Feeling like a Warrior
Posted Monday 12th October 2015 By Ericka Waller
So yesterday I completed the Warrior run. 10k of mud, rivers, nets, tunnels, tyres, obstacles, monkey bars and being brave. I can't walk today. There is no part of me not bruised, grazed or aching. My arms are so weak I crashed into the car next to me on nursery pick up. Luckily I only took off a wing-mirror. I bent down to retreive it and could not get back up again.
I sat down (gingerly) amongst the autumn leaves and rested my head against the car door, where my muddy bum print remains. Mums walking past me to collect their little ones from pre-school stopped and shook their heads at the state of me. I look broken but inside I feel bloody brilliant.
If I had the energy, I'd have said as much.
I was worried about doing the Warrior. I can run, but because of my rheumatoid arthritis I have no upper arm strength and when I get cold I go downhill fast. I didn't know how I was going to manage the 50 obstacles, or the rivers, but I decided to worry about it when I got there.
The atmosphere was great. There was a real mix of people, ages and abilities. Some people looked like they had eaten their Weetabix, and some people looked like they were about to bring theirs back up. I managed a banana before I left. I can't eat much before exercise.
I made a couple of friends in the queue. As usual, I'd not printed out my documentation and had no idea what I was supposed to do. The organisers were cool though, I got my number and went to join the team I was due to run with. I only knew a couple of them. I felt small and runt-like next to them, but hid my nerves by being a gobby cow as usual.
The warm-up in the dance tent was a killer. Burpees, high-knees, push-ups, star-jumps, squat-jumps, lunges and more.
By the the time it was over I'd missed my chance to queue for the loo. I had to go shake the lettuce behind a car, where I sustained injury number one - stinger nettle attack on my bottom.
About fifty of us set off together, our first challenge was to get over a 6ft wall. I was amazed at how all the men stopped to give the girls a leg over. I thought they might just be giving us a head start but I was wrong.
It was the same the whole way round. People stopping to help one another, carry one another, catch one another, offer a hand, shoulder or head to climb on.
I held grappled strangers through swampy rivers, dragging them down with me as I slipped in my inappropriate trainers (you need soft studs for this kind of thing).
I was in the middle of a river, in the middle of a forest, in the middle of a field, in the middle of nowhere with no one I knew in sight, but I was not alone for a second.
I made so many friends, we clung onto muddy monkey bars together, held cargo nets up for one another. We pulled each other out rivers and pushed one another through sewer like tunnels.
We did an awful lot of laughing.
When someone slipped over a rock or a sharp stick, they waited to guide the person behind them away from it.
I slipped, I tripped, I fell. I landed awkwardly each time but didn't feel a thing, apart from when the person behind me fell and pushed me down a long steep hill of stones and twigs, I felt that.
And when I tried and failed to run up the halfpipe at the end, my exposed arse rode every splinter on the way back down. I felt that too (but I still kept running at it till I finally grabbed a hand at the top, and got pulled up with lots of cheering).
When I crossed the finish line, caked in mud, leaves and victory, I felt amazing. Better than after any run. Stronger than in a long time, and in the company of people who understood what I have inside me, because they have it inside them too.
Not everyone wants to spend a Sunday morning crawling through mud, and pay £50 for the pleasure.
A new friend wrapped me in his dry robe (essential as soft studs) when I started shivering. He claimed to not care I got it filthy.
As the adrenaline wore off the fatigue and hunger set in, along with the mud on my face.
Hypothermia is common after water races like these. I sat in my car with the heating on high, peeling layers of muddy, ripped clothes off. I drove home mostly naked, my teeth chattered the whole way.
It took me half an hour and whole bottle of shower gel to get clean. As I washed off the mud, cuts and bruises started to appear.
But it was not till I tried to get out of bed this morning that I realised what a complete body battering I'd taken. Muscles I did not know I had ache. I can't walk without whimpering, but I feel like a Warrior, like a winner.
I was told I would never run again. I was told my exercise days were over.
I fought back. That obstacle course was like my life. Up, down, messy, shocking, exciting, impossible and rewarding.
All you need to get round it is the ability to keep on, one step at a time, no matter how slow you go.
I implore anyone to do a Warrior run..
I've signed up for three more runs today, all of them hard, muddy and scary looking. I can't wait.
My poor bottom, legs, arms and knees..