Monday, 17 December 2012

Tough Mudder: The Day I Conquered Everest

Apologies it has been a few weeks (again) since my last post. I'm sure you've all been fraught with concern for my well being, but I am pleased to confirm I did survive Tough Mudder.

Not only did I survive. I absolutely loved it. Never before have I felt so proud and such a sense of achievement in either my personal or professional life. And I'm already planning my next challenge.

But first, let me share with you ,my experience of the magical day I earned that coveted orange headband.

The temperature had been fairly mild (10-12C) in the weeks leading up to the 17th November, but my biggest fear had always been the potential cold, more so than any of the obstacles (ok, so the electric shock and ice bath were slightly nervewracking too). On the Saturday morning of the North-West Tough Mudder UK I woke up at 6am to a frost and an outside temperature of no more than 7C.

The first challenge I had to face was actually getting into the venue. The traffic and entrance system into Chelmondsey Hall was an absolute joke, and shattered my nerves. Yes that's my excuse for peeing in between two cars in a pub car park, but I challenge anyone to queue in traffic for an hour and a half whilst wearing compression leggings and needing the loo. I'd like to add at this point that the pub was closed. Credit where it's due though, despite missing my start time because of the queues, I was still allowed to participate - it appears the start time is merely to stagger the crowds rather than be a fixed time.

My best friend had dropped out due to injury, and her friend was stuck well behind me in traffic so I decided to get stuck in and start alone. At this point I'd like to thank the woman I spoke to in the queue for the portaloos that told me I was crazy for doing it on my own. Definitely helped the nerves.

Reality kicks in with what I'm about to do...
  So I was off. But only after having cleared a 10ft wall into the holding pen, jumped up and down and shouted a lot and realised that yes, in fact, i was the only person stupid enough to even be here on my own.

Regulars on my blog may be more used to reading about mud face masks and what I wore on a particular day, so I hope this post doesn't disappoint.

As I mentioned before, I was extremely nervous about the unknown element of the cold, so I'd frequented the TM forums to swat up on hints and tips for the obstacles as well as what kit I'd need. I didn't want to invest in a wet suit so opted for the recommendation of Under Armour clothing. I wore the compression base layer top and leggings in addition to the Cold Gear top and leggings (suitable for temperatures below 13C), so I was hopefuly the double layering would keep me warm enough. Accessories included my weight lifting gloves for the gym and a neoprene swimming headband. The clothing was all excellent quality and came with glowing reviews on every website I looked at. I also looked like a cross between a ninja and a cat burglar - what more could a girl want?

Outfit of the Day ;)

After the first mile, and upon reaching the pleasantly titled obstable "Arctic Enema", my survival instincts had kicked in and I realised I was in no way going to be physically let along mentally strong enough to make it round the course alone. A casual exchange of words with the guy behind me ("not looking forward to this one, if i get stuck, please help me out") turned out to be a master stroke and from then on I was adopted by my new Scottish team mates.

You can read Part Two of Tough Mudder: The Day I Conquered Everest to find out how I got on with the course, whether my clothing stood up to the cold, and some videos of me in action here.


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