It's official - we're 2x Tough Mudder Legionnaires!
Challenge number two of my Mountains, Mud and Marathons fundraising took place at Drumlanrig Castle (Outlander filming location!) on a beautifully sunny day. We stayed at the Kenbridge Hotel just a forty minute drive away, and made our way along the windy roads bright and early for the 8.30am starting wave.
As usual our Epic team mates joined us for the day. We had a bigger team than last year. I was worried we'd end up splitting up but we stuck together for the whole course, helping each other along the way. Team work makes the dream work as they say!
As expected we were covered in mud at the very first obstacle. Helped by the random who splashed me right in the face! I made a big mistake and wore different trainers than usual which I instantly regretted at the Kiss of Mud. Bad times when you have to dig your trainers out at the very first hurdle - or rather my team mates did, thanks guys!
That moment you realise your trainers are stuck in the mud and not coming out with you!
I spent the whole race wondering when they'd come off again but luckily one of the marshalls showed me a trick, putting little loops into my laces and tying them at the sides so they were much more secure around my ankles. They stayed on for the rest of the race, including two rounds of Mud Mile. (Below!) Top tip - wear trainers that are tight with no movement at all around your ankle. I'll stick to my old faithfulls in future.
Shoe problems aside, we had a brilliant day out. Tough Mudder felt totally different to last year. It was the same location and very similar route but felt, dare I say it, easier. Whether that's down to my own fitness, the slightly shorter length (from close to 12miles, down to 10.5), the change in obstacles or just that I'd done it before and knew what to expect, I don't know. Even the icy water of Arctic Enema didn't feel so bad! Well, it did but I was slightly less shocked, traumatised or drowned. It took us just under four hours to complete with 18 of us sticking together.
My favourite obstacles are still the team based challenges - Everest, Pyramid Scheme and the Blockness monster. Some had been made slightly easier, with ropes to help climb Everest, and an extra wooden plank across the Pyramid Scheme, which we chose to ignore and use the same human ladder tactic as last year. Where's the fun in just running up it? That's what Everest is for!
At the top of Everest - in one attempt!
My biggest worry leading up to race day was King of the Swingers, which I failed to conquer last year. I was relieved to see it missing from this year's course map! There were a few new additions - my personal favourite being the Snot Rocket, where we had to climb up a tube with water raining down on top of us. The worst, in my opinion, was Shawshanked! You crawled backwards through a tunnel and had to drop backwards, like a diver, down into the water below. My mind got the better of me and I couldn't drop back head first, I had to awkwardly get my feet out first.
I felt like they'd removed some of the mentally challenging obstacles and replaced them with more physically demanding ones. Funky Monkey 2.0 and Kong were Ninja Warrior style monkey bar/hoop challenges and I couldn't get further than the first bar on either of them. A few of our team smashed both though - high fives to Gordon, Doug and Billy!
As a Legionnaire, you can skip the infamous electricity that everybody dreads. And we would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for those pesky kids! The commentator spotted our Epic t-shirts at the final obstacle and waited for us to finish Kong, before rounding up all 18 of us to take on Electroshock Therapy together - in a conga. My face says it all!
I have to admit it was a great way to finish the day though. All 18 of us together, just like we had been at the start, holding on for dear life. I bloody love Team Epic - we couldn't have done it without them!
We received an orange 2017 headband at the finish line, as well as the extra green one for completing our second course, along with a finishers tshirt, bottled water, Trek bars, For Goodness Shakes protein or recovery drink and a bottle of Kingston Press. Cider has never tasted so good!
Check out our GoPro footage from the day on my YouTube Channel. Don't forget to give it a thumbs up and subscribe to see more! Despite being adamant this would be my last Tough Mudder, I've got the bug again and signed up for Scotland 2018 already!
Have you completed Tough Mudder? Which obstacles do you love or hate?!