Everyone likes their comfort zone that's why it sounds like such a nice cosy place. But nothing new was ever learned from staying there.
The first mud run I did was Hellrunner, a 14 mile run through Delamere Forest with all natural obstacles like the Bog of Doom and Hills of Hell. Both running and obstacle courses were new to me, I'd never done anything like it before.
I was fine when I registered but the closer it got the more worried I became. It was a mixture of not knowing what to expect, people worrying about me and my over-active imagination thinking through all of the worst possible scenarios.
I was scared. At one point I even emailed Hellrunner HQ asking if I would be ok in the Bog of Doom as I'm only 5 ft 4 and I didn't want to sink in it! They basically replied with - stop asking stupid questions, it'll be fine. It wasn't the warm, reassuring response I had hoped for.
But race day came and after almost missing the last call for our wave we set off and from that moment on I had a fantastic time! There was all kinds of people taking part, the elites who legged it off right away, the outdoorsy types to do this kind of thing every other weekend, groups of friends who signed up after doing a Bootcamp class at the gym, three elderly ladies doing their very first run together and the obligatory crazy guy running in a mankini!
So what I'm trying to say is that what ever you are afraid of doing, you should probably give it a go, seriously, you wont be the only one :)
All the best discoveries are made when you step outside your comfort zone, and the best thing is that as you grow your zone grows with you. There will always be something new to try and new challenges to set yourself and knowing that I will always have the opportunity to surprise myself is a fantastic feeling :)
This weekend I will be back in my favourite city, Brighton, to take on the Warrior Run. It is a 14km run with around 60 obstacles to conquer along the way. The challenges will involve walls, pits, ropes, tunnels and mud... lots and lots of mud!
The other day Warrior Run posted this picture on Facebook as a sneak peak of what's to come...
Yes, that's right, it's a quarter pipe... my nemesis! This is not my first mud run and I have a score to settle with the quarter pipe obstacle.
In 2013 I completed the North West Tough Mudder which was incredibly fun, if anyone is thinking about doing a TM, do it! Seriously, do it, you wont regret it:) I enjoyed the whole day but I was particularly looking forward to Everest , I don't know why but it was the one obstacle I was most excited to try.
It was the second to last obstacle and we had been running for about 4 hours at this point so we were pretty tired anyway, but I was still optimistic and looking forward to giving it a go. We were given a couple of tips by the awesome volunteers at the bottom, mainly, run at it as fast as you can and don't stop until someone catches you. And then our turn was up!
Most of my group made it up after 4/5 attempts... it took me closer to 20! I couldn't believe how much trouble I was having with this obstacle! Try as I might I could not make it far enough up the slope to reach the waiting hands at the top. It was so frustrating!
Conquering Everest takes major grit and teamwork. Everest is coated in mud and grease, a combo that might send you right back from where you came. Suck it up and keep climbing. The view from the top is worth it.
My team mates were fantastic, staying at the top to try and catch me or cheering me on from the sidelines. There was also a lovely volunteer at the bottom who kept encouraging me and let me wipe my muddy hands on his shirt each time I didn't make it (sorry for the ruined shirt!).
I was crying and frustrated and getting weaker and slower but I eventually, somehow, got that extra foot up the ramp and grabbed someone's hand and made it up and over the top. I was so relieved! I cried even more.
So now that I know that Warrior Run is building a quarter pipe I am determined to defeat my nemesis and make it over this obstacle, hopefully with fewer than 20 attempts and with a few less tears:)
I'll let you know how it goes next week... wish me luck!
Here are some of my favourite pics from Tough Mudder.