My journey of racing myself fit continued with last fortnight’s challenge of The Tuff Nutz Endurance Race. It wasn’t until the night before the race that I actually bothered to look at what it entailed! Described as a tough, dirty, wet endurance race of 11 miles in teams of 3 I thought it sounded tons of fun. I just keep forgetting I am not as fit as I used to be, and this was certainly harder than anything I’ve done before (apart from labour!).
At the start of the race we eyed up our competition (oh yes – despite not having a clue what we were doing, we were in this to win it!!) There was a brick that you had to carry from start to finish so we spent some time discussing our team tactics for that. Then we had a look at the first couple of obstacles: carrying a log each to a turnaround point, then a barrell, then a run through fire, then a scramble over and under a picnic table before climbing over the fence and running off into the distance. How hard could it be? I gave the girls a motivational talk “come on, we can do this – it’s all in the mind!”
Well in reality, I could barely lift the log at the start, almost got stuck under the picnic bench and once we hurled ourselves over the fence we charged hell for leather…..in the wrong direction!!! We soon got sent back by another team and continued to sprint randomly hoping for a divine intervention. In hindsight this makes me laugh so much – little did we realise that we’d actually be racing for over 2 and a half hours (YES – TWO AND A HALF HOURS FOR 11 MILES!) and that we would most definitely not be able to sustain anywhere near the pace we were running at! We quickly realigned our goals from ‘winning’ to ‘please dear God let me finish this’. Also, our plan to take it in turns to carry the brick soon went out the window when we realised that Jess was actually half super-hero so she carried it for 10.9 miles of the run!
The obstacles we faced ranged from carrying a boulder across the beach (not forgetting the brick), running over marshland and swamps (literally disappearing up to our waists), finding various numbers and adding and subtracting them (it is so hard to use your brain when you’re tired!), crawling under cargo nets (a high messy bun on the top of your head slows you down for this!), climbing over seawalls, shuffling along railings, getting from A to B by moving along crates, abseiling with ropes, filling up buckets and dragging it up hills (about 5 times), and so on!
Writing this now it actually sounds like fun. But it was hideously hard!!! I think Sophie and I were even close to tears at one point when we’d been running for over 2 hours, had no idea where we were (or more importantly what challenge was coming next)…..and literally exhausted from trying to keep up with bionic Jess and her brick!
There were also times when we’d get to junctions and see other teams consult their maps and course descriptions. What a great idea – only Jess had decided we didn’t need to bring that!!
Of course as soon as we saw the finish line, memories of exhaustion and hunger faded and the sense of achievement and adrenaline took its place. We shuffled over the line feeling rather smug and proud of ourselves…..all for one, and one for all! After a nice warm shower we enjoyed a picnic with some homemade ham butties, orange juice in wine glasses and a sweet potato birthday cake for Sophie. We then applauded the prize winners and found out we came third ladies team, (and 15th out of all teams) which was a super suprise.
A long drive home and I was then reunited with The Bobster. A thoroughly enjoyable day with lots of lessons learnt – namely don’t trust Jess with a map; read about the race before you enter; and good friends never let you do crazy things alone. Thanks Sophie and Jess….bring on next year!