Monday, 15 May 2017

Europe's Toughest Mudder

As soon as this event was released I signed up, thinking I should manage this without too many issues, I know that I should have been training but a combination of new and old injuries ensured I did no training. As the day approached I didn't feel nervous about what I was about to undertake even on the journey down to the site, I still didn't feel anything negative, I guess I just thought it would be like a regular event just during the night which was a big mistake.

The US Toughest events had been two separate loops with 10 obstacles on each, which changed from one to the other during the middle of the event, the Euro Toughest would change this by having a single loop, which we were told would have obstacles start at various points during the event, I'm not sure if we were told they would take them off during the night but that seemed to be the consensus, which didn't happen so after every obstacle had opened they stated open all through the event, with the exception of electroshock, which I'm glad didn't open at all.

I'd managed to get space near to the rest of Team Short Shorts, with the brilliant Marc as pit crew. I decided to start in my wet-suit but only up to my waist as the sprint lap would have only a couple of obstacles open so I didn't need to be protected form the cold, I did pull it on but unzipped for kiss of mud which had a water pit, and left it on for the rest of the lap. Thankfully the big water obstacles were closed but the new hero walls t boned obstacle was open, this one I managed solo, and quite enjoyed, the grab ledge and strangely even though I was leaning back and pushing against the wall didn't feel unsafe doing so.

As I approached the four mile marker Jon Albon passed by with some words of encouragement, which was nice but I realised he was onto his ninth mile at the point, which took me by surprise. I didn't wear a watch so had no idea of the time when on course, I did find out the time near the end but didn't believe it, as that felt quite slow. After crossing the finish line at 1:31:14 I realised that was a slow 5 miles I'd ran/walked.

I decided upon a burrito and drink of water which I'd not brought anywhere near enough of, then back out for my second lap, I tried to run but couldn't get my legs to keep moving like that so just continued walking on. A few obstacles still weren't open but arctic enema was, so down the tube I went, the wet-suit kept me warm which was great, I had heard of other people who had no cold gear thinking it would be a regular event.

I kept plodding on, taking the penalty at Everest which even with the rope was beating a lot of people, when I saw someone at operation leap after being shocked I opted for the penalty. One of the rules was you had to touch an obstacle and fail, or complete if you were able, so I had to climb the Kong tower knowing I wouldn't get across before touching a ring and falling onto the crash mat, which was uncomfortable on my upper arm.

A burrito and a snickers with some water from Stuart, then I was back out on course, trying to run but having issues with the suit being so thick. king of swingers was open this time with a camera crew at the obstacle, I was aiming to give a thumbs up after jumping and turning to camera but I managed to jump/fall into the water, the penalty was really long for this obstacle, with quite a few of the other entrants doing it. before hitting the water station that I was in need of.

Stuart managed to catch me up and we chatted and plodded on, with only the t boned hero walls proving to be an issue this time, I just couldn't get myself up and over, I had nothing left, so Stuart went with me for the penalty loop.

I reached mud mile after promising myself I wouldn't pee in my suit and as soon as I hit the water my bladder decided that it was time to let go. I should have just loosed my wet-suit and had a pee. I got back to the pit and it was 6:40 so I said that if it had been 6:00 I wold have tried for another lap but knew I wouldn't have enough time to get round so called it a day and started to get changed. I discovered a hole in my wet sock that I had made with my toenail, which would explain why my foot was cold in water,


Looking back on the event, if I had gone with a thinner wet-suit, or chosen the top half over a full wet-suit, I might have been quicker getting round each lap but the cold may have proved an issue, either way if I take part next year I might give this option a try, as I'd like to have got to the twenty five miles, I should also not under estimate how difficult it is running at night, though all said and done, I thoroughly enjoyed taking part and would do it again.