The day had come about a little too soon for my liking. After the Endurer Dash it was all too obvious that I wasn’t really in the shape that I had hoped I would be for the start of the mud runs and it had proved to be much harder than I was expecting. I had to up my game for the Wild Thing Mud Run as I was going to be on my own through the event and the obstacles looked much harder than at the Endurer Dash. After getting over the struggles that followed the Endurer Dash training had been going well until a couple of days before when I had started to feel like I was coming down with a cold. Unfortunately as race day loomed, the effects seem to get worse and by Friday night I was really struggling. A couple of days with little sleep combined with a cough, wheezing and difficulty breathing didn’t look like the ideal way to start a challenging mud run. I rested up as best I could on Friday night and hoped for the best. It didn’t look that likely that I would make the start, never mind the finish.
I woke up on race day feeling worse than when I had gone to bed. I don’t think this was helped by the usual morning dry mouth and it was taking me some time to come round. When I woke up it didn’t seem like a good idea to try and push myself today. It didn’t seem like the risk of making things any worse was worth it along with putting future events at risk compared to completing this one. As time wore on though I couldn’t face failing so early in the challenges so decided that I would at the very least start the race. When I went upstairs to pack my kit I was really struggling to breathe by the time I made it to the top but I had made my mind up and was going for it. We packed up the car and headed off. Fortunately as I wasn’t driving I made good use of the journey and used it to get some much needed sleep. After parking up and heading down to register it was time to get ready for the start.
The warm up started and as I tried to keep up it was obvious that I was going to have to take a conservative approach to the race in order to get as far as I could. I had already decided that I was going to avoid the open water swim as the cold water shock would be a step too far given how I was feeling but apart from that I was going to make it over the obstacles and to the end of the course. I’d been given a lift by some of the support I’d received on my way to the race which had given me even more drive to get round. With a bang, the warmup finished and smoke started as the race began. It was time to see how far I could get.
The race started with hay bale walls which I soon made it over along with the hurdles. I was already at the back of the wave that had started with me but was just trying to keep going at a steady pace and to keep moving. After the quick steps through the tyres if was on to the commando crawl which I made it through without any drama. That was 4 obstacles down and only 30 more to go! The race then crossed the river and then it was a slog uphill with the rope climb. By the time I made it to the top I was struggling for breath but was determined to keep moving. One of the mistakes I had made at the Endurer Dash was to keep stopping which had made it harder in the long run so today I wasn’t going to stop if I could help it. The pace slowed even more towards the top of the hill but I kept ploughing on and over
the log jam. Next up was the cargo net which I soon made it over and then there were more log jams to come which were tackled with increasing confidence. I felt like I was starting to get the hang of
the obstacles which was good when we came up to the vertical walls which I made it over much easier than I had at the Endurer Dash.
I seemed to making good progress and was keeping up with the same group of people despite the fact that I wasn’t running but I just kept myself moving. The next obstacle was the climbing zone which I was pleased to make it across. I thought I would struggle with holding myself up on the wall but managed to make it across and then crawled my way under the barbed wire helping a few others on the way. It was starting to get a bit more boggy on some of the obstacles but the footing otherwise was good which was definitely helping compared to the Endurer Dash as I wasn’t expending as much energy to try and stay upright and even though the terrain wasn’t flat it wasn’t as steep which meant I was able to keep moving. The obstacles were coming and going including more crawling through mud, more logs and going over and under ropes and spiders webs. The next challenging obstacle was the inclined walls which was just over the half way point in terms of obstacle numbers. After helping some ladies over who were raising funds for Mind, I managed to drag myself over with a helping hand from a kind sole behind me. It was then back into the mud for another commando crawl before heading across the river and into the swamps!
It was hard going through the swamp sections especially when they threw in some ropes for you to get over and under. Its energy sapping dragging your feet through the swamp and how anyone can run through it is beyond me. We all helped each other through and there were a couple of times when we all chipped in to drag someone out who had got stuck and couldn’t get out. When I finally emerged from the swamp it was time for a drink and then over the Jacob’s ladder and a few other obstacles before I missed out the water slide and the open water swim. After walking around the edge it was back up hill to the avalanche and cresta run. When I got to the top of the tube I didn’t think I’d get through it but I hurled myself down and slid down the hill. As I built up speed through the water cannon I didn’t think I’d stop when the mat ran out but the grass soon slowed me down and then it was the final stretch to bring it home over the last few walls. I didn’t make it over the fire starter as I didn’t have the energy to get up enough speed to make it over but after the last vertical wall it was the final stretch down to the finish line where I picked up my medal. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so elated to pick up a medal before but I couldn’t wait to sit down and recover.
It was finally all over and I had done it. If you’d asked me when I woke up if I thought I could do it I would have said no. There are times when you can amaze yourself with sheer stubbornness and will and I did that by getting to the finish. Given how I felt I really enjoyed the course and the obstacles and was glad that I hadn’t missed out on it. I’d like to thank Elaine for getting me to the start and for making sure I didn’t give up and I’d also like to thank all of the people who sent messages of support as they helped me get through. Hopefully Dan was proud of the effort and I can reflect all of the hardwork through the sponsor money raised.
As soon as I feel better, it’s back to training as the next event gets even tougher – that’s why they’re called Tough Mudders! As it’s nearly 4 times as long as the Wild Thing Mud run I need to get
my running shoes on and be fit enough to run large sections of it otherwise it could take me all weekend!
At least some of the family got some running in today!