Tough Mudder Norddeutschland

Getting there

Where best to start than an early hours ferry on Friday morning, I was back to allowing myself plenty of fudge factor time after my nightmare of just making the cut off in Dublin.

Then is was the long drive on the continent with a tiny bit of France some Belgium then the Netherlands a loads of Germany, but nearly all on the same road.

We ended getting to motel 24h Hannover minutes before the next bunch turned up. They had flown into Hannover and hired a car.

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We went on a walk to hunt down the local Aldi and missed it by turning left too soon. Thanks to Google Maps for pointing us back in the right direction and also to the EU for making roaming a lot more sensible cost wise.

We decided to go buy some proper food and took the two cars to a local steak house. I had ribs and a jacket potato at 13 Euros it was the first time in ages that a plate of food had defeated me. During the meal we did one airport run in each car I was most impressed with how easy it was made to pick someone up from Hannover Airport!

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Race day

We got up at a sensible time and headed to McDonalds for breakfast. I had to have a croissant as never had one of them in McDonald’s before.

Then it was about an hours drive to the venue. Parking was easy then it was time for sun glasses and party hats. Oh and a shot of Jäger before we started.

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We got some before we started photos and this is about what we looked like at the beginning.

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As Jamie was being filmed we ended up at the front of the warm up pen. We managed to get in a happy Birthday to Gary too, but with most of our wave joining in this time.

I'd still got my hat on for kiss of mud….

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I was very impressed with the MVPs on the course a large number of who had switched to English when they saw/heard us coming. Then it wasn’t only the MVPs who did this I had a good few conversations with German Mudders on the course too.

We needed another shot at the half way point.

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I loved the amount of water on this course, especially the lake at near the end to swim across as it did get most of the mud off saving me the need of the rinse station.

Also worth a mention are the course snacks I really loved the pick up biscuits. Sponsorship works as this is actually a full sized one I got in France on my way home.

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We did make it to the end….

 

The evening after

Once we got back we all wanted a proper warm shower…. I learnt her that I needed some form of scrubbing implement for the shower as I had to baby wipe the mud off even after said shower. It didn’t help that the hotel had fixed head showers.

We’d decided to head into Hannover and without any planning for this learnt the motel had a tram stop not too far away so off on a German tram adventure we went.

We found somewhere selling Gyros “kebabs” and between the nine of us almost emptied the beer fridge.

Then we found the Irish Bar where I had one last drink before home time.

The drive home

One of the reasons I didn’t stay out too late was setting a 6 am alarm for Sunday morning and not wanting to be over the drink drive limit the morning after.

The roads were beautifully empty on the way home, until somewhere just after the French border but as we got closer to the stationary traffic ahead the car sat nav got us off the motorway to avoid the queue. This also turned into a bonus as we got to shop in a French supermarket.

Update

Wil Chung who ran with us has updated his blog.

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Tough Mudder Ireland

Getting there

Due to it costing so much more if  Stuart, Charli and I went on Friday and came back Sunday we had to chose a Saturday early hours crossing.

Once Charli has fed us in Manchester we headed to Wales and went to the warmest pub in the world with a bit of walking round Llandudno to.

I did find it easier than I expected to get some shut eye on a ferry couch. Once in Ireland we then used the M3 (toll road) to get our arses to the event site. I missed the yellow signs that I am used to for miles out of the event, but Audi Sat Nav with an online search worked well. They were still checking volunteers in when we got there so all good. (Don’t think I scared Stuart or Charli too much with my driving.)

Volunteering

Stuart headed off to do his own multi lapping thing, whilst Charli and I got assigned our obstacles. We happened to both be put in the same zone with a zone leader who was greatful to have some MVPs with experience. Our zone leader also drove us round his zone so we knew exactly what should be going on in his area before we started.

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I had Decare Dental Insurance Ireland sponsoring my obstacle (Kiss of Mud) so with two of them taking photos and two medics it wasn’t too dull between waves. This worked in our favour when we ran on Sunday as they took some photos of us going through and a team photo too.

Once the last waves were through we went to help elsewhere. I ended up dragging a wheely bin up a hill as the level of rubbish was getting quite epic.

Campsite

The campsite we’d been recommended by Jacinta was awesome they sent a text when we’d not turned up on Friday to check all was well. When I went to pay the balance they didn’t want the extra euros as the deposit was 50% and we had missed one night.

Went and took my worlds smallest BBQ and large  tools and were social whilst we cooked. The fish slice has a bottle opener built in proper BBQ tools if I do say so myself!

 

Running

So after taking a bit longer to get up than we wanted we missed the first wave, but I got to “run” with a very decent bunch of people.

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I’ve lost most of my left foot big toe nail so had upgraded my shoes to some speed cross 4s, very comfortable and felt secure even in the sucky mud parts of the course. No major  issues on the course and my lungs were happy for a puff on my inhaler on the way round. Having Jamie with us was a constant inspiration all the way round he might have less legs than most of us, but he sure isn’t a moaner or a quitter!

Getting home

So after we’d “ran” on Sunday it started to spit with rain so it was time to make a move back to Dublin. After telling the car to avoid toll roads we went on a very pain free trip back to Dublin for less euros than the way there. In Dublin we found the golden arches of McDonalds and a pub that served Guinness. I stole a sip of Charli’s half pint to check I still didn’t like it, but stuck to diet coke as I was driving anyway.

So the most stressful part of the trip for me was we didn’t realise how late it got when we went to a local tesco and got to the port 30 minutes before sailing with the cut off being 30 minutes before sailing. We were the last car on the boat (okay a van came on after us, but I don’t want to dry that one again)

 

 

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Tough mudder number 5

So I’ve got my second yellow headband.

Yellow Headband (Number 5)

Saturday

Before I got my headband it as a day of Volunteering with my Tough Mudder IMG_1457partner in crime Charli. No I’m not trying to strangle her, just wanting to make sure that headband that is on my wrist was in the photo. Just a silly game some of us TM legionnaires like to play.

We had a good laugh with our water safety team on the creek crusade, even if one of us was over the other side of the creek most of the day. We did get moved round, but three volunteers meant that we had a turn each on the far side.

I managed to take a photo of a butterfly for the MVP wildlife photography competition. Not that I’ve worked out how to enter it yet, but our butterfly was in orange.

Butterfly

Sunday

Anyway enough of volunteering on Saturday… Sunday was go for a run day.

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It started off as just Charli and me, but we soon picked up the rest of our motley crew! I wasn’t wheezing as bad as last time, but I should probably still go and ask the doctor if i’m broken as really struggling to run without wheezing at the moment. I’ve been trying anti histamine before asking the doctor.

Pauline introduced us to a new technique for kiss of mud and it appears one of the photographers got a nice synchronised shot of Charli and myself testing it out.

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Then it was also awesome to go and play in the creek we’d volunteered on the day before.

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Yes we’re just mucking about in the water…. We’re meant to be going the same way as everyone else, but Charli has been leading a sing song and we’d been chatting to one of the TMHQ staff and posing for photos.

We’ve got to love Tim for bringing a camera with him that was up to the task of coming round with us!

Also I’ve got the most awesome beanie I’ve seen… my fellow MVP are jealous, but this year beanies are just for overnight events.

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This reminds me I really shout write a post about the previous weekend…. I’ll do that some time this week and then publish it with an old date to confuse you all.

Thanks again to Charli, Tim, Pauline and Jason for making this one a fun one, and yet again proving how awesome the TM family is.

 

 

 

 

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Volunteering at Europes Toughest Mudder

I was already planning to drive up to the campsite I’d found fairly nearby then out came a Facebook post saying that extra pre-event shifts had been created on the Friday.

I ended up spending Friday afternoon putting stickers on envelopes and then putting into those same envelopes timing chips, bibs and wristbands.

Then Saturday morning was the Midlands half I was like normal volunteering with partner in crime Charli. This time it was Everest!


Once we were done with this is was off to see if I could manage a nap in the car. Answer is not very well….

So we went back over to the volunteer tent and had a chill there planning to wait until our shift start time. They were having a mad rush at check in, hence we got asked if we’d help out so we went and got rid of the backlog of queues at check in.

Once we’d done that it was off to Artic Enema for the overnight volunteering shift! 

We were out there for well before 12 and then got told we were to open at 1, but to wait radio calls to confirm.

We got plenty of ice in to cool it down. The first runners who went through weren’t that glad we’d opened the obstacle.

We ran out of ice during the night, but I am ensured the water was still plenty cold as people went through!

What I loved about the night was how many of the runners said thank you on their last laps and the thanks they have continued to give post event in the various Facebook groups.

What I found hardest was the no hugs and high 5s! But I didn’t want to be a reason one of my mates got disqualified!

I’ll certainly be back next year, but won’t be doing the volunteering at the half first!

And of course we got beanies for this shift.

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Tough mudder number 4

After just volunteering at Tough Mudder last weekend it was time to run a tough mudder as well as volunteering this weekend.

I quite enjoyed my view from the top of snot rocket.

That’s where I spent most of my Saturday. Was awesome to see people I know doing good in the tougher mudder wave (the one wave that is a race) 

Then on Sunday it was time for a run…

I still find in awesome we only have to pay £15 as volunteers. 

I found myself out on course in mud mile too.

Oh yes I even got to the end having meet Gary who we also volunteered with on the way round.

I did really suffer on the way round and was super wheezing I think my lungs were disagreeing with the amount of dust! In places it was more tough dust cloud than tough mudder, but hopefully some rain will sort that out before Midlands on Sunday week.

I get to volunteer at Europe’s Toughest Mudder before then though.

The only really bad bit of the weekend was tent peg destroying ground which was pure bad luck as I pitched my tent just fine in about the same place the weekend before.

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More OCR volunteering 

Thought I’d give volunteering at Spartan a try having taken part in that Spartan Sprint in the Olympic park last year.

Okay it was a bit of a long day from arriving at 6am to escaping at 8pm ish, but they did provide a decent lunch and a briefing that actually left me know what I needed to know. 

I didn’t give out that many burpies, but being a climbing traverse type obstacle there were quite a few who did get the burpies! I know I did all mine when I failed the very same damn wall.

I did recommend anyone who found it hard go bouldering for extra practice and was amused when a lady came flying through and said it was because she did bouldering.

For being there all day I got a reasonable amount of swag. My volunteer / Spartan Support t-shirt, a decent lunch, a water bottle and a Spartan volunteer hoody.

I’ll certainly volunteer at Spartan again, but so many weekends already booked up this year! So if there is a clash free not too far away one I shall go! 

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Ouch and I’m all slow

So I limped back into work yesterday and found that my walking is annoyingly slow at the moment. (Happily it is a bit faster today, but still getting overtaken by all the other commuters)

I’ve got a little bit of a bruise under my left big toe nail and an ex blister under the inner side of my left foot. 

Those shoes have now done the recommended 500 km and as they never used to give me blisters it has to be time to retire them. Being heavy I should possibly not even try and get the standard suggestion out of them, but they have served me well.

What next?

Someone has suggested an ultra…. no way on that one this was quite enough of a challenge for me to the point of it not being fun by the end. 

Others are suggesting another Marathon.

The sense of achievement for me having finished was awesome, but I think a half is a more sane length for both running and recovery.

So what really comes next is my 10x tough mudder head band.

I also plan to give something back to the running world so also next is finding some more events to volunteer at! 

Along with going to watch the London Marathon being glad I didn’t get a ballot place so having already done my marathon.

Was it worth it?

Yes. 

On a personal level yes this was a huge challenge for me, and I am still not quite sure how I made it to the end.

On a less selfish level my friends, family and colleagues have donated very close to £1000 to Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance. That support is one of the things that helped so much towards the end when I just wanted to stop!

I’d already discovered how much support there was in the Tough Mudder / Obstacle Course Racing community for the less fit person trying to better themselves. I can now comment the running community also is very supportive.

One of the reasons it took me a while to get myself on a road to sort out my lack of fitness was being scared of the people who were better than me. How wrong was I? The fitness community just seems to be full of people who want to help and encourage others.

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