Adventure races have exploded in South Africa – it seems like there’s one just about every weekend (though not as many in winter, funnily enough. Clearly they aren’t actually that hard core)! I’ve participated in a few and I absolutely love them. They are physically challenging, and then they are mentally grueling.
I don’t have your standard fear of heights, because generally I feel safe, but I think my “lack of fear of heights” is just me avoiding heights, and isn’t actually bravery over heights. I learnt this when confronted with a tiny 5-7m jump into a river. Thinking back, it sounds scary, but I also remember how close the water looked, and I just couldn’t bring myself to jump! My body wouldn’t listen to my mind telling it to JUST DO IT! I couldn’t even. Even half my team left me behind up there… It got pretty embarrassing.
These races make you face your fears head on – you go there with a goal, and you have to decide that you will tackle (attempt) anything they put in front of you, and you just go with it. Keep your goal in mind, and try not to think about how tough and scary the task at hand actually is. Don’t think about the consequences, think about the reward, the success of completion. Think about how everything could go right, and how you are going to go about doing it. Your body will only get positive attitude vibes, and then you can JUST DO IT.
So I decided I would join a team who I know participate in a bunch of these races. They are a fun bunch, and last time I checked, our fitness levels were pretty similar (I’m not sure how many leaps and bounds ahead of me they are now though…) Only problem is, this time, they have decided to one-up on the “hardcore factor” and have chosen to do Black Ops: +-16km of death. I’m sure I am fit enough to run that distance, but the 20+ obstacles they chuck in for the Black Ops challenge tend to revolve around upper body strength and plyometric (explosive) strength. I absolutely need to train. I can’t let my team down.
I’ve chosen to dedicate one workout a week that focuses purely on Warrior strength. That, together with the next few weeks of trail runs that I have got planned, should help me to keep up and get through. If not, I will at least survive and be a physically and mentally stronger person afterwards. One that knows not to keep committing to races before she is ready.
WARRIORS ARE YOU READY!?