What’s worse – jumping into a 20-foot container filled with 70,000 pounds of ice or facing a 25-metre mud crawl while trying to avoid being shocked by 10,000-volt live wires? Ask me and my #gigatownwanaka #gigatribe team – we just spent our Saturday morning doing both.
Back in January our Tribe Team Training team thought it would be ‘fun’ to face these challenges head-on in New Zealand’s first ever Tough Mudder, a 10 mile cross country mud run designed by British Special Forces and created to test its unsuspecting participants (victims?) both physically and mentally. Forgoing any form of common sense, myself, my tribe team mates and avid #gigatownwanaka supporters – Alister King, Toby Donnelly, Gordon Paul and Alice Townsend registered a team sponsored by #gigatownwanaka and Tribe Team Training International.
This was a bit of a last hurrah for me, as right now it's time to make some changes in my life, and to cut back on the amount of training and high intensity exercise I have been doing. Having amenorrhea means the training that I love needs to take a back step for a while to allow my body the chance to get back on track so I decided that this would be my final challenge. It was time to draw a line in the sand, so why not end it on a high and put all this training and strength to some use, knowing that the end of it would mark a new chapter for me.
My nutritional preparation started a week before the event. I am a clean eater naturally, and certainly enjoy my food, so upping my intake over the next 5 days was no problem. High quality protein and an increase in complex carbohydrates (no not pasta!) in the days prior to the event would ensure I had the stamina to complete the course which can take some up to 5 hours. Plenty of water and a good dose of coconut water the day before left me hydrated, electrolyte loaded and ready to go!
Packing my bag the night before we left for Auckland took me a couple of hours. I pre made my breakfast for the next two days, loaded my backpack with clean pure proteins and wheatgrass, and overloaded my luggage with super foods. I was concerned that I might be over my luggage weight limit! That afternoon when we arrived at out hotel, I spent the first hour preparing my breakfast and organising the backpack that my husband would carry at the event. Dates, cacao covered coffee beans, bounce balls and SOS electrolytes all strategically placed for easy access at pit stops on course! I also had my numerous doTERRA essential oils ready for morning application! 'On Guard' to ward off any nasties that might be in the mud and water, 'Breathe' for respiratory support and 'Deep Blue' which I rubbed on just about my entire body. I felt ready, my husband however thought I was slightly crazy.
On Saturday we lined up with over 5000 other ‘Tough Mudders’ to test our physical strength and mental fortitude – and boy was it tested. Setting off at 8.20am after a burpee fuelled pep talk, extensive safety demonstration, Tough Mudder oath and the signing of one very extensive participant waiver, the past three months of Mudder training was put to the test.
The course sprawled around Auckland’s fastest racetrack, Hampton Downs, ensured our maiden Mudder was going to be filled with mayhem and madness. Ahead of us lay 18.5kms of mud and 18 fear-evoking obstacles. Within the first kilometre team #gigatribe was more like team #gigamud and from the 3km mark we were all drenched from head to toe thanks to Mud Mile.
With a focus on team work and camaraderie, this event is designed to drain every ounce of your energy while pitting yourself against obstacles that would be unachievable on your own.
Highlight: Arctic Enema – This obstacle scared the #*@* out of us. Hence the name, no doubt. Jumping into an oversized ice bath is one challenge, but having to dive under a semi submerged wall to reach the other side had everyone feeling uneasy. We all knew that once we hit the ice, our muscles would cease to move, making getting out the other side a huge struggle. It took team work, encouragement and a mental tenacity to conquer this one, but the rush of adrenaline we all experienced carried us through the next 8kms!
Lowlight: Electric Eel - this obstacle left us all in a bad state. 4kms before we could see this obstacle, we could hear it, well the wales and screams from our fellow participants that is. Some 10,000 volts of electricity hitting you in the back (or in the forehead as team member Toby experienced) is enough to take any team to a dark place. Strategically-placed at the halfway point, it really sucked our energy and made us fearful for what was to come. Either that or it was the fact we all left that challenge with the vision of a fellow Mudder being tended to by St John after suffering a severe reaction to being shocked. We all went quiet after that challenge, knowing there was another electric shock obstacle ahead of us.
Two kilometres from home and we faced 'Everest' – a 15-foot half pipe coated in mud and oil. Our approach – RUN and don’t stop. We all did this with our own stylish flair - namely the full flight superman by myself to the pure grit and strength cliff hanger by Gordy.
Our final obstacle was one final round of electric shock therapy - thankfully not as traumatic but equally as brutal as the first - and then we crossed the finish line. Like brothers in arms, we crossed the finish line the same way we started, as a team.
There were high fives, a little emotion, token headbands, free t-shirts and beer, but most importantly a momentous wave of elation and gratification that we had just completed what is billed as the world's toughest mud run with a bunch of mates from #gigatownwanaka - and we survived.
Plans for next year are already in place! A big thanks to #gigatowanaka and Tribe Team Training for their sponsorship.