Sunday night was my first real training run in preparation for Europe's Toughest Mudder. Being relatively inexperienced in the Obstacle Racing scene I am nervous about the event but in particular starting at midnight, pitch black, something I have never experienced in all my years running.
"Now, I am not going to put a brave face on it, those first 2 miles were terrifying"
For those that don’t know, Tough Mudder is an obstacle race set at various distances to test athletes endurance, strength and craziness. Europe’s Toughest Mudder is a whole other challenge. 8 hours of running through these obstacles starting at midnight in the pitch black.
After sending out a few desperate messages trying my best to get company for the run, with no luck, I decided to just go for it. Once the kids were sleeping I headed to the top of Overton Road where I decided to run the 'Greenock Cut' anti-clockwise. The street light from the town below provided some comfort before heading into the dark abyss.
"all I could see were random eyes darted about various parts of the hillside"
Now, I am not going to put a brave face on it, those first 2 miles were terrifying. I started to realise that my head torch was not producing as much light as I would have liked but luckily enough I have run this route so many times over the years I knew what to expect underfoot. Following the ancient monument that is the 'Greenock Cut' I started to get a little paranoid, hearing the bushes rustle to phantom noises and playing scenarios over and over again in my head but assuring myself that no one else was daft enough to be up here at this time of night, right!? Every corner provided a unique change in temperature I have never felt before. Each section which did not have the sun during the day was freezing cold and only 100 metres away there was a strange warmth where the sun had been several hours ago, or maybe this was a little pee from the fear... One thing I couldn't get used to was how the sheep and cows eyes light up with the light from the head torch, all I could see were random eyes darted about various parts of the hillside.
Beyond the lights of Greenock now and turned the corner heading to the Cornalees Centre provided a peaceful calm away from the wind and noise of the town below. The stars were incredible! A perfect clear, cold night (-1 oC) provided the best night sky I have seen for some time, the moon shone across Loch Thom and I had to stop for a picture to try and capture the moment. Fail. The camera phone just can't capture the scene at all. I was actually starting to enjoy the run now.
I completed the 7 mile loop but found myself wanting more so I added a further 3 miles just to get to an even number, a little obsessive I know. Overall an enjoyable experience but hopefully next time I will have some company. In perspective this is only 1 hour and 10mins of running with no obstacles, only another 6 hours and 50 mins to go on race day in June 2018.
Thanks to l&g learning who have kindly sponsored me to take part in Europe's Toughest Mudder.
The route and times on Strava - https://www.strava.com/activities/1252819002