OMG I cannot believe that after 8 months the journey is finally over and I not only took part but also completed my very first Tough Mudder! It was tougher than I ever imagined it to be, not only physically challenging but also extremely mentally challenging.
I took part in the Tough Mudder Southwest on 19th August 2017 and what an unforgettable experience it was. We drove up the night before, as we were a good 3 hour drive away, which we didn’t want to do the morning of the big day!!
I woke up Saturday morning feeling so anxious and nervous!
My stomach was in knots!
Since Luke has previously done 10 Tough Mudders prior to this it’s tradition that I always do him a “Tough Mudder pack” and he did the same for me…. unfortunately I couldn’t bring myself to eat a thing as I really felt like I might throw up!!
I literally had to force myself to eat a banana and a protein bar and managed a few sips of the fuel protein shake.
I think I did about 5 wee’s before I left the hotel!! I was absolutely dreading what I knew lay ahead of me.
All I can remember once we had arrived and made our way into the Tough Mudder Base Camp, I was looking around feeling like a fish out of water! I couldn’t believe that I was there as a participant rather than a spectator. I was overwhelmed, nervous, and wanted to so desperately back out!!
Soon it was our time to go into the warm up zone, I’m not kidding when I say my hands were shaking! My face was a pure look of panic for most of the mandatory warm up and I had worked up a bit of sweat by that point…… seriously if I couldn’t even handle a 10 minute warm up how on earth was I going to tackle the course?! The next few minutes went by like a blur, I remember the TM pledge and getting down on one knee and listening to rules about health and safety. Then it was time to go! I remember Eye of the tiger playing and the 10 second countdown beginning, too late to back out now!!! The countdown got to zero and off we went. In my head I just kept telling myself to keep on running as everyone was watching!! At least try and look like a pro!!
Relieved when I rounded the first corner and could slow the pace down a bit, I didn’t feel too bad in doing so as people were walking but my first time TM buddy Teresa (Luke’s mum) and I settled on more of a jog to keep moving.
Teresa and I were quite quiet for the first mile, I think we were just trying to focus and pace ourselves. So it started off quite serious, plus I was dreading what obstacles were going to be waiting for me!!
Below I have included the course map…. how INSANE is it!!
I’m not going to talk about all the obstacles in depth individually as I’d be here all day and the blog would go on and on!!…..
Some of the obstacles were a lot better than others, and didn’t involve too much at all, and to be honest they were a welcome break from the more intense ones!
But there is one obstacle I will talk about!!
Let’s talk about Artic Enema! The obstacle I had been dreading for 8 months! The one that I had laid awake at night worrying about! The obstacle that makes or breaks you, and no at this point I do not think I am being dramatic!…. So what is artic enema? I found this little quote online which sums it up- (As Tough Mudder’s head course designer likes to say, jumping into Arctic Enema “is like quickly eating ice cream and getting punched in the balls at the same time.”) ….. But technically speaking it is a 0-Degree Dumpster filled with ice cold water and ice cubes topped with a wooden divider that you must swim under! Sounds brutal right? Well it is!! I knew I didn’t want to do it and a part of me was thinking I wasn’t going to do it, but the other part of me knew how disappointed I was going to be if I didn’t do it. We hit artic enema just after mile 3 so quite early on in the course, the 5 minutes leading up to it I felt confident enough to do it, then rounding the corner and actually seeing it, I was like NO WAY!!!!
Luke and my mum were telling me I could do it, and the rest of my fellow TM’s were also very encouraging. It was NOW OR NEVER!! I remember feeling like a bag of nerves, I remember Luke telling me that I must go down the slide, and I remember one of the marshals telling me to go. The rest is a bit of a blur! I remember hitting the water and going under, it was colder than I ever imagined it would be, it’s a pretty indescribable feeling to be honest. I didn’t panic I just went with it, as I come up for air Luke was there and grabbed my hand and pulled me back under so we could get under the block of wood. My next thought was GETTING OUT !! Seriously I was like a bat out of hell, and seemed to make it out of the dumpster faster than the ones who went down before me!!
Once I was out I was so relieved and overwhelmed I cried!! Not ashamed to admit that, but I was also so incredibly proud of myself. And even more so since I watched this obstacle on YouTube and seen that quite a few people struggle with it, and don’t make it the whole way across, they get pulled out midway!
Now feeling like I could pretty much conquer anything the other obstacles I faced were okay in comparison, although still really difficult and challenging.
The mud mile
All of the above obstacles were extremely challenging and difficult and really pushed me to the limit! But I can proudly say I did them! With pictures to prove it!!
There were other obstacles around the course where family didn’t get to spectate, and most of them I did, but some of them I just couldn’t do. All in all I think there were 4 or 5 that we didn’t do, out of 22 I don’t think that’s bad!
There were many times around the course where I felt myself slacking and the pace slowing, and I felt like giving up! That’s where the fellow Tough Mudders come into it! EVERYONE I encountered that day was so friendly and encouraging, little pats on the back, high fives and “keep going” were just a few things that happened along the way. At the beginning during the warm up, you are told that Tough Mudder isn’t a race but a challenge its about camaraderie and helping each other out, something I can definitely confirm that I saw happening.
It was such an insane experience, I find it actually hard to describe. I am so proud of myself, I went out of my comfort zone and tackled it head on. I have the t-shirt the head band and the bruises to prove it!!I have learnt that I am actually quite tough, and taking part in Tough Mudder has taught me that I won’t break if I try new things and it’s okay to step outside of the comfort zone.
I would definitely recommend it to anyone, it’s an amazing experience! However I won’t be going back to get that second headband!!! EVER!!
What an experience! Tough Mudder you certainly live up to your name!!