Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Belfast Bootcamping Mudders at Tough Mudder Dublin Ireland 2014 - 4 October 2014

Some found the green mile (movie) to be shocking, but that's nothing on the Tough Mudder challenge.
Read the no frills, no holds barred kiss and tell blog on the horror, the torment and the satisfaction from training to competition... 



Some would say that no amount of training can prepare you for the Tough Mudder challenge, supposedly the toughest challenge on earth.... Well, as much as I love the hype, I begged to differ, yes, there were really nasty aspects, but mostly, it was little more than a walk in the park, albeit a very dirty one...

I don't mean to suggest that it's going to feel quite so easy for everyone, but for the Bootcamping Mudders, I was determined to make it less challenging and more enjoyable... from that, a cunning plan was formed.. by cunning plan, I actually mean 22 weeks of specific Tough Mudder training where every fibre of the body would be ripped to shreds, blisters formed and.. OMG.... nails chipped!!! aarggh.,.. aaaanything but the nails!

It was back in April 2014 that 6 of us decided to take part in Tough Mudder, 5 of us bought tickets and the 6th one didn't ... well, it wasn't too long until 6 became five and those five were the ones who completed it...

All the way through our training I would say confidently that we would all finish Tough Mudder in two and a half hours, this was often followed by a chorus of   'fuck off Mark!, there's no way we can do that'.... infact, that was the general response until we were about half way round the course in October... so from March to October I continued to state that we would achieve that time and we would feel pretty good at the end, met with the same response...

Anyway..... on the 3rd May the training started in earnest... or more accurately, Hazelbank in the north of Belfast...
It kinda occured to me that Karen, Christina, Will and Claire (plus Stephanie - the number 6) didn't really understand what they were in for, so this first session was all about that comfort zone...
We met at the Hazelbank car park at 8am, everyone looked very smart, nice trainers and everything, what a shame it would all be ruined :D

The first training session
The tide was out, the sand was soggy and trainers too clean, so the first thing that my evil mind conjured up was running toward the sea and through the deep and freezing cold puddles, I remember the shock on everyones faces, they merely expressed the notion of WTF ! , eventually, when the reality hit, they got into the spirit and that session commenced, the WTF expressions and swearing in general pretty much continued for the next 22 x 8am Mudder training sessions..


Queue montage of intense training periods, with punching the air and screaming yeahhhh !



As you can see from the sample above, the sessions included all manner of things in all manner of weather,  including ;
* 20kg power bag runs up and down Cavehill
* Running through the sea
* Battle rope work, using it to drag, pull, climb
* Kettle bells - thrown, dragged, pulled etc
* Throwing rocks / boulders on the beach
* Endurance running
* Crawling, slipping and sliding
* Running through the sea and along the beach
* Climbing filthy muddy hills with big death bringing slides toward pits of doom
* We even transformed a kids play park into an assault course....
I would say we also wrestled alligators and fought with killer badgers, but hey, even we had limits :D

In short, I made it my task to incorporate everything I could think of that would prepare the team to not only finish the Tough Mudder, but to do it comfortably...

But again, when I said two hours thirty I got the same response response of 'Fuck off mark!'...


22 weeks of blissful training and 'positive feedback' passed far more quickly than bargained for... and here is it.. the day... the test, the prodding at our resolve.... for it's now Saturday the 4th October and time to put everything to the test... would my confidence in the team pay off, would they perform to their dizzying potential, would the horrifically bad MacDonalds breakfast wrap that tasted of pure sadness wrapped in stodge give me the raging shits? well... let's find out now and skip through the bit in the car part where I annoyed the bejeezus out of Karen, I do of course mean the two hours of making her ears bleed as we drove to the event.....  well, it kept her awake...  :D
Still none the wise why Sword has a 'W' and Sordid doesn't...




Dah da dahhhhh.... hoorraaahhhhh !!! hell yeah.... 


GO GO GO !!!! 
Parked up and straight away we hear the music, as it turns out, this was the same music that would play on a constant loop during our 2 hour wait... but hey.... there's lots of great energy and it feels utterly awesome just being here... this is it... the reason for the training... I was about as excited as Odie from the Garfield comic strip, the others were just trying to hide it a bit more, but it crept out..

After two hours of shopping without buying, clearing our bags away, marking our bodies with permanent pens and utilising the free entertainment, aka, the toilets, it was time for us to get started...

Off we trot to the start line, up jumps the warm up act... I must admit that by the time the warmup was done, so was I .... but hey, don't tell anyone I said that... After the warmup and the hoorahs and verbal outcries of pure 'loving the moment'... the anticipation of exhilaration, we were all granted the freedom to be muddy... off we trot, straight to a fence, me and will helping Christina, Karen and Claire to stamp on our shoulders and heads as we helped them over the fence, then we jumped over,... What the fuck is this.... !!! ooooh.. they're playing mind games.,.. turns out the start line wasn't the start line... this is the start line...
This is like a dream where we bounce from start to start for 12 miles... but no.. this was the actual start line... full of chants,.... yeah... Children Whine !!!!! whooo ohooo !!! hell yeah they do... little bastards... and we ain't little bastards, were bigger than that  !


Aaaaaaan then we're orf !


At this i reminded everyone to stick together, we start as a team and end as a team, however, as you will find out, this got a bit unstuck in places.... the first hurdle was the dirty balerina... not a bad sounding hurdle, however, this one is a series of deep dirty holes.... each hole in the ground required a hell of a jump to get over, so we all started, Christina decided that a 5 foot 4 person may struggle to jump a 5 foot wide hole so opted for jumping in then out, I opted for jumping straight over, Will and me did that and helped Claire, Karen and Christina  out of each hole until all were negotiated... hmmm... that was a bit tougher than anticipated, the 5 gaps were only 4 foot on the videos and the edges were already wearing away... right, this will be interesting...

Over the one hour and fifteen minutea we encountered a range of barriers and obstacles, the most horrid (for me) was the Arctic Enema, this involved a 6 foot deep cargo crate filled with ice and brown water, along with 20 gallons of fear induced piss.. Up the steps you go, then straight after the person in front jumped in, I jumped in planning on getting in, ducking and swimming through... unfortunately, at that point, matey in front panicked and hogged the centre of the tank, and I was stuck behind him, my fave organ shrinking faster and faster ! During this time I can't help but think just how fucking freezing this is, I have an ice cube freeze burning my nob for christ sake!... just duck under the tyre and get through matey, I thought, but nope,  over the next 4 seconds of ball freezing hell he just stayed there in a panic, unfortunately at this stage, my lungs were going into cold shock and I knew that I had to get out as quickly as possible So i swam to the side, pulled myself up and jumped out.... feck!  first major obstacle and I couldn't complete it... Ahh well... move on and complete the rest.


The good news is that everyone else managed to achieve their freezing cold enema and they commented just how lovely and warm their water was... :D

And so the journey continued, we warmed up with a jog to the next part, then waded through water, warmed up, crawled under barbed wire, drank water, ate a protein bar and kept on going, scaling 15 foot walls, leaping and bounding from one challenge to the next... By the 6 mile point (1 hr and 15 mins) we were all still going strong and oddly, by the 6th  mile point I started to notice the MacDonalds wrap knocking at the back door screaming to get out.. this wasn't a gentle knock, this was a full on head banging lunatic at the back door, with its mates.... aarrghhh....


We passed yet another water point but this one had no toilets... this now became a Japanese gameshow style challenge of how long can I go without shitting myself.... I hoped to god that there would be a loo before the electric shock, because at that point.... well.. you can guess, and it ain't a pretty site...


2 more miles of mud sliding, river wading and wall climbing action ensured and then a vision, not the water stop or the free food, but I saw something more amongst my 'needing the loo sweats'..... toilet mecca... oh sweet jesus,.... fuck the water and protein bar, a toilet..I could almost hear angels harps playing... okay, it was my rear end about to give way but what the hell... a god dam fecking toilet,,, and it's vacant... someone up there is smiling down at me.. saying that, that same cruel fecker has probably been laughing quite hard too...


Phew.... ten minutes of clutching the loo later and I felt two stone lighter... such was the overly cheerful boast as I vacated the loo... aarrrhhhhhh... my goodness... ready for anything now.. The others didn't quite share my immediate enthusiasm, telling me that it was too much information.... perhaps me telling them it was like laying Trans-Atlantic cable was too much, or that i could feel the fish nibbling the end was waaay too much.. but hey... it was a happy time in my moment of quagmire.


The next major part was a jolly pleasant back crawl through water with cage above a series of trenches which gave just enough space to get some air... hmmm... I started off smoothly and breathing well, but then the splashes delivered me mouthfulls of not so delicious pissy muddy water, eventually i got to the end of this seemingly never ending experience of interestingly tangy and occasionally warm water, only to discover that everyone else had exactly the same experience .... I was wondering just who would pee in that water, then it turned out that one of our team was ..... hmmm.. oooo-Kay :D


We're nearing the end now and we can hear the music getting yet another group warmed up... three obstacles to go and a random person who just shouted... 'only a mile to go!', yeah... a mile... are you sure?  everyone got  quite excited at this, other than Karen who was adamant that the GPS on her watch must be right and we must have a lot further to go... she loves that watch ...


The Boa constrictor... easy.. .done... no problem... Those with gloves were pleased to tell me that I was wrong about the gloves being a bit annoying... actually, they seemed downright smug about it... and then we had Everest...

Everest requires a massive run up to get up, but because there was no control over this obstacle, the run up had been reduced by half, there was that and the free for all nature here... this last hurdle was the only place where we had to wait in line ... and we waited, and waited, and slowly started to freeze, then we had a try, then another, then another... jeezus this is annoying... Chrisina adopted the strategy of running straight into it and sliding down, Claire was so so close, I kept going but those at the top just thought, fuck him, looks a bit too heavy, and it came down to Will and Karen to save the day... and they did.... woohoo.... at that, we advanced to the nemeses of everyone... The electroshock therapy...

All the way through training, this was the only one I couldn't prep for, so i took the route of lying at how bad the shocks would be, i stated casually that it would be no worse than licking a nine volt battery... how shattered was the earth on hitting the reality...


Now, sometimes we have moments in life that cause us pain, we will often consider that to be the worse pain ever... It isn't... The worse pain ever is the Electroshock Therapy !


As we approached it, all you see are orange wires hanging, then look left and you see a sinister looking evil man with a big red button, probably an ex axe murderer on parole or something.

So, here we are, i'm currently beside Karen as we run toward it, and then... BANG CRACK POP FIZZ... fucking hell !!!  I think the top of my head has just blown off... oh my fucking god !! is rougly what I thought as my legs collapsed beneath me and I rolled forward, only for Karen to stop and complain at me falling in front of her... CRACK BANG... !!! FUCK FUCK FUCK... MY ARM.. i CAN'T MOVE MY ARM... jesus h christ  ! fuck.. the crack and fizz of being electrocuted was relentless, inch by inch I crawled to the end of this torment, fingers digging into the mud, my legs dead, one arm failed, my head smoking and hair on end... My prevailing thought was, thank fuck I managed to use the toilet !

Now at this point, I was really hoping that comradery would step in... but no.. they all just ran off, leaving me at the hands of the executioner and his busman's holiday...

About 3 seconds later I was at the end, but just as I pulled my trailing leg out and thought I was free... CRACK... fuck !!!! that's my calf on my last remaining limb... phew... I lay there for a second wondering what the hell just hit me, then got up looking like a swamp monster and we all regrouped....  At that the other pointed at the red harry potter burn marks on my head and Karen complained bitterly at my falling infront of her, which led to her getting a gentle shock on one arm... once .... 

About half a mile is all that separates us from  victory, the final push, the big limp leading to the beer, headband and T-Shirt plus chew bar....

After what felt like (what seemed) the longest half mile, we did it... we were done... we were finished, we won... and we did it in two hours and forty minutes...

As we washed down, changed and walked back to the car, each of us stinking like the rear end of a bull with a personal hygiene problem, I was asked.... Why were you so sure we would only take about 2 and a half hours to finish this.... I replied... 'Because I have 100% faith in you all' ...

End here endeth the 'fuck of Mark'.... until next time that is :D





So... the Tough Mudder weekend didn't end there, oh nooo...

To celebrate, Will and Claire basically purchased an entire off license just after they re-stocked on everything...


Inbetween eating a rather lovely steak meal, we drank more than any human should ever be able to drink... unfortunately, before this drinking aspect, I had committed to cooking breakfast... oh how we learn to regret such statements...



The night went on, the drink went in and I went to bed feeling like a ball of fire ... hell yeah !

I have a mobile phone called a Huawei, at about 7am the following morning, the ball of fire had turned into a sack of shit... hell of a transformation... anyway... the good news is that while i was shouting down the toilet, i finally managed to pronounce the name of my phone... its is pronounced ... HUURRRRGHGGHHHHH WAAAAAAYY !!!!
The only downside with getting the name right, repeatedly, was the inhuman amount of of black coloured vomit which followed... .surely no one person could produce this much... after 30 minutes of mobile phone pronunciation practice, I showered, stumbled, dressed and stumbled downstairs only to find everyone waiting for breakfast....

90 minutes it took to cook a full fry for everyone... every moment felt like hell... what's worse is that as great as it looked, I just couldn't stomach the sausages, french toast, hash browns, black pudding, beans and bacon.... a tragedy if ever there were one :(


The next 24 hours are a blurr to be honest, part of it was a drive back to Belfast where it took everything I had to not be sick, thankfully i wasn't driving and Karen felt blessed that her ears weren't bleeding this time around...

And there we have it... 22 weeks in the making, 2 hours forty minutes in the running, a day with a raging hangover and a bunch of amazing memories with super people who each made the weekend utterly incredible, and for me, one i'll remember until ....

Oh ... what day is it.. .ahhh, havn't you grown... nice here.... isnt it... la la laaaa....


The end... 

Until next time ... 

mwaaaa ha ha ha haaaaaaa !!!!!! 




Bootcamping Event training (for such things as the above) is free for Unlimited (and above) members... I make it my main aim in life to demonstrate that everyone is capable of much more than they give themselves credit for, to set challenging fitness milestones and to have a great time doing it.

Thanks for reading this, and I look forward to you joining the team



Check out the Tough Mudder photos on Pinterest.



By; Mark McIntyre
www.mdmcintyre.co.uk
PositivelyConfident Belfast Helathier Lifestyle Coaching
1onOne Personal Training Northern Ireland
Belfast Bootcamping outdoor group fitness

C4W

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