I can’t believe almost 2 weeks have passed since I completed one of the most difficult and physical challenges of my life!!
Earlier this year, along with 9 other crazy individuals (including my gorgeous fella Superman) I signed up for Total Warrior.
Total Warrior is a 12k assault course with 30 insane obstacles which includes jumping over flames, being caked in shit loads of mud and throwing my not so petit 14 stone 4lb body over 6ft high walls!!!
As anyone living with fibromyalgia will tell you, getting out of bed in a morning can be a traumatic event due horrific pain in our muscles. Some mornings it can feel like you have taken part in a triathlon the night before, when all you actually did was lie on the settee and watch Geordie Shore back to back for 5 hours with a giant bag of Flaming Hot Monster Munch!!
So I knew that taking on this challenge would be an absolutely ridiculous idea, especially 10 months after giving birth to a baby who still doesn’t sleep through the night!!
So “Why on earth did you take this on you crazy woman????” I hear you cry…
Because, 2 years ago this March, the love of my life lost his wonderful Mother to Cancer and wanted to do something special to honour the woman who made him the wonderful man he is today. Unfortunately for me and Bean, we never had the honour of meeting her. I met Superman in April …. just under a month after his Mum’s death, something I wish every day I could change as I would have loved to have met her!!
And that’s the reason I took the challenge on, for Jean and for my Superman, who has been by my side through depression, anxiety and my most painful fibro days. I owed him this, I needed to be by his side and return the favour!
There was also part of me that wanted to prove to myself (and everyone I know) that I could take on something that seemed so impossible for me to complete and smash it in the face!!!
According to the Total Warrior website, ideally, you should train your ass off and be in some kind of physical shape to be able to take the challenging obstacles on.
Yeah, that didn’t happen at all!!!!
Apart from weekly 1 hour dance practices (my main form of regular exercise) and the odd 1 mile jog, I’d achieved very little when it came to training for this epic event. The intention was there, believe me, I was desperate to look like Lara Croft by the end of it, but my body had other plans and continuously became ill after signing up in February.
But that wasn’t going to stop me, oh no. I would get round that course if it killed me, powered by pure adrenaline and carried by angels. I have never felt so determined to achieve something in my life!!!
Before I knew it, 27th June was here and physically, I wasn’t prepared at all!! Mentally, however, I was more than ready to honour someone I loved so much without even meeting her!
It’s safe to say, I was shitting myself whilst crammed like cattle in the starting area, my anxiety levels were through the roof and I’d told my precious Bean that I loved her a million times before we set off as I was convinced I was going to die on my way round (not to be dramatic or anything!!) All 10 of us (Team Dirty Harry) were ready to go, so I made us all kiss the sky for Jean and off we went.
The first obstacle was tough!! Running up and down a steep banking might not look or sound that bad but trust me, it was the hardest of the lot and put me right to the back of our wave. Luckily for me, Superman vowed to stick with me the whole time no matter how long it took me, shouting words of support along with my friends and my brother!
I was so happy for it to be over, but then realised that was only the first obstacle and I had another 29 to complete!!!!!
Most of the obstacles were actually fun, espacially the muddy ones! Now, usually, I’m not a fan of getting muddy and swimming through lakes where fish might eat me, but those were actually my favorite challenges.
There were a couple of embarrassing moments, one being on the first water obstical. Trust me to slip down the banking, trip over my own feet and lose control of my bladder. I knew I’d end up weeing myself at some point but not 15 minutes in!!!! #mumbladder
I managed to complete most of the obstacles quite easily. Some of them, however, we’re hard! And I mean mentally as well as physically.
One of them being 2 long, narrow tunnels, half filled with mud that you had to crawl through. The first was down hill which made it easier but the second one was flat and rough on the old skin!
I’ve always had a fear of getting stuck in tunnels and pipes (thanks to my massive bottom) so this one sent my anxiety through the roof!!!!!!
Luckily for me, I had my brother behind me shouting words of encouragement and Superman in front, ready to drag me out at the end.
The next difficult challenge was jumping over fire and landing in muddy water (yeah that’s what we needed, more mud!!!) I was absolutely petrified and had to take a minute to compose myself. I could have quite easily quit right there and then, but I had come too far and had already achieved things I never thought were possible. I had to do it!! There were people manning each obstacle, offering words of encouragement, which helped me massively. The lovely bloke manning what was aptly named “The Human BBQ” was brilliant and told me to wait for other runners to go and then it would be my turn. Unfortunately for me, the next runners were also tentative which ment I had to wait and stare some more at the roaring flames that could burn holes into my trusty 9 year old trainers.
I dont know what came over me, I just needed to do it right there and then!!! As I pushed the people in front of me aside, shouting “OUT OF MY WAY”, I lept so bloody high, screaming loudly and landing in a pool of muddy water without a burn insight….. never had I ever felt so proud!!!!
We were almost at the end, reaching that 10k mark was exciting, only 2k to go!! But seeing as we had already been at it for well over 3 hours in one of the hottest days we’ve had in a while, I was physically drained and starting to struggle, even with the end being so close in sight.
Luckily for me, my family popped into view and having my oldest brother (who was a Total Warrior veteran and came along with his Step daughter to support us) cheer us on, really helped! Then I saw everyone else, including my stepchildren, my Mum and the Bean…. I had to complete this!
I wanted to set a great example for my daughter, that no matter how hard the challenge or how many people say you won’t make it (because people did), if you work hard enough, you can achieve anything!
So I carried on, with my friends, brother and love of my life by my side, approaching that final 1k.
I had definitely hit a wall by this point, I was exhausted, weighed down with at least a stones worth of mud in my shoes, pants and bra, and even though we were so close, that last 1k felt like 10 miles!!
As we approached the final obstacle, a 15ft wall with only a short cargo net to help you (that you had to run half way up to grab), so many thoughts and emotions flooded my mind.
We were finally here, I actually made it THIS far. My family were at the finish line with only one obstacle in my way. What if I can’t get up? What if I fall and die? What if Superman can’t get up, falls and dies????????
With all that in mind, I ran. I ran at that wall as if it was a giant butterscotch tart and eating it would be my reward! Catching the cargo net was only half the challenge, next would be getting my fat ass up to the top!!
You know that scene in An Officer and a Gentleman, where Seeger in desperately trying to walk the wall? Well that was me!! But instead of Richard Gere, I had my friends, brother and Superman, telling me to “WALK THAT WALL!!!”
I was terrified of falling, even more of failing, but with pure determination, I made it! Now it was Superman’s turn, and as our Team Captain, he wanted to be the last to finish. I was so proud of him when he joined me at the top of that wall, we kissed the sky for his Mum, who I know would have been so proud, climbed down and ran towards the finish line…..
We made it!!!
We passed the finish line and hugged each other so tight! Me and my Superman finished together, which is exactly what we wanted. It took 4 hours in total, roughly the same amount of time I was in induced labour with Bean, and even though I wasnt pushing a 9lb 6oz baby out of my vagina, it was just as physically and mentally hard!!
When I saw my mum, I cried, then she cried haha!!! She thought I was crazy for even signing up but I’m glad I did.
Even with fibromyalgia, asthma, anxiety, very little sleep (thanks Bean) and very little confidence in my abilities, I made it! I pushed myself both physically and mentally, far beyond my limit and I didn’t break (or die!!!)
I paid for it the next day mind you, but it was well worth it!
As a team, we raised over £1000 for a local charity, John Eastwood Hospice, who totally rely on funding and donations to continue the incredible work they do.
So now I’m thinking about my next goal, what do I do now???
I think I’m just going to focus on becoming physically and mentally fit and well, I owe it to my daughter, my Man and my family ….. and myself … Obvs!!
Just a little disclaimer type thingymabob – I DO NOT OWN ANY OF THESE IMAGES!!
I would love to and plan to buy them once I finish maternity and starting earning money again 🙂 I hope that’s ok Total Warrior Photographer people 🙂