1 . 8 . 13

‘Cake’ vs ‘Tough Mudder’


It was half past four on a Friday afternoon back in March 2013 and a happier than normal ‘vibe’ drifted around the creative corridors of twentytix towers.

‘Timeless’ tunes tickled their way around the office from wanna-be DJs and horrible musical clashes came about at various ‘dead spots’ in the office.  If you happened to sit somewhere that was equidistant from 2 (or perhaps even 3) separate music sources then you were basically subjected to the most horrific off-beat mix of something like “Call Me Maybe” and “Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble”.  Sadly, there are some happy clappers in the office who would enjoy such an eclectic mix.

The majority of the hard working folk at twentysix didn’t much care…They’d had a belly full of pizza, just collected a cold beer/wine from the fridge and were looking forward to an over-indulgent weekend, safe and secure in the knowledge that the twinkling, twentysix wage-fairy had kindly visited their bank accounts that morning and waved her magic wage-wand.

Pay-day at twentytix was historically and affectionately known as “Pizza Friday”. When 16:30 struck it was suddenly a double whammy! The words “Let’s go crazy bonkers mental” came to mind.  Beer Friday and Pizza Friday combined! Woooo hooooo! “Beerizza Friday” it shall hence forth be known as.

Over at my pod of desks in the corner by the window I raised a beer with my ‘ginger’ haired buddy Lawrie.  He had freakishly small hands (rumour had it) but still managed to raise his beer, albeit with difficulty.  We clunked bottles and made our traditional toast “to me” which we did every Friday.   I imagine I looked happy on the outside.

My mood on the inside was different though.  I had a problem, and a serious one at that.  I was having an affair with cake.  Like a scene from the film ‘American Pie’ I was literally* screwing it (*not literally).

If it was there, I’d eat it.  If slices were cut small for rationing purposes I’d just have several slices to make up for any short-fall.  If I started to eat some and it tasted disgusting, I’d still finish it (as I did at many a bake-sale). I’d bake it and eat it.  I’d buy it for others and eat it. My God I’d even steal it from a baby if its parents weren’t watching. I’d probably have even take it from Mike Tyson’s plate without fear of consequences.  I guess you could say I had a sweet tooth…

It had been big Jon Eland’s birthday that week.  He was 28 years old (again) and I’d helped myself to more than my fair share of the cake and goodies that he’d brought in.  Looking back now, I’m not even sure if anybody else got any.

I looked down at my belly.  It was full of Pizza Express ‘Il Padrino’ pizza, cake and beer.  If I looked carefully in the mirror, whilst sat down, I could see what resembled a frumpy face looking back at me.  It had nipples for eyes, and a sunken mouth where my belly fat rolled over the top of my tummy button.  My belly looked at me and I looked back at it and we both cried (on the inside).  There’s no other way to express my emotion here than to insert a colon, hyphen and a left bracket at the end of this sentence – I’ll even put it in bold :-(

The next day I went for my haircut in an attempt to lose a few pounds.  My hairdresser Jon had the most amazingly versatile, wavy  ginger hair that I think I’ve ever seen in my life.

With him being a hairdresser we talked about all types of guff-rubbish (although he’s never asked me the textbook hairdresser stuff such as “Are you going away anywhere nice on holiday this year” or “Are you off out tonight?” ).  In an attempt to get a few cheap laughs and some sympathy I fed him tails about my cake eating shenanigans.   He paused briefly to let me wipe the annoying tickly hair off my nose and introduced me to the idea of joining his “Tough Mudder” team “Popping The Cherry” with him and his mate.  Before doing a scrap of research I immediately said I’d be up for it and got myself registered.  I was now a “Cherry Popper”.



So, over the next few days I did the sensible thing and actually properly researched what I was letting myself in for.  There was an obstacle called “Hold Your Wood” (which I thought I might be good at), but on the whole, after watching several more videos and speaking to a few chaps at the gym (who happily told me horror stories of broken limbs and smashed teeth), I suddenly realised I was an actual real-life idiot.

I mean…I don’t like getting dirty, I’m an awful (AWFUL) swimmer, I hate heights, I can’t stand tight spaces, I hate the idea of extreme cold and extreme heat and I’m not keen on the idea of being electrocuted.  Especially with water around!  Luckily none of those things happen at Tough Mudder… Right?

Take a look at some of the photos and videos here:



I don’t get ‘real’ injuries (touch wood).  For as long as I can remember I’ve always had pathetic little niggles, knocks, strains and pulls.  I mean, it’s perfectly normal for me to put my back out whilst pulling my socks on or to miss a game of football after standing on one of my son’s toy Transformers on the landing but this particular injury could possibly take the biscuit (which by the way is a ridiculous expression).

Whilst crossing the road on my way to work I made a strategic and well thought out decision to adjust my man-bag strap on my shoulder – after all, it was uncomfortable and I had conjured up a well thought out plan in my own brain to address the situation.  I reached over across my moobs (which was a challenge) and adjusted the strap – all in one fluid movement.  And then it ‘twinged’.  Oh God it twinged!

Twinges are nothing new to me so I was confident that the shoulder would be fine in the morning but then an unplanned game of darts in the evening royally spoiled that prediction.  Even a couple of pints of the good stuff didn’t numb the pain. That unnecessary and quite frankly appalling performance at darts had aggravated my shoulder to such an extent that I couldn’t even lift my arm above shoulder height without grimacing like a toddler with a pretend tummy-ache.  Then, to top it all off, I slept on it ‘funny’ (which by the way, is another daft expression).  There was nothing funny about the pain I was in when I woke up though.  My pal ‘the shoulder-pain’ lasted approximately a month – to the delight of my friends who found it hilarious.  He came everywhere with me and made every day tasks a pain.  To compensate and in an attempt to show my shoulder who was boss I started using my other shoulder.  It turns out that my shoulders were quite good mates though and through over compensating I ended up with 2 bad shoulders.

During this uncomfortable and damn right depressing time, me and cake became acquainted again.  We’d missed each other and began dating again.  We met frequently (usually in the kitchen but occasionally at cafes).  As a result I put on just less than a stone – in one month!

This made me feel sad…



Fortunately the magical healing powers of cake kicked in and I was back in action, albeit with a mountain to climb.  I stopped eating cake (which I do pretty much every day), started eating healthily, and tripled my efforts.  One month on and I’ve now lost 7lbs of the cake weight that I put on and I’m feeling pretty good at the moment…which is why I’m writing this blog post.  I need your help.



So… enough of me blabbing.  This is the most important thing.  I’ll be honest, the real reason I’m doing this is for me.  It’s a massive personal challenge but what I’m putting myself through is nothing compared to what some people have been through and the challenges they face every day right now.  Please take time to check out the stories of the casualties involved in the Wounded Warrior project. Hit these links to find out more.



If you want to sponsor me that’d be great.  It’ll help with my motivation and the money obviously goes to a good cause.


It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able or even want to come and watch (unless you’re some kind of ‘sicko’ who wants to see me cry and hurt myself) but just in case you want to – here are the details.

Sunday September 8th, Time to be confirmed.  It’s a morning slot I think…

The Broughton Hall Estate
North Yorkshire
BD23 3AE

Thanks for reading this. It was nice knowing you.

The image that accompanies this blog post was created by James Whiteley. 

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