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After a nice early start with the alarm going off before 5am and a 2 hour drive ahead, you do have to question your own sanity. Why do we do this again, why do we get up at some silly time and drive to somewhere new and why do we put ourselves through it. I am not sure if it is because we are addicted or the fact that we really truly enjoy what we are doing and the feeling of achievement at completion. Really just having that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach at the start of ever race should be enough to out you off doing it again, the pre race nerves that the thought of being not far from a bathroom just fills you with fear, but somehow you get through it. The adrenaline pumps and you have started the race, there is no more time to think about how you are feeling just that fact that you just need to get on with it.
I also have to say that the people we have met along the way have been amazing, for some reason we always have the preconception that there was some sort of elitism happening, but how wrong were we. Everyone is so great and willing to help, cheer you on and take some time time out to give you some great advice. The comradery is unreal, you just can't explain how amazing everyone is.
The very first obstacle course we did was Tough Mudder and the only reason why we did it was because some friends said about doing it. They didn't do it but we did, the thought of doing 21kms of obstacles as well as electricity was a scary thought but we are always up for anything new. This would have to be the start, we did it on the Sunday which overall was a little quieter then Saturday, there were no queues and the pit area was just alive with excitement and nerves, everyone looked just as nervous but had a little excitement too. Our wave time was called and the first thing you had to do was to climb over a wall to get into the pit area. (Seriously it hadn't even started yet and I already struggled with the first obstacle). The MC was amazing, getting everyone pumped as they cheered on, reciting the Tough Mudder pledge and with a few more high fives and cheers the horn sounded and the smoke cannons were unleashed as we ran through and we had started. No turning back now, we just had to get it done. It started off with a nice job around Phillip Island race track and then the first obstacle the 'ICE bath'. A few swear words did elapse my lips as your whole body just goes numb from the shock and the ability to control your muscles and functions were slowly depleting. It was an effort just to climb out. The sun was shining and instead of complaining about being cold, you needed to look at the positive, you could no longer feel your muscles so you could not really feel running (it became effortless), soon you dried off and you just carried on going.
The other reasons is to be able to test yourself, without trying how do you really know you can do? Can you get over that wall? Or rope traverse? Crawl under barbed wire? or just finish a race? There is an amazing feeling of accomplishment when you can get through these things, having a can do attitude rather than just giving up. The ability to just keep going, give it 110%, hurt, cry but still just get on with it.
I can't remember every single obstacle that we did but the ones that most definitely stand out the most would have included the mud mile and the half pipe, as it was so wet and slippery just trying to get up and over was a hard enough task but people that you never have met before gave you a boast, pulled you up and helped you over. Without the help of others, I am not sure we could have done it. Dave of course cleared the half pipe effortlessly, but it took me two attempts to get up, you literally just had to run as fast as you could and hoped that the people at the top caught hold of you to give you a boost up and over.
The adrenaline boost and almost shocked feeling when you complete it, you can't really explain. You walk around in a daze and shock, feeling that what you just did wasn't even real and that the whole thing happened to someone else. You don't even feel the bruises that come along later, the mud has dried on your skin, you have to seriously scrub in the shower as the mud gets into places that you didn't think was possible, there were times during TM that you actually feel like you added a few extra kilos as the mud accumulated in your underwear.
This I doubt would be selling it to anyone, but when we finished having a shower, we headed to the hotel spa where the bruises were proudly on display, more people with similar bruises would join us and there was an understanding on what you all went through, you have something in common as you reminisce about the days events, and you realise how strong and determined some people really are. One of the girls we were talking to tried the hall pipe 8 times before she got, at one point she said that she just stood their and cried, but she did it eventually. The sheer will power and determination not to give up is just unreal and inspirational. Your body and mind is already fatigued but you just keep going. I just have remember this when doing True Grit, that we are all capable of achieving the impossible.
The stories that we have heard along this journey have been emotional and inspiring from weight loss, to broken backs, from young to old, it is amazing what people can achieve.
This of course was the start of our obstacle races in January 2013 and we have never looked back, we have come so far since that TM day, I have overcome fears and obstacles that I thought I could never do, we are fitter and stronger then ever before. My skin is not at its best and seem to be continually covered in bruises and scars, my hair has turned into rats tails with the amount of muddy tangles that it has had to endure, my hands are turning into man hands, filled with calluses, but I would not change it for the world, even the unflattering obstacle racer shots, when all ideas of looking like a health nut go out the window, as you look warn and battered, but the moment either catches that smile or that moment of sheer concentration and grit. The pain that you are experiencing but you are just determined to get through it without giving up, or that moment of exhaustion and excitement when you reach the finish line.
You become part of community, where you can share your highs and lows, there is a connection between people that can never be taken away, you share experiences and give each encouragement. Every obstacle race is a new milestone, where everyone celebrates your achievements.
Keeping you posted on the OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) journey. Letting you know about courses, events and general health and fitness.