Saturday, 16 November 2013

Tough Mudder Wales

My fifth and it would seem final event of the year and a really early start to get down to Abergavenny in Wales, again another tiny station with no taxis waiting to take people to the event ground, which meant a twenty quid ride to the site, though there was a food festival going on which seemed to be pretty well attended, I almost decided to give the Mudder a miss and enjoy the festivities.

Arriving on site it was the usual festival atmosphere, with people having already completed the course proudly displaying the headbands and t-shirts. I got myself signed in and collected my number, on the way in the course looked a bit on the flat side, I'd hoped there would be some hills to run up and I wasn't disappointed.

It started off with a relatively flat run for the first mile or so, them we hit a couple a short inclines but nothing too severe and after winding our way past the Walk the Plank, it then started to get much steeper but still I was able to run, albeit not particularly fast but not too uncomfortable. At around mile 2 we came upon Kiss of Mud, or more aptly, kiss of gravel, I enjoy the scrapes but not how I get them.

After another mile or so, I ended up at Glory blades, which required a little help from other people, it seems I'd been neglecting my fitness some what, so I could barely get myself over, I was impressed with the people who just seemed to leap over, I should set that as my goal for next year.

A short run and we arrived at Arctic Enema, I always give the same advice to other runners, it will be cold but close your eyes and feel for the wooden partition and pull yourself through, then push through the ice to get out, the ice has been getting really thick and difficult to get through, and a bloke I spoke to on the train home, was in the 8 o'clock start wave and told me it was thick ice for the entire obstacle first thing.

Trench warfare was another knee damaging,  pain inflicting, mudless crawl and then the real hills started. They just went up and up, causing me and almost everyone to walk this part of the course, it was so steep, I thought that Skipton had been hilly but this was far worse. We reached Funky Monkey and I failed to make it more than a handful of rungs, due to the slickness of the bars but I had conquered it before so I wasn't too bothered this time.

Onward and upwards on a steep and slippery track, to Hold your Wood, which continued the upwards trajectory of the course, finding a lighter block of wood is the easiest way to complete this obstacle. We then started to descend, although this was just as tricky as the ascent, due to how muddy the course was at this point. Still, it was easier than going up.

Another mile or so and we ended up at the Hero Carry, which is an odd one if you're taking part by yourself, I managed to carry and be carried by someone and I always worry that I'm too heavy for them but they never seem to have a problem, I guess a piggy back is the easiest way to avoid straining yourself.

Continuing down the hill, we hit upon Electric Eel, which is always more painful than Electroshock therapy but if you can find a a good route through you can avoid quite a few of the shocks, though I managed to get quite a number of them this time round.

More descending and we arrived at the Dirty Ballerina, which I managed to push myself over without stopping, which was a nice change from normal, I guess they must have been a bit closer together this time. A short distance and we arrived at the Human Gecko and for the first time, I managed to fall off, due to how tired I seemed to be I just lost concentration and into the water I went.

They brought back the climb the steep field and back down again, to make it the 11.5 miles they make the course, I always find that a bit tiring and dull to be honest, still it makes the course a little longer before we get to Cage Crawl, which I really enjoy.

Finally back on level ground and we were running alongside a river before doubling back and crossing through the river. We soon came upon the Boa Constricter which is always easy to slide down but tricky to inch up the upward pipe, as its really slick. Then a run past the finish and onto Walk the Plank, which I was really aiming to cannonball into but when I finally got up to the platform, I was too tired to jump up and just dropped into the water, when I climbed out of the water I felt really refreshed and could probably have done the cannonball but I don't think I'd have been allowed to do it again.

Then a short run back to the finish line, where I squatted unable to psyche myself up to complete the Electroshock Therapy, until two blokes arrived asking how I was, they said "come on, we'll all go through together", this gave me the push I needed and I forced myself through, which I'm glad I did.

All in all, it was another excellent event, though I did miss the Underwater Tunnels and the Island Hopping obstacles.