“Hey Lou do you fancy doing the Total Warrior with us?” “What me?” “haha, no way the name its self tells me it will be way too difficult for me to do”. “Don’t worry we’ll have few training sessions, and it’s not until June so we’ve got a good 8 weeks to prepare, it will be a team effort” said my colleague Neil. “Yeh come on Lou we’re a team!” said another colleague Sam.
That little voice in my head started chirping up, “you’ll let the team down, you won’t be able to get all the way round the course, and you’ll be the office joke…
As a member of the Active Leeds team and lead officer for Leeds Girls Can. It is my role to promote and educate the benefits of physical activity to people in the community. My aim is to provide opportunities for people who are inactive (not taking part in at least 30 minutes of physical activity a week). I felt it only my duty to practice what I preach and step outside of my comfort zone and take this challenge on with an ‘I can do this attitude’.
So a couple of days later my colleague Rich, sent us all a link to the Total Warrior course and the 30 challenging obstacles over the 12km distance. It looked both exciting and scary all at the same time. As I viewed obstacles such as the ‘Worm Muncher’ – 50 feet of mud that we would crawl through with only 1 foot of space between the floor and the barbed wire. ‘Peaks of Pain’ – a 15 foot wall that we had to get up and over using a 4 foot rope. OMG! What had I got myself into?
I took full advantage of the ad hoc runs sessions with my colleagues, I was always the one lagging behind, “get used to this guys”, I’d say.
The best training session was 3 days before the big day, it was a gorgeous sunny day and Ross or Neil led the run – they couldn’t decide between them who was leading! The plan was to run a few kilometres and then someone would suggest 10 different exercise reps. So after a Burpees and press ups, it was my turn to suggest an exercise; “let’s roll down the hill, like you did when you were a child”, “no way, that’s not an exercise!” “Come on …I took part in your challenges” I whined. A few rolls and dizzy spells later and everyone was laughing and joking. Hay fever attacked a few, but the whole session had definitely shown we had team spirit!
Saturday 25th June arrived. I was taped up like a real athlete. We all wore blue t-shirts – “Blue Army” – the race numbers were pinned to our fronts and our head bands were slapped onto our heads. We were tattooed up total warrior style, and we were in character from beginning to end.
It was an amazing experience, squelching through the mud up to my waist, slipping and sliding, giggling all the way through. The day was filled with wading through water, climbing up walls sliding down hills… I took on challenges that I had never faced before and conquered them with a smile on my face.
Team Active UTD – “Blue Army” – started at the back of the last wave and arrived over the finish line 2hrs 35 minutes, hand in hand, chanting “Blue Army” – we finished 154th. We downed our free can of ice cold beer, danced along to the event music, while the heat of the sun dried our mud packed bodies. Then it was on to the next team event, a few cheeky cocktails and a meal in Chapel Allerton to round off an amazing day.
Total Warrior sounds like the hardest course to take on, but with a bit of self-belief, support from my colleagues and friends, it was possible. We are already trying to decide what our next team challenge will be. I overcame this challenge, and if I can, you can too!