So listen. I’m not saying that it was impossible. I mean, I used to jog a fair bit back when I was 19/20 years old. But that was eight years ago. My expectations for being able to complete a 5km obstacle course in the outback heat were about as low as they could get. I really only agreed to it because my boss signed up a bunch of people two days before and we were all in the same boat of having done zero training. However, everyone else had the added benefit of actually being fit. I know muscle memory is a thing, but I guess my muscles are a bit forgetful.
The obstacle course started at 8am, and you had the option of doing 5km, 9km or 13km. And in true outback style, all the obstacles were just part of the landscape. Swim through the muddy creek, wade through this bog hole, crawl through these massive cement pipes in the gravel yard. It was pretty grimey and dirty, but that only added to the fun of it. If it was just a straight 5km run I wouldn’t have been able to finish it. Having the obstacles in there slowed you down and gave you the chance to catch your breath.
The bottom of the creek is pure sludge so trying to walk across won’t work as you will just sink. I don’t really want to think about all the critters that we were in there with or what was in the murky brown water that I most definitely swallowed. Also, as the water is completely brown, you can’t see whats in there. I jumped right on top of something big and metal which my hip wasn’t happy about, but the water was cold and very refreshing after a run in the sun so I soon forgot about the pain.
There were water stations at certain points around the obstacle course which were manned with very nice and encouraging people handing out refreshments and high fives. The next obstacle we had to endure was crawling through the truck tyres. By this point, granted that it was only about 10 minutes in, I was ready to quit. I couldn’t breathe. My shoes were full of sludge. I was not having a good time. Thankfully, I was with my boss and her friend, both who have a good 10 years on me, and they were egging me on the keep going, so off I went to dive through the tyres (I later found out you could have just stepped through them. There was absolutely no need to dive so dramatically.)
After another bog hole and a few picnic tables to jump over (they really used whatever they could find as obstacles) we reached the net. The dreaded Net! I forget it’s actual name but the kind that is sloped on both sides that you need to climb up and over. With wobbily legs both from the exertion and my slight fear of heights, I unsteadily tried to pull myself over to the other side. At the same time, however, the women to the left of me got her leg stuck in one of the holes. As she tried to get herself free, she tumbled all the way to the ground. Cool. No worries. Feeling great about being up here right now. I slowly picked my way down and made it to the ground in one piece.
This is where I seemed to get my second wind. My body must have been getting used to the activity as I noticed that I wasn’t as breathless anymore. The trail led round to the town gravel pit. There the obstacles, as you can imagine, were piles of rocks and of course, another little mud pool for good measure. We walked for a bit after that to catch our breath before turning the corner to where our cheer team were. Of course we sped up the pace before they could see us to save face.
The next and last obstacle was on the oval. Crawl under an army net, over and above big truck tyres and under another net. Then we were in the home stretch. Which of course is that horrible bit where you have to run down the main street , past all the onlookers, while looking like you have just died and come back to life.
This is where I met my competitive side. I mean, I enjoy winning as much as the next person, but not enough to like, train for it. But looking at the finish line ahead of us, and a rather large crowd still behind us, I knew I wanted to do as well as I possibly could. I mean, we were by no means going to win. There were plenty of people already finished and chilling at the finish line. I all of a sudden felt the need to beat as many people as possible. Especially as my other boss and his kids (two of which were 2nd and 4th place) were waiting for us at the finish line.
I managed to finish 26th out of about 75 people whichto be honest, I am incredibly proud of. Having done no proper excercise in more years than I care to admit, I’m genuinely surprised I didn’t finish last. And I think everyone else expected me to finish at the tail end as well, so I was pretty smug about proving them wrong.
After that we all hydrated, grabbed some free goodies (I got some lollipops and a cap) and headed home for celebratory beers. Who knows, I may even be inspired to take up running again.