It’s easy to say that the run up to Total Warrior wasn’t a normal pre-race week. Normally I’m buzzing, planning my meals, training and recovery so I turn up on the start line the best version of my running self. This week however has been filled with worrying, work and toothache. Not life changing crappy stuff. But enough to throw me off kilter.
Once arriving home from work on Friday I even found myself thinking, can I actually be bothered with running tomorrow? And this really threw me. I’ve NEVER felt like that about a race. I’ve always focused on the fact I do all this for fun.
Que a whole evening of over thinking, over analysing and over worrying. You get the idea. I just didn’t feel myself.
Start line limits
But before I knew it, there I was standing on the start line surrounded by Warrior Fit and Race Fitness friends ready to take on 10k of mud and mayhem. I’d made a decision, I wasn’t going to worry about finishing times, I wasn’t going to worry about what anyone else was doing, it was just going to be an hour (or two depending how slow I was) just for me.
The pre-race music thudded through the crowd, the energy began to build and it was at this point I heard the words ‘electric shocks’ (also known as The Shocker, 100s of electric wires that you have to run through) booming over the megaphone. And it was also at this point I wished I’d done a little bit more research into what obstacles lay ahead of me. Rookie.
Most OCR veterans will have experienced electric shock obstacles before. It’s a common thing at races (don’t ask me why). But I’ve been lucky enough to steer clear of any races with them. Not today. I turned round to my teammates and loudly declared, I won’t be doing them. That’s where I draw the line. No electric shocks for me today. And then 3,2,1, it was time to run.
Lungs and legs
Total Warrior starts with a brutal up and down hill zig zag, basically enough climbing to have you questioning if your lungs are going to implode in the first 2 minutes. It was time to get my head down, tune everything out and get in the game. And surprisingly, I managed to. Mud pits, crawls and climbs began to wizz past ( the word ‘wizz’ must be taken lightly, lets not kid ourselves into thinking I’m fast!)
I’d found my running flow. The holy grail of running. Where things just seem to click into place. Where you don’t worry about friends or family, you don’t over analyse that decision you made at work and you don’t berate yourself for not being as fit as you used to be. All you think about is putting one foot in front of the other, moving forward, the worry-load lightening a little bit with every stride.
And then, there it was. The Shocker.
By this point the field had spread out and I’d found myself running pretty much on my own. Nobody (apart from the marshal) would know if I skipped it. Except, annoyingly I would know. If I shied away every time I was faced with something that truly challenges me, i’d end up sitting on the sofa in my pants eating ice cream and hating life. (Maybe not totes hating life, if it was praline and cream ice cream I’d actually be in heaven). But you get the point, I hadn’t signed up to Total Warrior because I thought it was going to be easy. I sign up for races BECAUSE they are a challenge. It just turns out the mud and walls just aren’t quite as mentally challenging now.
So I pulled up my badass pants, put the foot down and charged. Whilst squealing (like cool kids do) PLEASE DON’T SHOCK ME. A sharp zap to the arm and I was out the other side. I’d done it. Something I’d drawn the line under. Something I’d said I’d never do.
But no time for celebrating yet. I still had the rest of the course to finish. I got back in the flow, jumped, climbed, crawled and swam and before I knew it I was finished.
And I was happy.
It was my second year competing in Total Warrior and they always bring their A game. LOTS of mud, fun obstacles and some nice trail running. My only slight reservation was how similar it was to last year, but I suppose there’s only so much you can change.
This year I finished in 1hr 22minutes, 32nd out of 996 woman. And I’m pretty damn chuft with that.
Before this race I already had it in my head that I wasn’t going to do well. Even on the start line I was drawing mental lines of what I could and could not do. But why? Fear of failure? Fear of not doing as well as I did last year? Fear of being embarrassed to be the slowest in the team?
I can tell myself how silly all those things are when I look back at them. But I promise you they didn’t feel silly when I had a wee cry in the car on the way to the race (loser I know).
But what IS silly is setting yourself limits. How many times have you heard people saying, ” Oh, I just couldn’t do…enter big awesome scary goal…”. What is that really helping us achieve? Now I’m not saying I should of been on the start line chanting “watch me fly bitches because I’m going to win”. But maybe, “watch me fly bitches because I’m going to do my best” would have been a better start.
I’ve got Banchory Beast Race next weekend, and maybe it’s time to fly!
I also couldn’t write this blog without mentioning the AMAZING performance all round for Team Warrior Fit. We came in 2nd team and had some solid finishing places. Including my fav Jamie finishing the course faster than last year despite four pints the night before!
Currently: Pleased with myself for getting all the housework and food shopping done this morning (gangsta!)
Training today: Some yoga later to loosen off the muscles
Adventure this week: Beating The Shocker.