There were tears, there was an unexpected Tough Mudder toddler, there was hail and glorious sunshine. And there were nine proud mums (and one dad), who got their headband and wore the T-shirt (and very much enjoyed the free beer), at the 5k Urban Tough Mudder in Finsbury Park.
I honestly never thought I’d get a team of ten of us to do the 5k Tough Mudder. The fact that these women (and Andy), trusted me, was quite frankly, terrifying. It was as much a journey for me, as it was for them. There’s a lot of responsibility as a pre and post-natal personal trainer in getting mums ready for an obstacle course race. My aim was to get everyone to the end in one piece, without injury. What I like about Tough Mudder is that there’s no pressure to complete the obstacles – so if there was something which didn’t feel quite right for someone, it was more than acceptable to skip it. For me, this was important.
After having put our miles in during the Park Run and getting fitness classes in, the day had finally arrived! We had one slight hiccup the evening before as one of the girls said that her physio had advised her not to do it as she had been diagnosed with a grade 1 prolapse. I know what it’s like to be in the situation where you desperately want to do something yet you know you shouldn’t. The physio was absolutely right though – whilst the 5k Tough Mudder isn’t as strenuous as a full Tough Mudder, there would be a lot of movement which would very likely make it worse. However, we had a chat and in the end decided that she’d still join the team, but as our sub-coach. So gentle running, which was allowed by her physio, and lots of encouragement and photo taking! That’s true dedication.
On the day, it was pretty chilly. There was a biting wind and none of the sun that we’d been hoping for. Who cares! We had our Warrior spirit and that’s all we needed! Warrior Method T-shirts came on, glitter army stripes were painted (Andy opted for black, the rest of us had mermaid blue – all eco friendly from Eco Stardust), babies had last minute boob and then we were off! We snuck into the 11am wave with our Media pass entitlement, squatted and chanted during the warm-up and set off for our first obstacle in the midst of coloured smoke and music. There was a real festival air.
This post is going to be less about Tough Mudder in detail, you can read what I wrote about it for Healthy Living London for that, and more about how awesome we all were as parents. To have trained for a Tough Mudder, whilst also struggling with sleep deprivation, hormones and lack of time is a feat every single one of us was proud of. The majority of our team weren’t ‘sports people’ and for many, our weekly 5k Park Runs were the longest we’d ever run. And yet, we were not only doing a 5k but a 5k Tough Mudder!
Some of the team knew each other from training sessions and some were meeting for the first time that day, but parenthood and the prospect of the unknown has a funny way of bringing people together very quickly. Right from the start, before we’d even set off, encouragement was offered, tactics discussed and mutual feelings of ‘Bloody Hell*, what have we got ourselves into?!’ were shared.
Enthusiasm and excitement were high the whole time, and even though we had a few particularly hairy moments – for example, when Kathryn got cramp whilst perched on Andy’s shoulders during the Pyramid scheme with others on top of her, when we realised that Everest was a lot tougher than we thought – both from the point of view from the people at the top responsible for helping others up, and for the person trying to get up, when the Tight Squeeze was actually too tight a squeeze and when some of us realised we had a massive fear of heights at the top of Next Level. There were also some hilarious moments, and I’ll never forget that guy who checked out his hair on his phone as he ran to the next obstacle! Dude, WTF?!
How did I feel after? Amazing. And amazed that I’d done it. Really didn’t think I would ever be a person who had done a Tough Mudder. Those people are crazy!! It made me feel stronger than I have done in a long while
~ Cassie, mum of a two year old
It felt attainable and achievable yet also a challenge.
~ Kathryn, mum of two year old twins
Best part of Tough Mudder HAD to be doing it as a team. I never thought I’d meet a bunch of such lovely people who would help me overcome so many obstacles, the toughest being my life long lack of self belief in my ability to achieve physically!
~ Phoebe, mum of a seven month old
In true #mumlife fashion too, we ended up taking Cassie’s toddler around with us in his buggy (which isn’t a racing buggy, I might add) as her childcare arrangements hadn’t quite worked to plan. This just goes to show that parents have it tough and we’re nothing but resilient. She could have quite easily abandoned the course halfway through but she’s one of the toughest cookies I know and so he came with us. And everyone supported, taking turns to run with the buggy. We even had some very sweet offers from others to push it too. It’s moments like these which fill me with joy.
We couldn’t have done it without…
Better You Magnesium EVERYTHING! We were each gifted a set of their Magnesium range which was not only blimmin’ generous but an absolute lifesaver. Or should that be muscle-saver? Most of us used the body butter and magnesium oil spray daily and the magnesium flakes after our workouts. As well as helping us recover faster, magnesium is also reported to help with anxiety and stress and also aid sleep. Something which every mum needs! For those who were breast-feeding, it also helped inadvertently as stress hindered milk production. Happy mum, happy baby… I also learnt a lot about our diet when reading about magnesium – apparently farming methods and declining soil quality means that we only get 80% of our magnesium requirement through our UK diet.
Some of my favourite photos
The great thing about Tough Mudder is that it’s a team event. A team event with no pressure – there’s no pressure to do an obstacle if you don’t want and it’s not timed. It’s not about any of that – it’s about having fun and moving differently, facing fears and testing yourself. It was the perfect first obstacle course race for us. Would we do it again? Nah… we’re going for the full Tough Mudder next!
*I’ve toned this down massively. The language used was much more… fruity.