Looking for something that will challenge you but at the same time fun? Involving loads of glorious mud and even more laughter? Then Total Warrior is for you!
When Dave Gaffney from Total Warrior first approached me with the idea to join in the action, I was a bit sceptical. Yes I’ve done obstacle type events previously but this was before I took my running more seriously so I’ve shied away from them preferring to focus more on ‘proper’ running events. You know what they say ‘A change is as good as a holiday’ and true it was, I tried it and then went away on holiday too! In all seriousness though it was a refreshing and fun change to be running around with a group of like minded friends, drenched, muddied, exhausted with my sides hurting from laughing so hard. Don’t let the mud put you off…..even I’m known for being a bit of a Princess and not getting myself muddy, but take off those shackles and jump straight in, literally!
My Total Warrior event was Edinburgh, and this was held out at the Balgone Estate in North Berwick a 45 minute drive from the city centre on the 12th September. Registration is really slick, alphabetical lines where you get your number, drop bag, head and wrist band and your tattoo, yes your tattoo! Preferably adhered to your face of course before you start the event naturally! A great set up at race HQ with plenty of stands to buy a coffee, bacon roll or even a beer.
The obstacles start before you even cross the start line with a tunnel entrance to crawl through to get you warmed up. Then you’re off, 12km of terrain to cover but don’t let that worry you as there are over 30 obstacles to get through so even if you’re not really into your running, there’s plenty of opportunity to catch your breath in between whilst you hang on to ropes, jump over burning fires, plunge into swampy icy waters, climb walls and slip and slide your way through muddy bogs to highlight a few.
I was in a team with my local Crossfit crew, 5 of us in total (Shona Currie, Sandra Dailidyte, Scott Currie, David McLaren & I). Crossfit Monkeys was our name and we had a monkey call that we used continuously throughout the course to keep track of where we all were, much to the amusement of fellow competitors. Our rule was that we stuck together throughout leaving no one behind and we truly needed each other throughout.
You find that in your team everyone has a different strength to draw on to help each other through; I certainly wouldn’t have made it over any of the walls without our buff men lifting me over! Note you can skip any obstacle that you are not comfortable with; I skipped the electrocution as I can’t do that again after Tough Mudder (it was horrible!) but the rest of the team did it and said it wasn’t that bad.
So what are my Top 10 tips for an obstacle course?
- Wear old clothes. They are going to get pretty trashed and I prefer to have my legs and arms covered to save any grazing and scratches that can happen through the obstacles so I stick to tights and long sleeves to keep myself fully covered.
- Wear even older shoes and then bin them at the end!
- Any clothes you do decide to keep make sure you give them a really good rinse out before they go in the washing machine as there is a LOT of mud.
- Go naked! By that I mean leave the jewellery at home – rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings etc ditch them at home to save getting them caught on anything or worse losing them altogether. Trust me you won’t find it in the swamp!
- Take a bag full of dry clothes for afterwards, including a towel and some wet wipes and a plastic bag for any wet & muddy kit you are taking home. Some of the courses have cold showers/hoses at the end but there were none at Balgone Estate, but a quick wet wipe and towel dry and into some dry clothes works a treat.
- Make sure you’ve got someone strong in your team to help you over those walls, or a couple if you can, but if you can’t don’t worry there’s always a few toughies out there on the course more than willing to help those with less upper body strength over a wall.
- Speaking of which, do some upper body training – Crossfit Edinburgh put on some bespoke obstacle course training sessions leading up to the event to get people comfortable with tackling monkey bars and ropes etc but any general strength training will definitely help.
- Eat beforehand. Even though it might only be 12k, you can’t whiz around the course in a super quick time and using all your muscles takes a lot of energy so make sure you are fully hydrated and fuelled, we had a gel each along the way to keep our energy levels up too.
- Plan for afterwards. Chances are you will be pretty knackered and possibly rather cold, so a nice hot bath as soon as you get home with a steaming cup of hot tea to bring your body temperature back to normal and a chance to let your muscles relax. Wrap yourself in compression and get on the couch with your feet up.
- Have fun! Don’t take yourself or your team too seriously and laugh your way around the course to the finish line beer and you’ll be telling stories for a long time to come.
Here is your chance to win a free entry to any Total Warrior event for next year. What do you need to do? Check out the photo below and comment either on my blog, facebook post or twitter post with your most creative caption and I’ll be choosing a winner. Entries close Friday 16th October so hurry!
Edinburgh Total Warrior is already on the calendar for 10th & 11th September 2016 and early bird entries are already open so don’t miss out on the fun!
NB: I was gifted this race entry through Total Warrior, thank you for the opportunity.
Special thanks to My Bib Number Ltd for the fantastic Total Warrior tagged photos, and David Hickey for the great spectator photos too.