Forgive me bloggers for I have sinned. It has been three weeks since I last got off my fat arse and moved faster than a shuffle. I was suffering from infectious slobitis and generalised exam anxiety, but that is over now and today I paid a big price for my excessive slothfulness. Sitting here shattered and barely able to string a coherent sentence together, I would say that penance has definitely been paid.
Three of us (OGB, Tanya and myself) found ourselves huddled round a pint of beer last night, escaping from the torrential rain and trying to determine whose crazy idea it was to enter an 8 mile mudfest in December.
We weren’t a great deal wiser this morning as we brushed sleep from our eyes and tried to follow the signs to a place called Grim.
We were damn lucky with the weather but by heck it was freezing. We all lined up at the portaloos and sat in adjacent cabins just to keep warm before the race – I’ve got over my earlier toilet phobia.
As Tanya was a complete race virgin we decided to run this event as a team, attempting to stick together through thick and thin.
This proved to be a bit of life-saver for me but was probably jolly tiresome for the other two. Poor ole OGB had to resort to a peculiar bouncing action with occasional stints of running on the spot so he could slow himself down to my pace.
At “The Ravine”, the competitors were forced into single file to enter the first area of flowing water and I was grateful for the 10 minute hold up so I could get a breather and try and stick with the clan for a bit longer when we set off again. Unfortunately I took a stumble at the bottom and ended up in freezing water up to my waist – wet pants kinda slow me down.
The next obstacle was a scramble net leading directly into a gloopy expanse of potters clay. I seemed to take the gloopiest route and immediately fell to my knees as the clay grabbed me by the legs and refused to relinquish its grip as the rest of me attempted to move forwards. I dislodged one leg and slung it to the right where I felt I’d reach firmer ground. I ended up stuck again but this time in a semi-splits stance which proved rather uncomfortable and almost impossible to escape from. Thankfully Tanya and OGB were within yelling distance and they came back to assist. Tanya scrabbled around digging the clay from around my foot and OGB just yanked wildly. I managed to lever myself up by applying pressure to his shoulder. Just sufficient pressure to force him upto his knees in the same trap and yet still ensure my escape. I stormed off, trying to get another headstart while they strained to free each other.
I got my cummupence pretty quickly as a root shot out from nowhere and threw me into a commando roll. I landed on my feet eventually but they had already regained the lead.
The whole 8 miles was a relentless cycling of cold ponds, cold swamps and cold clay traps. Freezing, one could even say horrendous and yet it was all strangely invigorating. Who hasn’t wanted to don wellies and jump slap bang in the middle of the biggest puddle recently?
I did have rotten stomach cramps today though and I’m not sure that cold water immersion will ever take over the more usual hot water bottle and chocolate remedy.
We were still smiling at the end, chuffed to bits with our t-shirts and already planning our next mudfest – Hellrunner anybody?
Here’s the crazy route if you can make head or tail of it. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, I just felt like we’d been put in washing machine and spun around:
My time was 2:09, the other two came in a little before me as I released them for the last mile. Excellent first race Tanya, you’ll have a whopping pb here next year!