Monday, 6 May 2013

Tough mudder north London 2013

After the debacle that was getting their a day early and being all rested for the run, I decided that this time I might as well just head there on the day. So after a few hours sleep I woke at 3:30 and prepared my return packed lunch, since I was so ravenous after the last ill prepared run.
Arriving at the station, I bought myself a quick sandwich from the coffee stand and had to contend with a loud and obnoxious clown, moaning at the guy serving coffees, for my money if you're on your mobile, I'm going to serve someone else, then telling the other people to cheer up, I just hoped he wasn't anywhere near me on the train and thankfully he wasn't.

I boarded the train and it started out from the station, it was only when it was underway that is realised my pain killers were left at home, nothing to serious but it means the run might be a bit more uncomfortable, since this was a split journey I was thinking I might be able to get some on route. One of the platform guards actually got me some from his car which I thanked him for, my phone had been resetting itself and as I was nearing Leicester the phone completely died and refused to come back on, which was infuriating as I had no other way of getting in touch.

When I got to the station there were taxis doing group trips to the venue so I jumped into one and we headed off. During the walk into the venue I got chatting to a group of first timers and gave them some advice on what to expect, I picked up my entry pack and discovered that I had a 2pm start time, I was a bit put out but realised that must have been because I didn't get to choose a start wave this time. I stowed my bag and wandered the starting area. I eventually decided not to wait and stood in the warm up area, hopefully no one would notice and eject me. As I was waiting to start I started chatting another competitor called Jamie, we warmed up together and decided to accompany each other around the course, which I was glad to do, as I found it a lot easier with another person for support physically and mentally.

I noticed my knees were giving my some niggles and hoped that it wouldn't cause me too many issues on the way round, luckily it didn't, it was more my left butt cheek, which was an injury left over from a run a few weeks earlier. We set off keeping a good pace and chatted as we ran, spurring each other on and over the obstacles. The first of the day this time was the Arctic Enema, which was a lot colder than I remember from the last time. I paused in the water knowing it was going to be uncomfortable, I took the plunge and went for it. We made it through and headed to the onto the Kiss of Mud, which was the same barbed wire crawl, which was just as painful as I remember and gave me some lovely bleeding scratches.

Weirdly the Walk the Plank obstacle which came up next was a lot warmer than the last time, so that wasn't as unpleasant, though Jamie had some problems we made it through unscathed, which is more than one poor competitor in America, who sadly died. Next up was a new obstacle which was Island Hopping, where you jump from moving pads floating on water, I managed to clear one pad before falling forward onto the next pad and into the water, which was pretty cold. Jamie managed to make it over all of them which I was most impressed at. I got out of the water and we ran on to the Glory Blades, which were walls that weren't high but were set at a 45 degree angle which made clearing them a slightly scary issue as there was nothing under your feet to push against, making my heart jump slightly.  

We continued on and ended up at the Underwater Tunnels, which I wasn't looking forward to, since it was my worst obstacle the last time due to the cold, this time it was much easier, as the water was a lot warmer. We clambered up the muddy incline and ran on to another new obstacle, Human Gecko, which was climbing wall hand and footholds, that you move sideways over another body of water, where one person managed to fall in. 

Another gentle run and we reached the Electric Eel, which I skipped the last time, as I was cold and tired, this time I determined to complete, one bloke ran up and touched the wire and zapped himself before he got under the obstacle, I braced myself for what was to come, thankfully it wasn't as bad as I thought, though I did get zapped in both shoulders and my lower back, which paralysed my with each zap.

We reached the Boa Constrictor and it was an easy slide down the tube into the water but much harder getting up the opposite tube as it was really slippery, thankfully I had a hand getting out the tube, we ran on and reached another new obstacle, which was the Dirty Ballerina, where you leapt over a bunch of ditches cut into the ground, I managed to get over each one without any issues, except the last one where I slipped and landed on my arse, much to my own amusement.

After a short run, we reached the Fire Walker, a new obstacle where you jump over a fire pit and into water pit, which wasn't altogether unpleasant, the first Mud Mile where we climbed over huge piles of mud into water ditches, and halfway across, we ended up at Trench Warfare, another mud crawl under cover. Hold Your Wood, was the same as last year and seems to be a legacy obstacle, we picked a couple of light logs, which made it easier. We made it to Log Jammin’ and climbed over and under some tree trunks and headed onto the second Mud Mile, which was a bit bit easier than the first one.

The Hero Carry was a weird new obstacle that wasn't an actual obstacle but you carried another person for a short walk before being carried. The Hero Walls, were a lot easier this time around, except where someone thought they were helping but threw me off balance at the top of the second of the 15 foot walls, though not enough to cause me any problems. I lowered myself down and headed on towards the Funky Monkey, I managed to reach the second rung before falling into the water. 

Another new obstacle in the form of Cage Crawl, which was a number of fences placed over a wooden frame over a body of water, where you pulled yourself through, I realised that you can't see where the wood of the frame was, so I turned my head to see where I was going and just went for it, I pulled myself out of the water

There was the usual huge group waiting to complete Everest, so it took a short while to get a go, I sprinted towards the people at the top and slipped back down, just missing their hands, I gave it another go and just missed again, slipping and landing on my butt cheek, which was painful, I decided to give it one last try and sprinted hard, managing to get hold of a pair of hands, I was praying they didn't let go and thankfully they didn't, helping me over the ridge, though not before my arms and chest were full of pain, I climbed down then Jamie and I ran onto the last obstacle.

I knew what was coming with Electroshock Therapy, so I was a bit apprehensive ased on what was coming, the person looking after the obstacle had suggested that it wasn't as bad as Electric Eel, which turned out to be true, as it happened, I got shocked a few times and it knocked my to my knees, I crawled out hoping not to be shocked again.

I stood wearing a heat blanket clutching my pint of strongbow and shaking quite violently, which I'm guessing was because I was in shock and not from being cold, although it certainly felt cold, the sugar in the cider really helped as I stopped shaking and warmed up nicely. I thanked Jamie for 

I got myself changed and headed back to the taxi pick up point and shared a taxi with some other people and we swapped stories of our runs, though it did leave me with a lot of time on the station, the train journey was quite nice and I swapped stories with other runners, discussing what was the worst and the best obstacles.

I found my second Tough Mudder to be a much more pleasant experience, than the first one, as I got a compression shirt to use, which was a brilliant purchase, as it was like a second skin and kept me warm between water obstacles, it was a also a much warmer day, aside from the occasional rain and hailstones, I was also very glad of the company, I'm already signed up for the next one, in June