Anyway, read here as I go on and on about how me and the team conquered The Tough Mudder, Midlands 2015.
As you all know that since October last year, under impulse I decided to participate with my band of bros to join them on their 2nd Tough Mudder Challenge (it was mine, Richard and Jack's first time). Over this long period of time, I've been filled with a swirling pool of emotions and I've been through a lot. The whole training and strict routine as well as improvement has been hard on me but all for the better. I've been excited, scared, doubtful, determined and slightly courageous all this time and on that day, I was filled with determination, strength and enthusiasm/ teamwork spirit because all my hard training had really paid off and helped me keep pace with the others. I was most worried all this time about falling behind from the others and a couple obstacles as well as my Crohns, but I conquered them all (except a couple obstacles, of course).
Anyway, on Friday 29th May, the day started off with Thunder and a heavy rainfall before I joined Richard, Bradley and Ryan in Richard's car all the way up north to Burton (near Derby where Download Festival is) at around 1 in the afternoon.
Our long roadtrip was full of blazing speeds (thanks Richard, I say sarcastically) and we made a stop at Cobham for food at this big service area which was almost like an Airport Mall and got some food at Starbucks.
We were heading to Burton because we were all staying at Oli's Dads house which was amazing with 3 floors, a conservatory and generous hospitality from Tim and Julie.
They both emitted strong enthusiasm and belief in us all, both having served/ still serving the British Armed Forces and just giving me some tips and reminding us all to have fun, which we did.
That lovely evening (once Cathy and Lewis arrived a little later and we met Jack first time at the house), we all did the right thing and ordered Dominoes, snacks from Sainsbury's and watched the interesting Action, Sci-Fi film, CHAPPiE which I actually enjoyed (like the rest of Neil Blomkamp's films) despite the mixed reviews everyone's been giving it. So instead of staying up till stupid o'clock, we all fell asleep near 10.30 and set alarms for 8.00 tomorrow morning and prepare ourselves for an eventful day tomorrow...
Waking up to a glorious sunrise with a small raincloud over the house was an interesting way to wake up, shame it was 5 in the morning and in the conservatory, no matter, I fell asleep again before a few of us got up at 7.30. We had an excellent breakfast of Pasta with Cheese (best recommended) and soon we all had our gear on, tickets, IDs, waivers and spare clothing before heading off at 8 for a 1.5hour jouney to Northamptonshire on a good sunny/ cloudy day.
I was sweating and scared a little in the back of my head but nothing that Lewis and Cathy couldn't help and I too began to feel the excitement take over and I believed that today was going to be an incredible day. We did have a small problem with discovering that the postcode we were using was different to the carpark area which was no problem and we notified the others in their cars.
After parking in a huge field, most of us made our way to the area to sign in whilst waiting for Ryan, Richard, Jack and Bradley. After entering and handing over our tickets and waivers, we each got our Paper Number and wrote our numbers on our arms (like we were going into Prison, sorry that a dark joke!) Once we were all present and stretched, we headed to the Starting Line area and got hyped and pumped up thanks to our 2 hype men and the 2 fitness instructors.
On here, I decided to use a lot of picture examples from The Tough Mudder Midlands Facebook Page seeing as the pictures from my friend's cameras are either not coming through or only they couldn't make it to every obstacle/ moment.
The one's with The Tough Mudder Watermark are basically the event pictures and not mine.
plus we climbed through a tube and fell into a pool of more muddy water 3. Mystery Obstacle and also we crawling through mud under a huge bag of water 4. Birth Canal.
5. Creek Crusade #1 and 6. Creek Crusade #2 were the same as wallowing through a cold stream in the forest and using rope to drag ourselves out whilst trying not to slip over in the mud (luckily we didn't but the same can't be said for others that day) haha.
After making it out the Forest and back into the daylight (whilst we were still freezing after being in water 3 times already) we made it back onto the open trail and saw the spectators again and our friends/ family.
7. Island Hopping was funny to attempt as we all tried and failed and landed into water, again haha.Oh well, least we tried and we either rushed through it or got close before slipping off the blocks which were rocking about in the water (even Tim's advice was smart but too much for us to follow through with.
After that we came to a net which we had to crawl under which was 8. Devil's Beard (interesting title) which had a haybale in the middle for us to climb over (we looked like animals that had been caught in a net) but thanks to the spirit of Camaraderie and I like being a good sport, I lifted the net up to help my team mates and others as well as helping people throughout the day including climbing up walls, I was worried for a second that they would be too much for me and pull me back over to do the obstacle again, luckily I held on tight and helped out perfectly for my mates and other people whilst encouraging people like a good lad.
|Picture from Tough Mudder Website|
- London South Location
|Picture from Tough Mudder Website|
- London South Location
|Well Done, Richard!|
The next one was where I cut myself sadly thanks to the Muddy hills which were actually rock coated in Mustard coloured Mud and looked like a Mountain/ Motorcross Bike Hills, this was 11. Mud Mile #1. I tried staying with the guys but I hurried through and as I slid down the rock, I felt a painful prick in my right hand as I landed in water and coated my shoes, legs and shorts.
I looked at my right hand and saw blood all over so I hurried through and got some water mud in my face, lovely and made my way to the Medic next to Julie and Tim.
|The guys were marking each other|
We began warming up a little as we carried on and after passing the 6Miles marking, we came to 12. Hero Carry. How I managed to carry Richard was a real shocker and confidence booster at the same time because it showed how really strong I have become. Firstly half way through the obstacle, he carried me and I had some fun by quoting Yoda "Do. Or do not. There is no try." and "Fear is the path to the dark side…fear leads to anger…anger leads to hate…hate leads to suffering." which made Richard laugh a little but when it got to the half way point (think it was 50 meters) it was my turn. I walked slowly whilst carrying him piggy back and slowly but surely I made it without stopping or falling over in the slippery mud, how?!
Can't really remember or understand 13. Killa Gorilla because it was basically a trail in the Forest with rubbish, tree branches and rocks in the mud for us to avoid and some deep ditches for us to jump over. Nothing really special or tough, it was just jogging in the woods.
After jogging up a steep hill shortly out of the Forest and back to a wide open hill, we saw another huge wall which everyone needed some help/ support with, it was 14. Hero Walls.
These 10-foot original walls I'm guessing thanks to the printed on Help For Heroes logo on these walls was like the other walls for me, I just needed a little boost to help this Hobbit up and over and then I stayed on the other side to help some others up and over, it felt really amazing and rewarding to help others and stick around for teamwork seeing as we're all in this together instead of it being a race for glory. I did go to the Medic Area to get my bandaged up hand sorted again as the clean foil had come off so they put a new one on and this time Sellotaped it up.
mountain with a pickaxe mattock (obviously not). Even the guys were surprised as to how fast I did it (guess I really amy strong after all) and at the top, I dropped back down the pegs for others to use. People saw ways around it by ascending faster by ignoring a couple slots (may seem like cheating) but it's what everyone else was doing instead of slotting both in-line and climbing up and then trying to continue the pattern quickly.
Annoyingly, we saw that round the corner from the edge of the Forest for good, we had a quick drink of Volvic water and a piece of a Carrot 9Bar (they were delicious) and saw that along the road that we were coming back to 16. Mud Mile #2, sigh. I don't mean to sound like a wimp but due to my right hand, I figured it was best to skip it as I didn't want to maybe get another cut anywhere else and jeoporadise my chances of finishing, so I jogged along it but stayed to cheer my friends on and watch them get dirty again in the filthy mud haha.
This next one helped us all get clean and cold again as it looked like an epic send off (like something from Total Wipeout or Tarzan) as well had to swing from a ledge using a handle pole into a huge pool of water in 18. King Of The Swingers. I enjoyed that one and wish I had: a) been able to do a flip or something after letting go and b) had a good shot of me doing it, Oh Well you can't get em all.
So now that we were all feeling cold and wet again and doing our best to cope with the wind blowing at us harshly, we entered back to the wide open hills and could hear the speakers blazing for the announcer on the microphone meaning we weren't far from finishing but next up was 19. Kiss Of Mud 2.0 (guess what this one involved haha). This time I had to get up close and personal with the sloppy, thick mud (I'm so relieved that I didn't get any in my mouth or eyes), we all had to crawl under barbed wire and gently and slowly climb over a hay bale whilst avoiding the sharp wire overhead.
Up next was an impossible one for us seeing as our knees were aching and bodies shivering that we had no chance of completing it, it was 20. Funky Monkey 2.0. I've never been a fan of the monkey bars at playgrounds so seeing as this one was slippery and there was water below us, it was inevitable so we all did the same and just jumped in and swam to the other side (it's way better to see for real that this obstacle/ this time that the bars weren't rotating, that's just too much and makes me wanna yell out "Oh Come On!" or "You gotta be kidding me"! I mean we would have had to climb up using the ladder grips and then quickly grab onto a pole and continue, uh no thank you.
Now being even colder than before and soaking wet, we did a quick lap round the field and came to a strong eye watering area filled with gas and a long queue, it was now time for the painful 21. Cry Baby.
Because my bandage had become wet twice, it was loose again and became exposed to the deadly tear gas and sting like f**k so I though it would be best to skip this one out too instead of crawling blind through that long box. So I got myself sorted AGAIN with a plaster, clean foil and sellotape (these sound like materials for kidnapping haha) whilst the others crawled like mad through that painful gas (and it wasn't even one of my farts hahaha).
So our last and final obstacle for this intense challenge was a choice between two which were 23. Dead Ringer or 24. Electroshock Therapy!Dead Ringer was basically like the obstacle in Ninja Warrior on Sky1 which has always looked jaw dropping and difficult to even think about somehow accomplishing because one false move and you slip off plus you have to hang for a while whilst trying to slot the hoops over the pegs to stay up high (like an intense version of Assassin's Creed or Uncharted climbing and shifting across a ledge). Lewis went for that one and did his best but it wasn't enough as we were all so exhausted.
The rest of us took on Electroshock Therapy. This one along with Arctic Enema and Everest were all the scariest things to not look forward to because they looked painfully impossible to me. But after a quick deep breath and shouting in my head "You Can Do This!" repeatedly, I charged through the orange cables full of supposedly hundreds/ thousands of electrical volts and got hit I think 4-6 times.
To make it even more painfully challenging, we had to run through thick mud and also jump over a hay bale which would mean jumping up into the cables and getting stung even more (F***s sake haha).
As Paul Finch said in American Pie: The Reunion "It hurt like a b**ch" and it did, lots of people all had ideas of what it feels like, Ed from work said "It's like getting punched where your stung", others said "It's like getting jabbed by needles" and I thought it would be devastating like getting stuck in the mud and being electrocuted like a cartoon character. That's quite over exaggerated right since no one wants anyone to die on this event and I always thought and still tell people for fun what it was like running through whilst yelling Ow in pain like I was a cartoon like Tom Cat from Tom & Jerry or something. I find it hard to descibe myself since I ran through it as quickly as I could, I think it felt like both descriptions but not as painful as you'd think (I don't know if it's the adrenaline that fired me up) but
I think it all matters on how strong you are against electric shocks which must be 5 or possibly 10x worse than normal.
But if I can do it, then surely it'll motivate you into believing in yourself too, right?!
So our victory had us greeted by staff at the Finish Line with Orange Tough Mudder 2015 Headbands and a bag with 2 9Bars and a bottle of Volvic water plus we had to go to the stall near the side to pick up a Kinstone Press Cider and pick out our size T-shirt saying Tough Mudder Midlands 2015 FINISHER!
That proud moment where we all had our group photo taken (picture at the very top) was the split-second moment where I realised I had done it. I had done the most challenging task of my life and I conquered some fears and barriers and even got dirty with mud and was slightly okay with it all.
I had to say "Thank you anyway" and just thought F**k this since that Medic back then had my details anyway and it wasn't anything serious or life-changing and these people were pretty useless so there was no point digging any deeper into it. Best option was for us all to head back home already!
Before leaving, I decided to strip off my soggy muddy gear and wrap myself in my towel and just sit in that. Our 2 hour long return journey felt longer thanks to the slow movement getting out of the Field and getting back on the main roads to the motorway to go back to Olivers. Glad I had Cathy (Lewis was fast asleep) driving us back safely.Soon as we got in, turns out that Richard had left already with Brad and Ryan to go back home, we'll celebrate with them in June. Before having a well deserved Shower, I turned on my phone and saw 10 Missed Calls from Mum and Dad who were in Corfu on this day till my birthday and 4 Text Messages from them and 3 Missed Calls from Rebecca, woops. So I made some amazing phone calls full of proud enthusiasm and a reassuring story of my cut and the day in general.
Lewis and I bought another Dominoes Pizza and soon we all found ourselves going to sleep near 10.30pm, I always imagined everyone would party like I said before like it's a huge celebration or like it's 1999, guess there will be future partying to do!
The following day, we all woke up and had some fun including playing Splatoon on the Nintendo Wii U which was really fun and started to encourage me to purchase one someday (though that depends on what Nintendo have to offer at E3 and what new games espeically the next Legend Of Zelda will be featured
Plus on the way home in the car, Cathy introduced me to a great American hard rock band called Halestorm and after hearing the song The Misery, I'm now hooked on this band.
And she also showed me this Awesome POP boy band called I FIGHT DRAGONS who play 8-bit/ Gameboy Music in the songs. I've been hooked on them to this day and think they are one of the best bands to have ever been introduced to thanks to their outstanding and nostalgic style like listening to a Punk/ Rock Band with a Gameboy playing in the system.
We all headed with Cathy for home at 2.30pm and thanked Oli and Julie for having us and I thanked them for believing in me (Tim had gone to work in the morning), I look forward to seeing them again sometime.
We had a long 4 hour journey home whilst dropping Jack off home in Reading. We ever popped over again to the Cobham Food Court that me and the guys went to on our journey up to Oli's.
I got in for 6.30pm and thanked Cathy and gave her £20 as a thank you for everything and said I'd see em both again soon and that this was an honour.
Funny enough, I popped home for a short while because on the way home, Amy had contacted me on the journey home and asked to go and see Man Up (the new Simon Pegg film) with her, which I did.
I really enjoyed it and it was quite funny and had a lot of cringe moments full of embarassment but a heart-warming ending that even got me and Amy in tears.
After driving her back home, we even shared a long hour chat in the car outside her place just talking which I rather enjoy doing with the right people. I'll be seeing her in June again either with the others for my late 22nd Go-Karting Party or at Amy's house with different people to celebrater her finishing University, this is gonna be good!
The reason this has taken so long to write up is that I've been waiting for the pictures from my friend's cameras as well as naming them appropriately plus I've been quite distracted since the event and it's been bothering me on not getting this done the day after I had it all planned out but at least it's finally up now for you all to read and to put my mind at ease.
As for the first week in June, well since the day of the Mudder, Mum and Dad went to Corfu again and are coming back on my birthday (6th June). So that week, Becca and I have been very responsible (no that wasn't in sarcasm haha). We spent the whole day on Monday doing washing and using the tumble dryer (it was my first time in a long time) as I have such a good mum. It's a bad, embarrassing and awkward thing to admit but at least I'm honest enough to also admit with pride that I was independant and along with the instructions from them and Becca that we kept it up all day till 10pm late evening. I was annoyed however in the back of my mind that I didn't use my day off on Monday whilst recuperating to write down this story sooner on AsperJosh but at least I did the right thing instead.
Haven't been able to cook this week as I have been getting up at 6.15am to feed the cats and then get ready for work and then call them in near 8pm and feed them at 10.30pm.
As for my birthday, well I was spoiled with the company of Rebecca and her friends Emily and her bf Ryan for the week as they slept over and treated me out on the 5th for a meal at Sussex Barn. So on the 6th, I opened up all my cards and got some very nice presents from Rebecca (love her!) and some Heroes from my neighbours who are like grandparents. So we all went to town for a drink at Pret a Mangr and then popped into GAME where Em helped me get a good discount on some 3DS games. I had so much fun and a warm-hearted feeling responding to all 120+ Facebook Birthday Posts from the best people that I am honoured to be friends/ family with (I even said Hello to some people I hadn't heard from in a year or few).
Plus I've come a long way from 3Miles in October to now 8.5Miles by mid May and now I've done 11Miles.
I think the best thing about it now all being over is besides now knowing that I CAN do challenges like this and I am now even motivated and encouraged to par-take in future challenges even if they are lower or maybe even longer than this.
But also I feel like a changed man, like this whole experience was another mile stone in my life and has now allowed me to begin new activities and follow through crucial life plans now that this major event has been accomplished. Now I can get back into saving my money for a MacBook Pro and talk with my Mac tech friends about Apps and Software to look into and most of all begin re-learning the fun of IT and start moving towards my future career which seems to be in the Designing area such as Website Design hopefully someday.
Plus I can FINALLY begin all the main series that everyone's up-to-date with like Game Of Thrones, The Walking Dead, The 100, Arrow, Gotham, Breaking Bad, The Flash, Daredevil etc, to be honest, I already know briefly the main events in GOT thanks to the people from work but it doesn't mean I won't give up on watching these incredible series just because I'm behind or know spoilers already. If anything, I want to be able to talk to all my friends as well as not feel restricted. I hope to not become a "Cough Potato" but more of an up-to-date person on series, I wonder which ones Mum will join me on seeing as we are up-to-date already on Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D, Downton Abbey and The Tomorrow People (though that one got cancelled sadly).
Also I can now focus my time on signing up to an Online Dating Website so that I can get out there more and meet people in a better way and get to know them first before the first encounter because to me, chatting to people and seeing our mutual interests actually helps me break the first "barrier" and will be much easier to feel comfortable around, this will be interesting and someday I'll know the unbelievable joy of having and loving someone special in my life as well as the mind numbing pleasure of a kiss (I mean as in a girlfriend kiss not the kiss like last time).
Plus I can continue the rest of the year with no worries, sure I'll still jog here and then but not so strict on twice a week as it was tough to juggle between Gym and Jogging in the week alone these past 8 months, I quite enjoy the moment when it's happening just not the awkward judgement if I can do it on this day with the way things are going, I'll probably Jog once a week or two as I can still keep fit and maintain stamina slightly whilst doing Gym normally in the week.
So, what a post/ story, right?! I hope this has maybe even motivated people like me to look at themselves and believe that we can be so much more, we just need to find our inner potential whether it's for an intense activity or something else which requires courage and strength.