Friday, 27 November 2015

Tough Mudder 25 - London South

In a slight change to the usual proceedings, camping was at the top of the hill above matterly bowl so there was no line of site for the scanners to connect to the servers so we couldn't pick up entry bibs on the Friday night, so it meant a trip down to the main arena on the Saturday morning to wait for them to open at 7, which was a pain on the walk back to the campsite to store id.
I needed to be in the 8 o'clock wave to collect an unofficial 25x headband or rather I thought I did, turns out they were handed out in the earlier wave, so I chatted to Gil for a bit till John, Chloé, Dan, Martyn, Paul, Dean and Will jumped into the start area for the 8:20 wave. So I got to hear Gil do his start line talk twice in 20 minutes.
We set off and I managed to snag one of the smoke grenades and ran with that for a bit, which was fun, the first obstacle we hit was killa gorilla that I hadn't noticed till later in the course, was laid out to show the letters TM, which I liked. We continued over bale bonds and into the first forest section for the return of tyre carry and in the distance we could see king of the swingers, which I thought was next but we turned off and hit Arctic enema, which had hardly any ice in it, though the weather was quite warm, we picked one that had no working camera, so no photos again.
As we passed the starting pen John and I ran over to where Gil was doing the start line talk, for a quick hello and away, John went for the pantsing option. On the approach to sewer rat I spotted Viv and Emy walking Yoko, which was hilarious to see and also caused some controversy on one of the faceboom groups. After we left sewer rat the sun was behind the tree line so it felt cold, Chloé started to really feel it. We started to lose Martyn, Paul and the others but kept pushing on to keep warm by devils beard they were right behind.
As we ran past some areas used for storing stuff, I spotted part of the slide from fire in your hole, which was nice to see although it being on course would have been better. Skidmarked didn't cause me too many problems, though I was being extra careful getting over. Then through a field of corn before hitting a landscape feature turned into an obstacle, moto mayhem which was part of a motocross track, Chloé started to feel really out of breath, so we waited a few minutes and made it up one of the hills and she went to see the ambulance crew to get some help, I spoke to someone sitting in an ATV who had hurt their shoulder and sadly ended up retiring.
Chloé got to use an inhaler which was immediately relieving and we continued to pyramid scheme which had no falling issues this time, I did help someone up who pressed on my back causing my ribs to press into the surface and me to help in pain. Martyn had caught us at that point and we all wandered over to liberator, where Dean got himself over to cheers from John and me.
As we approached hero carry you could see the whole event area and I remembered running this way two years ago when I got my fastest time for an event which was also a really warm day. After mud mile I had the usual cleaning out the shoes and onto mineshafted, which was a slide down a pipe into a darkened pit you climbed out of, the slide down sounded like running water, it was so much fun John and I did it again, I managed to find a pound which was nice. John's knee started to give him problems so we continued walking and jogging.
After hero walls where a big bloke decided to push down on my shoulders to get over nearly breaking my back, we came upon lumberjacked, which was a tree suspended on three crossed log braces, which had you being helped over, or as I found easier, using the middle one to pull myself up and over.
Another killa gorilla which was similar to London South in 2013 but pretty tiring at this point, then king of the swingers, which like funky monkey in Cirencester, my hands were dry, so I had high hopes for hitting the bell, I climbed the ladder and a bloke was trying to dry his hands for another go, thankfully he let me slip ahead and I got the bell with a resounding clank, back over mud mile where Dan managed to get covered in mud from head to toe and through cry baby which wasn't that strong so I didn't start to lose all my body heat, it did chill my back but it felt alright.
We got over balls to the wall and over the top over sewer rat and jogged onto Everest, I gave myself a couple of attempts before moving on, first one I slid back down staying on my feet, the second time I slipped and landed heavily on my right side where I impacted feeling it in the bone of my arse, so decided that was it. John went round the back to help people over and we went to headrush which was a mystery obstacle, starting by holding a pole and putting your feet on one, you slowly inch your way along till your feet are in the air and your hands are on the ground before reversing it, very hard on the arms but I managed to get over it. It left me so tired that I almost didn't go through electroshock but I was in the right head space and told myself it was an anniversary event so I had to go through, so I pushed myself through, I managed to get part way through before taking a belt which had me on my knees, I stood up and inched my way forward when some guy ran through and I got another belt and crawled the rest of the way out, happy I'd pushed myself through. It was also amusing watching Dom walk through electroshock eating a pasty or something.
After collecting a headband I made a quick phone call home, ate some energy beans and cleaned out my shoes of the little bits of grit at the rinse station and chatting to another finisher before heading for the start line, skipping the warm up for a second time. As a I stood there mud was dropping off me and first timers were looking at me slightly bemused. I managed to grab another smoke bomb and ran with it for a while. After about 1 mile I started to feel tired but pressed on, running where I could and walking for a little while. I kept giving first timers advice on making arctic enema easier and this time it had ice in the back part of it, which was great. There was no one in the starting pen so I didn't pop to see Gil this time.
I managed to get a few more rungs up funky monkey but started to feel tired and ended up swimming. By devils beard I was walking more than running but still moving forward. Got some help from another solo runner for hold your wood and we chatted for a bit. Then pyramid scheme really tired me out but I got up and helped quite a few others over before continuing on. Carried and got carried at hero carry which was nice as recently I've mainly carried others. Once I got to hero walls I was drawing on inner strength and managed the first wall but grabbed the support for the second, utterly wiped out, needing help to get over.
I used the same technique for lumberjacked but a volunteer was on the second one so I needed help to get over. Walked backwards up the hills of killa gorilla 2, which was easier and missed the bell for king of the swingers.
The sun was starting to be covered by clouds so I skipped mud mile and cry baby as I wasn't in the mood for getting up to the eyes again.
There was an ambulance at balls to the wall as the rope was so slick with mud, it turns out they'd broken an ankle, so the rope was out of use which made climbing up difficult due to the awkward position of my legs. I skipped Everest as there was a big queue and I met John who was taking photos, then headed for the finish for my second headband and cider.
At the legionnaire headband tent they weren't giving out headbands to those who already had on plus they mentioned I was already in the next banding so I accepted it as I already have 14 of them and others should get their first. Then back up to the campsite for a shower and bite to eat, got chatting to Martyn who wanted to do a second lap but when helping on Everest, someone twisted his arm going back down and after going to the medical tent to see how Dean was doing, had himself checked out and it turns out he had a part dislocated shoulder, so decided against another lap, we headed to the main arena to watch a bit of the England Wales rugby match before having an early night ready for Sunday.