actually HAVE FUN at a event and don’t spend the whole time worrying that you won’t be able to do stuff and that things will get the better of you. I even leapt of a platform onto a giant air bed today without even thinking – I mean who the hell am I?!
#1 is an apple that certainly hasn’t fallen far from the tree, and today she totally smashed Mini Mudder – a mile of obstacles in which she got covered in mud and had to scale monkey bars and walls. And just like her mother she got all the way round and forgot to turn her Go Pro on! Needless to say she’ll be back next year, as will Audrey I suspect who had a thoroughly great event today and was an excellent running buddy for the day.
Today was event #15, half way there. I couldn’t think of a better event to mark the half way point. Tough Mudder is where it all began for me, it sparked something in me that has grown and developed into #30for30 and a general sense of just wanting to do badass shit most of the time. I have my legionnaires headband now and I have no intention of missing next years event.
Tough Mudder, you are amazing, Don’t ever change.