Monday, 28 April 2014

Can I get a HOORAH?

Wow, ten days since I last posted.  That time has flown by so quickly!  We're already halfway through the school holidays!  The boys aren't happy about that, they want it to last forever.  I most certainly do not!  They're away from us for this week, so hopefully I'll have a slightly more productive week in terms of study and housework.  But for now it's time for me to catch you up on the goings-on in kreachr-land since my last update.

I finished my assignment and submitted it only a day later than the original due date, so although it was good to know I had an extra week, as expected I didn't need it.  I got the results from my other assignment, submitted the day George died.  I managed 79%, which is an A-.  So relieved!!  I did not manage to finish that last week of the 30 day challenge, but I did get my housework done.  Of course, the housework needs doing again, such is the nature of it.  Sigh.  I attended one more boot camp session to prep for Tough Mudder, and nearly concussed myself by sliding/falling down a very wet and slippery half pipe in the skate park and smacking the back of my head on the concrete at the bottom.  I think it was my buff that saved me.  That, or I have a remarkably solid cranium...  I haven't been out for many runs lately, except for a jaunt through Goldie Bush in the Waitakeres last Sunday.

I slipped on a rock during a stream crossing and got soaked from the shoulders down.  Chilly!!  I have since purchased a waterproof bag for my phone which, surprisingly, still works.

So running is something I'm looking forward to fitting in this week.  But oh, let me tell you about the craziness that is Tough Mudder.

My alarm woke me at 5.30am, although to be honest I was pretty much already awake anyway.  That night and the night before had not been the most restful - I recall looking at the clock at least two or three times every hour.  I was nervous about TM, and I was nervous about being nervous about TM.  I know what my stomach can be like before big events, and how much time can be wasted going back and forth to the bathroom.  The thought of TM was scary, and I was worried I'd be stuck in the bathroom for hours.  But I got up and got dressed, ate a banana for breakfast (seems to work pretty well at keeping the nasty effects of IBS at bay), made a cup of tea to take with me, and went outside to wait for my ride.  We all convened at Sylvia Park to reshuffle and reload into various vehicles for the drive to Hampton Downs - with 19 people it can take a bit of organisation, particularly at 6.30am!  We arrived with plenty of time to spare, so took a leisurely approach to registration, marking (where they write your bib number on your forehead) and gear organisation.  I took a much-needed pit-stop, relieved that the distraction of many teamies was keeping the nerves (and resulting gurgly tummy effects) at bay.  We were all heading off in the 9am wave so we had time to get a team photo and fluff around for a bit before convening at the top of the hill for the pre-pit briefing, warm up, and cheer to send off the 8.40am wave.  Once they'd gone, we wandered down to the pit - it's a square section of ground surrounded by a tyre wall where everyone crams in to get amped up for the course.  Lots of cheering, TM chants (and weird random chants if the MC feels so inclined, and he did), the Tough Mudder pledge and countdown.  Before we knew it, the hooter sounded and we were off.

This year's first official New Zealand Tough Mudder course was 18km, and had 18 obstacles.  Some of them sounded pretty daunting - Arctic Enema, Electroshock Therapy, Electric Eel, Everest, Ladder to Hell...  To start with though, we had the Kiss of Mud and Mud Mile which both involved - you guessed it - mud!  Actually, the whole course was full of ditches and mud piles so sometimes it was hard to tell what was supposed to be an obstacle and what was just part of the course.  We trudged along happily, knowing that Arctic Enema was the third obstacle.  I was mentally prepared for it, and had the strategy of 'just do it'.  What else can you do with a giant ice bath?  I climbed up the ramp and jumped straight in.  There's a wall in the middle that you have to duck under so there's really no avoiding getting your whole body wet, head and all.  The ice cubes were so thick it was actually kinda hard to get back up out of the water, and you really had to dig your way through it all at the end to climb out.  It wasn't as bad as I was expecting to be honest - perhaps that dunk in the stream the previous weekend prepared me for it.  I found it invigorating ;)  Not something I'd do on a regular basis though, in case you were wondering...

After that it was Tyre Mountain (easy peasy, just climb over a hill of tyres), Trench Warfare (super easy, unless you're scared of the dark and enclosed spaces of course) and Glory Blades (teamwork is important on this obstacle, and I had plenty of helpers).  Next up, the dreaded Electric Eel.  I did hesitate briefly before this one, watching a few others in my team crawl in.  But it was a case of 'suck it up', so I just dived in.  I got three quarters of the way through before being shocked, and managed to escape with only two in total.  Ouch.  What actually hurt more though, was accidentally hitting a rock with my knee on the way through.  I have a bruise and a scrape from that, and my knee was sore for at least half an hour afterwards.  Then there was the Ladder to Hell - again, really easy unless you're scared of heights.  I was slightly more concerned about the screws coming loose at the top of the ladder, but the frame held up and we carried on.

Cage Crawl was one of the obstacles that I was slightly dreading, but found to be much easier than expected.  The only thing I was really worried about was getting mud through my hair, which at that stage was laughable.  We were covered head to foot already, what's the point in worrying about it?!?  Bale Bonds was another team effort - my legs were too short for me to climb over them alone, so I had help from my teamies to get over the three piles of hay bales.  If they weren't plastic-wrapped it might've been easier.  Warrior Carry was just a piggy-back and swap-over half way.  I teamed up with Deb, who is not much bigger than me.  We had a husband and wife in our group that teamed up, and we were all rather impressed when she carried him!

Then, along came Walk the Plank.  I hadn't prepared myself for that one - by the name I had assumed it was just a case of walking along a plank across a ditch.  Nope.  It's a five metre jump off a platform into a muddy pool of water.  I think we all agreed that was one of the scarier obstacles in the course.  Not only was it quite a long way down (particularly when you're standing at the top looking down) but it took quite a while, once in, to come back up to the surface.  Because the water was muddy, you couldn't see anything (although I kept my eyes closed anyway because ew).  Dan was a little scared, and he was ahead of me.  I figured if he could do it, I could.  So thanks to Dan for going first ;)

Hard Wood & Rubber was basically what I thought Walk the Plank was going to be - logs placed across a stream, but with four tyres to climb over along the way.  No biggie.  Nor was Cliffhanger, which was just a muddy hill to climb up.  Although it wasn't all that muddy, so it was actually pretty easy to get up.  Berlin Walls was a bit of a challenge - we used teamwork to get over the first one, but I managed to climb over the second wall myself by using the framework on the side.  Cheating?  Maybe.  It was still really hard!  My shoes were caked in clay mud and that made it really slippery.  So I call it a win ;)  After that, all that was left was Everest and Electroshock Therapy.  I seriously considered just going around Everest, because it was kinda freaking me out.  Maybe that was because of my little half-pipe slide the previous weekend.  I didn't make it up the first few times - couldn't get enough speed up to reach the arms hanging down trying to grab me.  But one of the supervisors on the course came over and gave me a little advice.  "Run hard, and don't look at the wall.  Don't even think about the wall.  Just look straight up."  Well I'll be damned, he was right.  I made it quite easily after that, and I have another random stranger to thank for it - one of the builders I believe.  He was legendary - standing at the top, hauling up person after person after person.  Dan had my other arm and he said "I've got you, and I am not letting go!".  Bless them.

Electroshock Therapy was the last obstacle, and we decided to run through it as a team.  Not only for the camaraderie, but also because of the way it's designed - it's a loop circuit, so the more people are in there, the less shocks you get.  There were hay bales to jump over just to make it a little more challenging (and a little more likely you'd fall over and get stuck) and the shocks were stronger than the ones in Electric Eel.  I got a few and could feel them go from head to toe.  Holy cow, they packed a punch!  But I made it through with the others without falling at all (yay!) and then it was a light jog to the end to get my well-earned orange headband and (disgusting) beer.

In case you can't find me (since we're all covered in mud and look kinda the same) I'm to the right of Martin, who's in the middle with his green headband (it's his second Mudder).

Was it a challenge?  Yes.  Did I have fun?  Hell yeah!  Would I do it again?  .......ask me next year, once I've forgotten about the electrocution obstacles ;)

The rinse station afterwards wasn't particularly fun - it was a series of pipes spitting out freezing cold water and there was a whole bunch of people jostling for position.  I rinsed off as much mud as I could, then went to the toilets to change.  Unfortunately in the early morning prep I'd forgotten to grab my shoes for afterwards, so walking around the car park was a little ouchie.  Had a laugh about that - just ran 18km with some pretty gnarly obstacles, and I'm whining about gravel hurting my feet...  We all went out to The Jolly Farmer in Drury for a buffet meal and a few drinks to celebrate, so I was able to get Deane (who came out to join us) to bring me some shoes.  Not that anybody seemed to mind my bare feet, but I was cold, so they were welcome.

As always, the volunteers were awesome - they had high-five areas ('no denied high-fives' was part of the pre-run briefing), and the signs along the way were entertaining.

Check out the ice in that pool.  Brrrr!

Obviously not the kind of event you can take your camera or phone on, which is a shame because there were so many cool things I'd liked to have snapped a picture of.  But I have plenty of good memories, and the official event photos are still to come.  Looking forward to those!  (Otherwise you can check these ones out.  Note how many people look like they're saying 'f***' while going through Electroshock Therapy, lol).

Back to sort-of reality now though (not completely normal without the kids here) - study is top of the list, as I am once again behind.  Time to play catch-up!  Have a good week :)

1 comment:

  1. Hoorah you - for another A, and a TM too!
    10 days - I was starting to get worried! It sounds like you have been up to fun - if you can call Tough Mudder fun. I much prefer the sound of the Waitaks!