Anyway, 2 weeks later after the run I'm here to talk about it al and include pictures as best I can.
In case you haven't ready my post on my first one. The Tough Mudder Challenge is a 10-12 Mile obstacle course run in the mud with thousands of others across the world (it originated in the US). It involves pushing yourself through muddy obstacles involving climbing, lifting and crawling through wet and muddy conditions. The best thing about it is that not only is it a dirty fun experience *giggidy* but it's not timed and everyone involved is willing to lend a helping hand but to also encourage you to finish (it's called Camaraderie). It means that your all in this together under good mutual trust like your part of a giant fellowship.
So this was mine and Richard's 2nd one whilst it was the 3rd one for Oli, Lewis and Bradley.
Anyway, I got a lift from Rich on Sat 24th September morning and went to Oli, Brad and Ryan's new house which they got back in May. It was good to see them all again since August for Cathy and Mills summer birthdays which are always highlights of my summer.
One of my oldest friends Liam was supposed to be joining us all again like the college days but he was ill a few days prior and couldn't make it in the end :(
I'd eaten Belvita Breakfast bars this morning since they release carbs over 4 hours. Everyone else was just getting ready and our friends were also signing their wavers (for safety reasons). Cathy, Lauren, Sophie and Oli's family were the spectators for the day and took pictures and videos of us (especially at Pyramid Scheme and Mud Mile).
We all made our way to Holmbush Farm, Faygate in separate cars and knew it was going to be hell on the A264 carriageway because the carpark entrance was moved to one of the fields but we didn't end up queuing for over 15 mins which is lucky and we saw Campbell who was working as Car Park director volunteer.
So once we were all marked and ready, we queued up for 11.45am and slowly pass along the long queue for entering the Warm Up Zone (15-20mins roughly was the duration for each round).
The Warm-Up Zone is always a fun hype of silly dancing, stretching and some inappropriate movement to get us all laughing whilst preparing for the long course ahead. There's a lot of shouting involved to build up the adrenaline just as we all kneel down to chant the Tough Mudder Pledge before running through the orange smoke and roaring with energy!
Obstacles 1 - 5
Our muddy journey began through the Forest leading towards Colgate (which is near a part of the forest that I'd been training in, for this years TM and the previous one). Our first obstacle *1. Bale Bonds* was easy as we jumped over and mounted smoothly through like the Horses at the Derby.
We ended up travelling down hill whilst on looking at the contraflow of very muddy participants heading back up towards the next obstacle behind us.
*3. Kiss Of Mud 2.0* was the one where I shredded and cut my knees up as we crawled across gritty mud paths under barbed wire. It feels fun and tough but it had a nasty affect on my legs later on and after everything, didn't realise how badly the red scars would be.
Everyone needs a boost up at the *4. Hero Walls*, a team mate boots one leg up the 9 foot wall and then follow the same tactics for Skid Marked where you help a brother/ sister up and over safely.
*5. Pyramid Scheme* is where we all stand on one another's shoulders with our backs against the high slope so that someone can run up then climb over the team like a human ladder so they can reach the top. If you're long enough, then the people at the top can hold you down so that people can pull themselves up by grabbing ankles and legs (which was my duty and honour once I made it up their first). This video here was captured by Sophie near the spectator's area as her and the others all laughed and watched us work together like everyone else did too!
Obstacles 6 - 10
The words *6. Arctic Enema* literally and physically send shivers down my spine. We had to climb a scaffolding and then 2 slide in at a time into a skip full of ice cubes and dirty water. Surprisingly, I didn't end up cursing like Happy Gilmore as much as last year and I think it's thanks to that Under Armour HeatGear Skin Tight Jersey I bought before I headed out to Africa. I managed to warm up a little faster in time as we all pushed on through shouting "Oh God" lol.
*7. Hold Your Wood 1.0* does sound like an innuendo *giggidy* but it was just picking up a huge chunk of a tree cylinder and walk around a small circle area off the main track, no buggy since my Deadlifts and Back muscles have gotten stronger this year.
I was most fearful to attempt *8. Mud Mile* again thanks to cutting my hand open last year. But this year, I had some tight black gloves on that I use at work, and they did the trick! No cuts or bruises this time and this was actually the time when our friendly spectators saw us again since Pyramid (annoyingly this TM had little spectator and photo opportunities). So Lauren video recorded us and we posed for a group shot whilst covered in mustard coloured mud which stained our clothes perfectly and allowed us to mark each other with hand prints like the Indians did.
Good thing no one was claustrophobic because next up after stopping at the Water Station briefly was *9. Sewer Rat*. Crawling through a plastic tube through a small hill was fun since we didn't end up getting shredded and some people were pushing people in front and sliding through like butter.
Obstacles 11 - 15
We had to boost each other up and over a chunky wooden tree pole which was called *11. Lumber Jacked*. It was really tough since the log was harder to pull ourselves up over compared to pulling up and gripping a flat surface. Loads of people were struggling too but we all got over it in the end.
Last year I couldn't be bothered to attempt *12. Funky Monkey 2.0* because we were tired and our joints were aching, so we just dived into the water and swam across. However this year, we all gave it our all and only Bradley managed to go from one end to the other LIKE A BOSS! I actually got as far as that guy in the picture, I swear. Just wish there had been pictures to prove it. The reason that there are two names is because this year, we were introduced to the First Timers and the Legionnaire obstacle selection twice in our run.
*14. Hero Carry* is just as easy and sunny as last year where I was quoting Yoda like in Episode V, only this time it was me and Lewis instead of me and Rich. We both did great and I cheered him on as he carried me 50metres and it was a piece of cake carrying him firstly.
*15. Birth Canal* is usually the moment where people lose their pinned on numbers as they drag themselves across mud whilst underneath a big bag of water crushing us to the ground and making us almost kiss the mud. For the first time, Lewis and I unpinned our numbers and tuck em inside our pockets (which we ended up losing in the water, a few obstacles later) crap.
Obstacles 16 - 22
I've never really understood the naming of this obstacle - *16. Devil's Beard* when I feel it should be "Under The Net" or something. Anyway, we had to life up the pinned down net over the hay bale in the middle and everyone had to work together to lift up the net and all shuffle together then climb over the hay bale and continue to the end to get out of the trap.
As I mentioned before, *17. The Liberator / Backstabber* was the 2nd obstacle to feature an easy and a more challenging version of said obstacle next to it. Liberator involved 2 pegs to slot in holes to hoist yourself upwards to the top (like ice climbing) whilst Backstabber involved only one hole and using your legs to help out. I'm glad all my gym work this year ha paid off since I found it no problem and still had some energy left in me (there goes my ego again).
*18. The Block Ness Monster* was a new and funny obstacle in the TM experience. There were 3 rectangles that rotated as people mounted up whilst other lifted the rectangle upwards to get it to move and allow other to advance and splash in the water again. Everyone had a laugh trying to lift it up and help others but we had to be careful for when others came over that they didn't land on us or hit us with their shoes.
We all had a group picture (the TOP picture) before advancing and I was the dude in distress / the log or whatever you call a pose like this ha.
"Now I'm the *19. King Of The Swingers* Oh, the Jungle VIP..." sorry, I just had to do that! This took about 10-15 mins of waiting and shivering after being in for a dip.
But we saw people take their Assassin's Creed leap of faith and swing like Spidey to reach out for that bell hanging at the end, followed by "awe" and "ahh" as people came so close many times. When it came to my turn, I tried my best and reached out far but came so close (according to the others) but I ended up spinning and landing on my back... ouchie 9000! It hurt like a b*tch!
I was surprised and relieved that I managed to run up *20. Everest* this time on my first try like everyone else (we all managed it better than last year, even though it's right near the end like last time). And my knee caps weren't aching as badly this time which I believe is what allowed me to speed up it better.
*21. Frequent Flyers Club* / *22. Electroshock Therapy* I was expecting to finish through painful shocking but it turned out that this year, the first timers had to get shocked and us (legionnaires) had to climb a huge scaffolding and then do a leap of faith and land on a giant inflatable bag instead. I can't complain really but it does feel odd to have not finished in a more hard earned way BUT I did enjoy reaching out to hit one of the coloured bars and then somersault and land on my buttocks safely. And jog a few paces to the finish line and receive my annual orange headband and new coloured one too with goodies. We all got 2 9Bars (yummy), a bottle of Volvic water, a Kingston Press Cider and a much better TM Annual Jersey and then posed for our finishing group shot.
I was still shivering (pretty badly) since the sun had disappeared during the last hour which was disappointing and people noticed suddenly as my lips were going blue. Like last year, the Medic Area wouldn't give me a space blanket so I had to strip off my jersey and under armour and put on my new jersey and borrow someone's towel. But we all warmed up (spectators too) over some hot chips before heading off in cars back to Oli and Brad's place (I was gonna join them later after showering and changing back
Once that was all done and saying Hi to Becca and the cats, I headed out to join all the others to celebrate. Everyone was pretty worn out and aching which is why the raving joy was replaced with quiet and easier/ chilled joy instead. Everyone were ordering different foods but me and a couple others got Dominoes after 2hrs40mins (like last night when I had Kurt, Leanne, Matt and Ben round mine for the late evening).
I stayed round till near midnight when people started to call it a night after an exhausting, eventful day!
So as you can see from it all, that it is most definitely a good challenge in both getting mucky, testing your endurance n' strength (physically and mentally) but also a good day of fun overall! If your with friends/ brothers and sisters and you believe in each other and are willing to help one another and anybody else that needs it, then this is for you!
I'm getting more and more into competing and testing my body and just living my life (and just showing off what I can do since many never thought I'd ever be doing something like this).