Total Warrior. I’ve either been in denial or ridiculous excitement about this event since I signed up in March (when it felt like a thousand years away). Luckily I had a good combo of training going on with my running and my pole, so I was curious to see how I’d go on the day.
I ran as part of Team Tempest from my dance school. There were 16 of us running in total. The banter was plentiful when we signed up, but as the weeks sped by, we soon started to get a little scared, with questions like “should we get knee pads to protect our knees?” or “will the underwire in my bra burn me when run through the electric shocks?”. We were clearly very prepared 😉
After the road trip there, we met at the start and got our all-important headbands and tattoos. Then we posed for even-more-important photos, and headed to the start line.
Team Tempest Warriors!
One of the girls watched 300 the night before in preparation, and every so often she’d shout “WARRIOR!” and we’d all shout “AHOOO!!” in our best warrior call. We knew what we were doing: we weren’t here to mess about.
The first three events was a taste of what was to come: we ran up and down the mountain side for about half a kilometer (which naturally dispersed the crowds), ran through small bonfires, and waded through a river. I ran with some of my friends at the start, and waited to try and find others, but after the river wade I lost sight of them and continued on my own.
What followed was the most fun race I’ve run yet. The running was off road with gorgeous hill views, and the obstacles were amazing. They break you into the mud gently: at first you’re climbing over small mounds of mud, and before you know it you’re wading through waist-deep mud, or crawling under barbed wire face down in mud. I never thought the phrase ‘happier than a pig in mud’ would literally apply to me (its alternative, however, will never apply to me!).
Not all obstacles were mud related: there were seriously high walls to climb over, with no stepping points, and rope climbs as well. Plus there were pools of freezing water to swim through, and narrow tunnels to crawl through. The best, though, was a giant slip’n’slide which ran down the side of the hill.
Tempest Warrior on the last obstacle
I had no idea about pacing, as I didn’t know how much energy the obstacles would require, but I actually found it much easier than I thought to run in between events. It wasn’t fast, but it was steady, and kept me warm, which was really important! The adrenaline after finishing each obstacle really helped propel me onwards.
Now, I am pretty competitive. I will admit that. Not with any of my team mates, but with myself. Along the course there were some pretty high walls/hay bales/random wooden structures, and at each one there were really kind, patient men helping women over them. I tried my absolute hardest to do each obstacle on my own, and apart from one of the tallest walls, I was successful. It’s stupid in a way, but I wanted to see how much of a personal challenge I could make this. I’m only 5’2″, and people often underestimate how stubborn I am at things like this! I could be the 6th Spice Girl: Stubborn Spice.
I was the first one back from Team Tempest Warriors in 1:44, and I stood by the sidelines cheering my teammates on as they tackled the last obstacle, took those all-important photos, and helped them with their foil wraps at the end!
That was the thing I enjoyed the most about the race: the camaraderie between everyone. We were all in this together. I loved running with our team: there’s a lovely sense of belonging. And everyone in Team Tempest Warriors did so well: our team came 148 out of 375 teams! Our team had people who were regular runners, people who did regular strength training, people who had never done this kind of thing before, and people who were there for the pure fun of it. And we all had our heads high at the end, and cheered each other on. Even though some of us had a tougher time than others, everyone was smiling at the end. Tired smiles. But smiles all the same.
Foil Blanket Smiles 😀
There is already talk about Team Tempest Warriors 2014, and some are even running another one in a few weeks time. Bring it on, I say! AHOOOOOOO!
PS – Dear Total Warrior organisers, the images I have used here have been purchased, but aren’t available for a few days. And I wanted to write about it today, so when the images are available I will definitely put them in instead of these tester ones.