Event Review: Tough Mudder South, 2016
When Sarah Crosier joined us to learn to run back in the summer of 2015, little did she realise that within a year she would have found the confidence to enter an extreme obstacle event. Or a 24 hour relay race, or a marathon. Here she explains what motivated her and how to build your own confidence to take on a challenge …
When Tough Mudder was suggested as a possible Fitbitch team event, I was reluctant; the thought of running 5 miles through woods, jumping into deep water and crawling through mud was scary enough but most terrifying, was the idea of heights as I have an irrational fear of falling.
But, I teach my 9-year-old daughter to be challenge herself; to be brave, resilient, and to have the confidence and self-esteem to try new things and break out of her comfort zone. As a parent, sometimes you need to put into practice what you say.
To get prepared mentally and physically, I joined a a two-week Fitbitch obstacle training course which took place 4 times a week 6.15 to 7am. This was my first experience of Fitbitch bootcamps as I’ve only previously done their running courses and I can’t tell you how much fun it was.
Activities included running up skatepark ramps, climbing up rope nets and sliding down a fireman’s pole in the playground, plus, beach sprints and running into the sea whilst carrying tyres or my teammates! It was like being a kid again and every day I chipped away at my fears, with the support from the rest of the Fitbitch team.
It was such a fun way of getting fit and strong, playing wheelbarrows which I’ve not done for 35 years and building our team bonding all against the most amazing beautiful sunrises.
By the end of the training camp, our team all had different levels of fitness and skills – some were proficient runners, some were athletic and strong and others were just really fantastic team players who boosted all our egos and morale all the way round the race.
Talk about your fears
Those that attended the obstacle bootcamp were already pretty open about their fears, and after practicing climbing ropes and getting fully submerged under water with the support from the rest of the team, I think we were as prepared as we were ever going to be.
We also had an events page within the Fitbitch Facebook group (free to join) to plan what to wear (Capri pants, trainers, FB tshirts and plaits), arrange travel plans and most importantly discuss what we were worried about. I personally felt quite comforted that I wasn’t the only one getting nervous 24 hours before the event!
Do your best
We didn’t all know each other when we got to the start line but we soon did on race day! There was a lot of bottom pushing to get each other over the obstacles and while we all ran at slightly different speeds, everyone waited at the obstacles to help each other out. No one in a purple t-shirt was left behind – and we even picked up a straggler who lost her friends, on our way.
The most challenging obstacle for me was the Berlin wall which was 3-metres-high. The moment I saw it, I said I couldn’t and wouldn’t climb over it. Another member of the group did the same and then at the last minute changed her mind. So of course, I had to try. With the help of 2 women pushing my feet up, I was able to get high enough to straddle the wall and slowly release myself down the other side.
The funniest moment was the final obstacle, Everest, a 15 foot ramp coated in mud and grease which sloped back out at the top like a snowboard halfpipe. My legs were tired and I was cold having been in and out of water but after four tries, I finally managed to sprint to the top and grab the hands of my teammates, only to realise I couldn’t get my leg up. With the help of four team mates who dragged me up while we laughed hysterically, I was finally pulled to safety.
And don’t look down
So did my daughter and I fail our challenges? Well, I missed one Berlin wall out (there were two) and my nine-year-old was short of a few votes so didn’t get into school council this year. But we’ve learned so much from our experiences, feel a great sense of achievement and am ready to take on more challenges.
I’m even tempted (and maybe this was a mistake to put this in writing) to do a full Tough Mudder…. but only if I have my great Fitbitch team mates by my side. I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed it half as much without them.
Review in Brief: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Friendly event where everyone helps each other out. Time is irrelevant. Face your fears in a safe environment.
8am first wave was ideal. Clean toilets. No queues at obstacles. Not too slippery and muddy.
Warm cider at 10.20 in the morning? I think my head hurt more than my bruises.
Not enough Tough mudder event crew en route. A guy had fallen by a ditch in the woods. It took 10 minutes to get the crew to him.
If you are interested in training with us for any of our Dream Challenges this year or in 2017 email us or join our Facebook group here.