Not to put too fine a point on it, I think lesser mortals may well have bottled on this one given the events of my last couple of weeks. Sporting a broken toe, heavily strapped, which meant that the only closed-in footwear I could put on was a pair of Crocs and having spent Thursday drugged up to the eyeballs on painkillers for a bad back, I might have been forgiven for concluding that the Universe was guiding me away from Saturday’s 5K… But as its name suggests, this is 50 Shades of Brave, and so it was that at 9 o’clock this morning, Georgia and I set off for Bute Park in Cardiff.
Car parked, and car key stashed deep in sports bra, we headed to check in. Our race packs had arrived months ago, so naturally we had no idea where they were and had to go to the information desk to get new race numbers. Then on to the start line, where a veritable pink army had already congregated ready to be warmed up and whipped up by a woman with a mic. And then the 10.15 runners (I use the term loosely) were up. Given the state of my foot, we had agreed that my only option was to walk the 5K at my own pace and Georgia had agreed to stay with me. So we joined the back of the bunch and off we sauntered!
It was really quite pleasant… We greeted the marshalls cheerily and walked along putting the world to rights… But the Pretty Muddy 5K is not just a walk in the park, and just before the 1K mark we came to the first obstacle. An inflatable hurdle with an inviting and unavoidable muddy pool the other side of it. Oh, and some friendly firefighters throwing buckets of muddy water at us whilst we negotiated our way through. I got a bucketful directly to the face and we emerged with wet tops and muddy feet.
More hurdles were up just before 2K. Five inflatable hurdles on the grass…pretty tame thank goodness, because the next obstacle was the aptly named ‘Down and Dirty’, which required us to wade through a pool of muddy water, ducking under ropes whilst having more muddy water thrown at us. It’s safe to say that we were both filthy and *very* wet after that one. We could see the next obstacle – tunnels full of mud. Not so bad, I thought, as there didn’t seem to be any water this time. According to Georgia, my technique for the tunnels was spot on – crouching and waddling, rather than crawling. Spot on, that is, right to the point where I slipped backwards at the tunnel exit and sat squarely in a puddle of thick wet mud. As I got up, my joggers were so heavy with mud I was slightly worried that they might start to fall down!!
Passing the 3K mark, we came to ‘Vertigo’ – an obstacle that required us to climb up a V-shaped rope frame and down the other side. The marshall looked at my footwear disapprovingly, but I was determined not to let any of the obstacles get the better of me, so over I went. The next kilometre was fairly nice and grassy, allowing me to walk barefoot and get the mud from between my toes! The next two obstacles we went through were hanging inflatables, dodging buckets of water from the side, and then across part of the course on space hoppers – great fun!
The final part of the course seemed to go really quickly. Past the 5K marker, and then suddenly there was a ‘500m to go’ sign. However, between us and the finish was a giant inflatable slide (and a big queue to get over it). We waited in line, still chatting, until we reached the front of the queue. We had to climb up the one side, aided by rope ‘ladders’. Again, climbing in Crocs was far from ideal… if anyone caught a picture of my face, it probably conveyed a mix of grit and determination plus sheer terror, both at the thought of slipping backwards down the rope ladder and of having to slide down the slide the other side…(I hate them!!!). But I made it to the top, and there was nothing to do but hold Georgia’s hand and ‘Geronimo!!!!!’
We crossed the finish line hand-in-hand and beaming. Medals, water and a snack, then back to the car where we both had to strip off, towel dry and change into dry clothes before the drive home.
And as I write this, the clothes are already on the line and both of us are showered and scrubbed clean. I may not have run the race as I had intended when I added it to my 50 list, but I feel a huge sense of accomplishment for having got up and completed the course when it would have been easy to make an excuse and not done it. My toe is throbbing and by tonight my back will probably be letting me know it’s there…but hey…Tired, and fulfilled.
Thanks for doing it with me Georgia x
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