Even though it was only a week since the last event, I felt pretty good when I woke up to get ready for Total Warrior. I’d managed to stay injury and illness free since the Water Wipeout and had managed to get some good, solid training in during the week so I was ready to go. As the course was going to be much longer than any that I had completed so far and the obstacles were going to be more challenging (or extreme depending on your viewpoint) it was going to be the most difficult challenge to date. There were some of the obstacles that I wasn’t looking forward to in the slightest (like ‘The Plunge’, ‘The Shocker’ and ‘The Peaks of Pain’) but it was time to get ready to give it a go. Last weekend’s event had given me some confidence as it had gone much better than expected and even the obstacles that I was dreading seemed to go pretty well – bring it on Total Warrior!
As I didn’t have as far to go it meant that I didn’t seem quite as frantic getting ready to set off. I said goodbye to my supporters, who were setting off later on, and set off on the drive for Bramham Park. After a pleasant drive I had made good time despite a brief breakfast stop. After parking the car I headed down to register and pick up my race number, headband and timing chip. After putting my number on and doing my best Rambo impression with the headband I wandered back to drop my keys off and get ready for the start. Some of the first wave raced by as I headed back to the event village and down to the start and it was amazing how fast they were going. The nerves started to kick in as the crowd started to build as everyone looked in much better shape than me and the self-doubt started about the distance and whether I would make it over the obstacles. As the clock counted down to the start I tried to focus on what I had to do and as I lined up with Wonder Woman, Spiderman and the other superheroes I put the doubt out of my mind and knew that I could do it.
As soon as the countdown finished I made it through the smoke and crossed the start line to start my Total Warrior mission. All that stood in front of me was 12km over rolling hills and woodland with 30 punishing obstacles in my way. I decided to use the tactics that I had at the Water Wipeout and to do running/walking intervals so that I made sure that I could make it over the course and also so that I had some energy for the obstacles. After an easy start the first obstacle loomed – ‘Leg It’ – which was 5 runs up and down a steep slope. It was hard going even though it was so early in the event as the incline was making my legs burn. I was starting to regret the leg sessions that I had done in the week as it didn’t take long for the hills to sap my leg strength. It seemed like it was going to be a long day! As I passed the 1km mark it was time for ‘Pole to Pole’ which was navigated with relative ease and then on to the ‘Log Bog Scramble’. The mud was thick, deep and hard going as I made my way through. I seemed to be making decent time despite the difficult conditions under foot.
Next up was the ‘Channel Crossing’ which was an opportunity to clean up slightly after going through the mud. We had to cross a channel of water that was around 4 feet deep through the cold water and then get up the bank at the other side. It was pretty cold in the water but thankfully nowhere near as cold as I’d experienced at the Endurer Dash. Despite the cold I made it out of the other side without too much trouble and then it was time for one of the fun sections of the race. First up was the ‘Worm Muncher’ so it was time to get down and dirty and crawl through under the barbed wire and through the mud. It didn’t smell all that pleasant but I made it through without getting caught and then it was time for the ‘Cement Mixer’. Before I waded my way in I checked my shoes were as tight as they could be so that I minimised the risk of losing one in the deep mud. I don’t think I’ve ever been in mud that deep before and it was hard going to keep pulling yourself out of it and keep moving but that seemed to be the best way forward as if you kept moving as fast as you could you didn’t sink quite as far into the pit. It was hard to imagine that people could run through this but maybe that’s an aim for next year! After the ‘Cement Mixer’ it was on to ‘Death Valley’ where you had to haul yourself up a hill with a cargo net. After pulling my way out of ‘Death Valley’ it was time for a brief respite from obstacles as you had to follow the track along for a while before the next one.
I kept going with the plan as best I could as the ‘Cement Mixer’ was energy sapping. It was then time for ‘Off-Road’ which was a trip through the woods and up and down hills. After another section of following the track the next obstacle was ‘Back It Up’. That involved laying on your back and pulling yourself up a hill using a cargo next that was above you. It was much harder than it looked as I struggled to get any footing so had to pull myself up with my arms. By the time I made it to the top it had really taken it out of me and I had to have a minute to catch my breath.
I then headed uphill towards ‘The Plunge’ which was one of the obstacles that I wasn’t looking forward to. It was 20 feet long, 4 feet deep and contained 10 ton of ice and the only way to make it from one end to the other was to go under water! I couldn’t think of many things worse as I made it up the hill but before I jumped in I saw my supporters club who were cheering me on. I couldn’t let them down so I jumped in and made my way across. I gulped in a deep breath, closed my eyes and went under to get to the other side. I shook myself down as I climbed back out and headed off for the next obstacle. It hadn’t been as bad as I thought it would be and definitely wasn’t as cold despite the blocks of ice that were in there. I felt much better after getting out and even more determined to make it to the finish after conquering one of my feared obstacles.
It was a bit of a distance to the ‘Grand National’ which was a series of walls to get over which needed the help of other competitors. The walls got higher as they went on and it was a struggle to get over even with help. The next obstacle was the ‘Hangover’ which I couldn’t make it over even with help as it was an inclined wall and I just don’t seem to be able to conquer those. After that slight disappointment I headed towards the water station to get a well-earned bottle of water. I was absolutely gasping as it was getting warmer and despite the repeated cold water drenchings I was still getting thirsty. Next up was the ‘Swinger or Straight’ transverse walls which I slipped off halfway across and into the mud. I was struggling for grip from the start due to the mud on the wall and on my hands. It was then quickly on to more muddy fun in the ‘Mud Bomb’ before we had to pick up a log for ‘Log It’. We had to
carry the log around a section of the course which included a number of walls. It was hard work especially as I had winded myself when I slipped getting out of the ‘Mud Bomb’. I was
pulling myself up the bank when I lost my footing and landed hard on the edge of the bank. I still seemed to be keeping up the pace despite feeling tired which was good. The next obstacle
was ‘You Tube’ which I didn’t attempt as it involved crawling through tubes and I didn’t think I would fit through so gave it a miss.
I made my way up the hill and through the ‘Rat Run’ and then there was a longer running section before heading back into the swamps! That started with the ‘Warrior Crawl’ which was a crawl through the thick muddy route which was followed by the ‘Mud Moguls’ which was more fun in the mud getting up and over the landscape and in and out of muddy water. Then it was time for the ‘Human BBQ’ which was a leap over fire into a muddy pool. I took a run up and made it over the fire and into the water and fortunately didn’t manage to swallow any water! It was then on to ‘The Trenches’ which was a lot of up and down over trenches with ropes to get you up and hills to get down. I was starting to feel quite tired and it was hard work pulling myself over the trenches. The next obstacle in the run was the ‘Long Jump’ which meant leaping off a platform into more water. It was pretty cold when you hit the water but I soon seemed to dry out when I made it out of the other side.
After what seemed to be a long trek uphill it was time for the ‘Sprint King’ which was a timed 100 metre sprint. I don’t think I troubled the timekeepers and it became more of a jog by the end but the end was getting closer. I then came to another of the obstacles that I was dreading which was ‘The Shocker’ which was running through lots of electrical wires and trying not to get a shock. I think that was the fastest I had moved all day as I sped (relatively speaking) through the wires and out of the other side. It was another challenge out of the way and I was glad to get it over and done with. There were now only 4 more obstacles to go and the end was in sight. ‘The Alps’ had me climbing again over a number of peaks which I couldn’t have done without the help from my fellow competitors and then it was up hill to take on ‘Sildeaway’. I’d done something similar at the X Runner Wild Thing Mud Run where I had struggled to slow down at the end but as I watched some of the other competitors slide down the slope they didn’t seem to be picking up too much speed so I wasn’t too concerned. After a quick wave to the supporters club I slid down, feet first but was quickly moving at a pace. By the time I left the plastic mat I was wondering how I could slow myself down as there was a drop coming, I dug my fingers into the grass as much as I could but it didn’t stop me flying over the drop and into a heap at the bottom of the slope. After getting my breath I got back to my feet and with another wave I set off up the hill towards the finish.
When I got up the hill to the event village it was time for ‘Hang Tough’ or hang for not too long in my case as I made it across a couple of rungs before losing my grip and getting soaked in the cold water. After pulling myself out and making my way to the final obstacle, only the ‘Peaks of Pain’ was standing in my way of crossing the finish line. I pulled myself up the rope and despite the slippery underfoot conditions I was making good progress but then just before I could pull myself onto the ledge to get over the top I started to lose my footing and made a quick return to ground level. After a dramatic roll when I hit the floor I got up and brushed myself down so that I could get to the finish. The final obstacle had beaten me but I had triumphed over the course – I was a Total Warrior. After crossing the finish line, I picked up my finisher t-shirt, water, energy bar and beer token!
I had done it and all of the effort had taken me to the finish. I was tired but relieved and had a sense of achievement for making it so far. Even though I wasn’t as fit as I wanted to be I had pushed myself to get over the course and despite being tired at the end I didn’t feel as bad as I thought I would. I really enjoyed the course as it was a good combination of terrain and was testing without being too hard. The obstacles were all a challenge and whether or not I completed them I gave them a go. It was definitely much tougher than the events that I had done previously which was what I was expecting. As the next event is even further I’m going to have to keep up the training until the next one so that I can try and run more and also make it through all of the obstacles. I’d recommend Total Warrior to anyone who wants a challenge as long as they have a reasonable level of fitness as it is a real challenge.
Thanks to everyone who sent good luck messages or who have sponsored my or who have liked/shared the Facebook page. I don’t think I could have done it without all of that support and the funds raised will definitely make a difference to the Blurt Foundation and Mind. I’ve got a few weeks now to prepare for the next two events so need to get back to training as soon as possible but first I need a rest day to try and get rid of the aches and pains. There is still a long way to go with the challenges but each step forward is a move in the right direction.
Onwards and upwards