Sunday, 16 March 2014

Rock Solid Race

The first big challenge on my 40 before 40 list has been done. 

Number 8 on my list was compete in a Tough Guy / Tough Mudder event. 

Yesterday I headed up to a very sunny Escot Park just outside Exeter with my support team (Rachel, Olivia and Bryher) to tackle the Rock Solid Race. 

The 10k obstacle race, which I heard several people say was actually 12k, took in mud, water, mud, water, more mud and some bonkers obstacles. 

After a warm up with a military fitness instructor, my wave set off at 1.20pm. 

The obstacles are now a bit of a blur, but we started with haybale hurdles (the big round ones), before heading off into the woods. 

At first I tried to avoid the mud and water, but after five minutes the only thing to do was to embrace it (my white running socks will never be white again ). 

Crawling on your stomach through muddy water and under barbed wire certainly got the adrenalin going, as did diving under a giant inflatable tube in a murky pond. I made the mistake of opening my eyes before surfacing, and can still feel grains of dirt under my eyelids as I type. 

The biggest challenge for me was the vertical cargo net. The height was okay, probably around 15 feet, it was the fear of falling that got me. 

I did it though, but the fear of falling off an obstacle wasn't helped by seeing a guy strapped into a stretcher waiting for an ambulance by one of the eight foot walls.

Tyres, more haybales, more water, wading through waist-deep mud, rope climbs, crawling through mud under a net, tunnels and more walls all were tackled, and enjoyed. 

I even took some strange enjoyment in diving into the skip full of iced water that resulted in the worst ice cream headache ever!

As I came into the final stretch I could see Bryher in the distance running around in her bright red all in one suit, before I saw Rach and Liv. 

This spurred me on for the final push where I jumped over fire, took on volunteers with Gladiator-style pugil sticks before, in true Rocky style, climbing haybale steps to cross the finish line. 

Having checked my time this afternoon I did the race in 1.50:08 and finished 271st out of 1880 finishers. I'm pretty chuffed with that for my first effort. 

I've also raised around £130 for CHICKS so far, which is the reason why I tackled this event. 

As well as my support team, I'd like to say a huge thank you to Felicia Sheingold, who has pushed me to my limits in my training sessions since January. The extra fitness made a huge difference. 

Bring on next year's race!

Post race burger in Exeter. 

 My race number, dog tag medals and Rock Solid T-shirt. 

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