The Tough Guy & Girl challenge has been on my bucket list since its inception in 07, back then the only city you could complete the challenge in was Rotorua which makes it an expensive “outing” if you include transport and accommodation! Auckland was included as a venue in 2009 however I had Isabelle that year she was challenging enough 😉
Fast forward a couple of years and I had no excuses, 2011 was THE year to cross this sucker off my bucket list! Although I had it on my list to do it was just sheer luck that I even entered. It wasn’t till I got back from Europe and checked my calender that I realised that the event was the following week! Eeek! I had just had five weeks off all training and had indulged in holiday food. This was going to be hard work!
I woke up on the day of the challenge to clear skies and I quietly thanked God. It was chilly though, so I dressed warm, long tights, rugby socks and a polyprop under my t-shirt, James on the other hand thought it was warm and decided to wear shorts and a compression top. I was cold just looking at him. 😉The competitors notes strongly suggested that you tape your shoes to your feet, I thought this sounded like overkill, but after talking to people who had done it previously I thought it was better to be safe than sorry ..
Shoes taped, competitor number pinned on the front of my top and bladder emptied .. we were ready for the start gun. As there were so many people James decided that he would run at Julia pace and help me through the mud. I knew I married him for more than his good looks (although those looks are REALLY good) 😉
The 12k run started 15 minutes before ours, so we just hung around the back checking out all the people in fancy dress. On a side note, if I ever do this again with a group of girls, I want to dress like Lara Croft. When it was our time to start we were “herded” into the starting shoot. The countdown started .. and at the word go .. we were still standing still, the joy of doing an event with 1000+ people. 😉
Basically the course included running through farm land and the forest (the forest was my fav part), jumping over equestrian hurdles, crawling under obstacles, jumping over and running through swamps. Most people came for the swamps, I was not so keen on that part, especially when you get to the last swamp and its only wide enough for one person at a time, so you spend LOTS and LOTS of time stuck in a cold and smelly swamp .. not really my cuppa tea!
James was true to his word and ran with me, he is too quick for me so I was chasing his tail for quite a large portion of it. But whenever we got to a hill he would grab my hand and literally pull me up it, now thats one hell of a workout! (For him) We both finished in under an hour (which was our goal) my official time was 50:46 and James was 50:32.
One thing I do know .. after running through swamps and crawling under netting in a mud puddle you end up looking like this …
The one thing I was truly grateful for (apart from James pulling me up the hills) were the hot shower facilities. When you are at the venue you see why this event is more expensive than your average fun run. The facilities were great and all designed to get you clean and warm you up after being in the swamp.
Although I would suggest, if you ever do this event in the rain that you bring a blanket to cover yourself up while you are waiting for a shower. Before you go to the shower you hose most of the mud off yourself, so you end up being colder than when you emerged from the swamp.
Also I saw one intelligent lady pop on a pair of gumboots after getting changed .. great idea because everything is muddy and wet, you cant even wear long pants because the bottoms get covered in mud! The only thing is I don’t own a pair of gumboots, I see they do cute pink ones these days, whats one more pair of shoes in the collection. 😉
Would I do it again? .. not so sure about that. Unless it’s like giving birth and you forget how horrible it actually was I wouldn’t think so. But lets give it a year and see.
One thing I do know … I am tough enough. I even have a mug to prove it!
Till next time