Team Darley, now officially ‘Heavy Ten’ regularly train with Jarrat on Thursday afternoons, and we noticed our program suddenly switched from a walk in the park to a strenuous 45 minutes of pain! I guess this was still somewhat easy because if we were going to complete the Mudder course it was going to have to be three to five sets of 45 minutes, as the average course time is between three to three and a half hours. Jarrat’s training program was designed to mimic the Tough Mudder course which included a few minutes of running followed by a compound exercise tiring the upper body and back to running, it flowed in a circuit format of about seven exercises that went for 12-15 minutes followed by a short break, then repeated twice more in the session. Some of the Regenisis members who have been in the gym on a Thursday afternoon may have seen us crawling around on the floor on all-fours in a weird manner, let me tell you, all of Jarrat’s designed exercises came in handy at some point of the 18km run and props must go to Jarrat for researching the Mudder course and effectively implementing related movements into his training sessions!
The Sydney Tough Mudder event was staged over two days, of which a reported 12,000 Mudders attempted the event on Saturday the 12th and Sunday the 13th of October at Eastern Creek Raceway. Pre race there were people dressing up, or dressing down, throwing on body paint, pulling 4WD utes with ropes and trying to break push up and chin up records. Groups of what appeared to be about 600 people begin the course in 20 minute intervals, however before you even get to the starting line you must climb a wooden wall eight foot high (don’t worry they get higher the further you progress through Tough Mudder). Upon climbing the starters wall you are greeted by the Tough Mudder starting marshal where he attempts to get you all psyched up to begin the course. After 10 minutes of pre-race hype you are suddenly hit in the face with a loud ACDC like rock tune and before you know it you are running through artificial smoke like you’re about to run out on the field for the NRL/AFL Grand Final, only to realise you’re actually trudging along the initial stages of a gruelling 18km commando course. The only good news is, there is no rush!
Running along the Ex-V8 Speedway your first obstacle comes up in no time (bale bonds from memory) and just as quickly and enthusiastically behind you, then comes some small tire walls and hills, “piece of cake” I remember thinking. We turned a corner to see people in front of us diving into muddy water and scrambling like crazy, hmmm an Electric Eel obstacle! This is where you must crawl on your stomach against a bed of muddy water and rocks as fast as you can because dangling centimetres above are electrified live wires ready to zap anyone hanging around too long. Can I just say that in this obstacle at about three-quarters of the way through I thought I made it without any trouble when all of a sudden it felt like someone jabbed me in the head with a quick left, shaking it off I only then realised it was a nice volt of electricity, this head shot is creatively called a brain reboot and quickly reminded me of the scene from The Hangover (Fast forward to one minute 20 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RhrITVCvrM). It is only after finishing this little beauty of an obstacle that you come back down to earth and accept this might be a bit harder than you first thought, you’re muddy from head to toe, your shoes are full of water, you have a couple of tiny cuts to your knees and elbows and you could even be missing your race number that you only put on 20 minutes prior.
Throughout the remainder of the course obstacles like: the berlin walls, cage crawl, boa constrictor, everest, hero carry, kiss of mud, trench warfare and walk the plank are attempted and to be honest all are designed to be achievable, nothing is out of reach and there is always other Mudders around willing to lend you a hand (literally) to get over the obstacle. Overall obstacles such as the funky monkey, arctic enema and electro shock therapy appeared to be the most feared obstacles by all who attend, but funnily enough also give the crowd of onlookers the most enjoyment watching! All obstacles can be seen by viewing http://toughmudder.com.au/obstacles/.
At the finish line you are greeted by people clapping you home, staff who place an official Tough Mudder headband on your dirty skull (which you only get if you finish), a new t-shirt to continue your new crazy lifestyle, a big can of crushing solo and the very best can of VB (to be honest I was too stuffed to drink the VB myself). Oh and ladies, sorry no champagne available on site.
Now we have finished the course, and in good time too I might add (the boys and I timed in at roughly two hours and 15 minutes, but remember it’s not about times it’s just about finishing) lets review Jarrat and his training. Although Jarrat’s training helped 100% physically a lot of it is mental, to pick yourself up of the ground and keep going, wet, muddy, bleeding, crying or all of the above. Unfortunately Jarrat can’t help beat mental barriers, that’s all on you. The four of us all seemed to have weak points in the course (I won’t embarrass anyone…lets just say electro shock therapy can knock guys over) but working as a team we managed to pull each other through those areas of fatigue. The only point I will make that I think we missed in training for Tough Mudder, was the mud in the shoes! It was definitely under-rated pre-race and was probably the main barrier to finishing the course, your legs weighed an extra five kilos a couple of kilometres into the event. On that note “Dear memory, next year if I am mad enough to do it again use ankle weights or weighted shoes in training, sincerely sore legs and feet”.
Apologies to those who I may have turned off doing the event in the future, however as they say, its better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.