When I woke up on race day I was feeling pretty good. I wasn’t feeling ill or carrying any injuries so it was a good start compared to some of the previous events. Admittedly after all of the illness that I’ve had since I started my year of challenges and the days lost in training I’m still way behind where I thought I would be and where I wanted to be. All that said I was feeling much better about the Water Wipeout than I had about any of the previous events. The only reservations that I had going into it concerned the water aspect. As I’m not the world’s greatest swimmer I was a bit concerned about the cold water shock (having experienced it at the Endurer Dash) and also the 200m down the rapids as it would be a bit different from being in a calm pool!
It was an early start to the day so that I could get to Nottingham and I was in high spirits as I started the drive down. Unfortunately due to work that was going on at home, my supporters weren’t going to be with me but at least I was going to have some company as Simon was also taking part. The drive down was nice and relaxing as the roads weren’t too busy and I made good time in getting to the National Watersports Centre and was soon parked up. I headed off to register and then sorted my kit out as I waited for Simon to arrive and watched as the first of the finishers started to troop past.
After Simon arrived we made our way to the warm up and then it was time for the off! I started off with a jog as we set off together and we agreed that Simon would then go at his own pace rather than me holding him back. I made it over the first two sets of hurdles without too much difficulty and then through the zig zag. I’d already decided by now that I would do running/walking intervals so that I wouldn’t be too tired for any of the obstacles as there were 34 to tackle over the 5km course. After the zig zag it was time for the first real test which was a 100m swim in the estuary. We had been told prior to the start that it was 20 degrees in the water but it still felt cold as I made my way in but thankfully it didn’t take my breath away completely like it had at the Endurer Dash and I soon made my way through the 100m and then back out of the water. It was hard going due to the number of people in front of me which meant it was slow going at times but I got through it and was feeling much better about the whole thing as I climbed up the bank and out of the water.
As I continued down the banking it was then time for some obstacles as I climbed over the vertical walls, crawled under the cargo net and then navigated through the over and under. I was feeling good and was keeping a nice pace. It was then time to get a bit muddier going through Swan lake and then the mud trenches. I made my way through the spiders web and then carefully through the tyres before heading to the first water slide. After climbing up to the top I let go and sped into the water. I completely misjudged when to breath and managed to get a mouthful of water which was quickly spat out before I started the 30m swim across to the cargo net crawl.
When I’d got over the cargo net and back down the other side it was time to get dirty again with the mud crawl before another cargo net climb and then I negotiated my way through the tyres. The obstacles were coming thick and fast now with a vertical wall, some balance beams, another mud crawl. This was followed by an obstacle called boxed in which proved to be particularly true for the larger ones among us as it was a bit of a tight squeeze to get through the boxes and out of the otherside. It was then back over some more tyres, through a commando crawl and then over the zig zag balance beams before making my way along the river bank to the part I was dreading most – the ‘Wild Rivers – Moving Water Swim!’.
It was apparently a first for an obstacle course race in the UK and was taking place in the canoe course at the centre. As I waited to get my buoyancy aid I was watching people take on the swim and it soon came round to be my turn. I jumped in and off I went down the rapids. I was really surprised as I really enjoyed it and wanted to do it again! I almost got stuck at one point as I managed to lose the current and was stuck in standing water but swam my way back out to get back on course. As soon as I got out of the water it was back down the banking and on to more obstacles and the final push for the finish. After another cargo net climb it was the inclined walls which despite my best efforts I can’t get over. I had more success on the climbing zone as I managed to stay out of the water and make it across the climbing wall despite having a couple of slips along the way but the upper body training I had been doing must have worked as I managed to hang on until I could get my footing again. A bit further on it was the Jacobs ladder, which seems to get easier each time I do it, and then back into the water for the monkey bars which weren’t very successful. I really struggled to get out of the water and onto the pontoon which after having to use my arms to pull myself out meant that I was feeling the pace and couldn’t hold on across the bars. Then it was back in the water to get back to dry land. There was another inclined wall before the last group of obstacles.
We then had to make it up a slippery slope with the help of a rope to get to the tunnels which would then send you down the slope and into the final swim before the finish. Getting up the avalanche was hard work as I couldn’t get any grip and had to haul myself up with my arms. I was then glad of the slide to get back down even though the tunnel wasn’t very wide and then it was into the water for the last time. After the 30m swim there was a final run to the final commando crawl and then it was up the hill to the finish. Thoughts of a doing the 10km version had gone over the last couple of obstacles as they really took it out of me so I went up to the finish to collect the spoils of completion – a medal and a bottle of well-earned water!
It was all over and I had done it. I felt really good at the finish and could definitely feel the benefit getting some training in before an event as it made it easier. I still pushed myself through it and even though it was hard hopefully it will start to get easier as my fitness builds up. The course was really good and I even enjoyed the water obstacles which I didn’t think I would. I was also glad that I’d been able to do it on my own and Simon could enjoy running his own race. It’s now time to press on as it’s only a week until Total Warrior which is more than twice the distance so I’ll have to crack on with my training. Thanks to everyone who supported me through it with their sponsorship or messages of good luck. Special thanks also go to the nice lady at the event who found £5 and gave it to us for our fundraising as we were wearing our Do It For Dan tshirts. It was a lovely gesture especially from someone we didn’t know.
Back to training after a day off for Father’s Day and then on to Total Warrior for an even harder challenge. Can I do it? Of course I can and I’m starting to get some confidence after having a few weeks of being illness free. It’s going to be tough going from here to the finish but I’m confident that if I can stay healthy then it will all be fine. If you want to help with the fundraising have a look at our sponsor page for further details.
Onwards and upwards