Well, I ran Toughguy on Sunday (Braveheart II). This was my second toughguy having completed Nettle Warrior in the summer.
Toughguy is billed as “The Worlds safest, most dangerous taste of mental and physical pain, fear and endurance.”
It’s a 6 mile cross country run with a few obstacles for good measure, deep ditches of water and mud, hay bales, tree steeplechases, cargo netting, and steep hills to keep running up and down. Then when you have finished all that you enter the killing fields obstacle course (twice round in the summer) this covers about another 2 miles if you don’t take into account all the ups and downs. There are walls to climb over, rope bridges, monkey bars, tall climbing frames, tyre tunnels, electric shocks, tunnel pipes to crawl through, lakes, barbed wire to crawl under, dark underground chambers, water tunnels… And on and on. All with lots of mud and water, so that you are constantly wet and heavy with mud! No amount of text here can describe the awfulness of the killing fields!
I completed the summer event, emotionally and physically broken. I spent four and a half hours on the course dragging my sorry arse around.
So I signed up for the winter one!
Luckily, most of January has been more clement that December. The temperature had just started dropping again, but at -3 it was still milder that last years -7. That said water that has a good centimetre of ice on the top of it, is bitterly, painfully, cold!
There’s not much to say about the day. I managed to complete the main running part of the event as expected. The 10 slaloms hurt like hell. The water burnt and your feet and legs become numb.
The first part that surprised me was the torture chamber. The electric shock stuff in there never bothered me in the summer, but it mega hurt this time. It’s not fun as your body convulses in a small enclosed dark area. Especially when the convulsion makes you hit another electric wire! I’m not sure if they had turned the dial up or if it was just the cold and wet.
The underground tunnels were much more unpleasant this time too. I’m a little too big for them, so I can’t crawl on my hands and knees. In the summer I was able to lay on my back and push myself with my feet. This time I had to lay front and inch along on my elbows. This is unpleasant in the pitch black tunnels, but much worse in the tunnels that are climbing upward!
But the thing that finished me off was the cold water. You’re almost constantly in and out of the water to varying depths. I had fallen over in one of the ditches early on and got the full submersion that i hadn’t been expecting till much later. After walking around the lake (that’s in the lake up to my chest in water) and ducking under the tunnels , I came to the death plunge… Walking the plank into 8ft of icy cold water..And that was it… I just couldn’t go on… I was too cold, too numb, and just couldn’t face any more water! And i knew all the other obstacles still to come.
So I turned tail and headed back to the changing rooms… Strangely enough I wasn’t at all disappointed.
I woke this morning with a little different take on it. I was a little disappointed that i hadn’t finished. I didn’t regret my decision to stop; I made the right decision for how i felt at that moment in time. My body was telling me something and I had to listen… However I woke with the thought of ‘what if?’ If I had just taken that plunge, could i have overcome the rest? I had been on the go for two and a half hours, and probably had another thirty to forty minutes left… could I have kept going or would have that led to hyperthermia?
And now i find myself thinking: do I try again?