Sunday, December 8, 2013

Hell and Back Titan: A big thank you and Review!

Firstly, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who donated to my chosen charity, Save Our Sons and Daughters (SOSAD), I am very grateful and I never in a million years expected the support and kind words that I received! In total, I raised €535.63 (€35.63 over my target, yay!). SOSAD is a charity that have taken on the very difficult task of raising awareness and breaking the stigma surrounding mental health and more specifically, suicide, in Ireland. The money raised will go towards providing the support and facilities needed to make this possible. I've always wanted to raise money for a cause I believe in and I'm delighted I had the opportunity and the fantastic support I had to do it. It's the first time I've raised money for charity but I promise this won't be the last! Thank you to everyone again, I really really appreciate it. I have been meaning to write this for the last month but the new job and the no internet access in my house have proven to be two huge obstacles but as we all know, I love a good obstacle to conquer so without further a due here is my race review (that rhymed) :

The morning of the race I was late as usual and we could have just about made our wave if my dickhead of a bladder didn't kick in and I had to wait in line for the portaloos, it's times like these that I wish I was a guy and I could pee against a tree in the open without judgement! (Disclaimer: This is not an invitation to buy me a ShePee for Christmas) We ended up running in the wave after ours which was grand, it's a nice option to have but it just meant that we weren't sure how we were doing in relation to our wave as they had a good half hour on us! I was nervous about the actual running of the course this time but I surprisingly found it pretty easy and I didn't feel like I wanted to die half as much as I did when I raced the last Hell and Back. I think the combination of weight training, trail running and not doing a tap the week before the race well and truly paid off this time. My legs and arms were a bit sore the day after but nothing compared to last time! Last time I genuinely felt like I was hit by a bus and I couldn't walk for a few days! Out of all the races I have done, I had, by far, the most fun at this one! There were a few reasons for this, one being I didn't feel under any pressure to perform as there were no time chips! I'm naturally very competitive so without the constant nagging in my head that I had to do my very best to make sure I placed well I just focused on getting through the course and having fun. A good few people weren't happy with the decision to rule out time chips but to me it seemed like an obvious decision. The very chaotic nature of an obstacle course coupled with the sheer amount of people who participate mean it isn't a very viable option to time chip because it doesn't reflect your true ability at all. This is purely because wait times for obstacles means times are thrown way off. No timing chips ensures a much more relaxed atmosphere where the aim is to have some fun and not get bogged down in figures, there's plenty of muck to get bogged down in instead.  The spirit of hell and back is camaraderie and if you were to focus on time too much that element really goes out the window. There's plenty of other races you can do if you're set on timing yourself so it's best just to go into this with the intention of having fun!

Another reason I enjoyed it so much was because me and my team stuck together for the majority of the race this time, whereas, we'd usually all go our separate ways and meet at the end. I hadn't seen them for a good few weeks so it meant we were just catching up and having a laugh instead of focusing on the pain in our legs! The craic at all the obstacles was absolutely great, I'd say it's always been that way but I was more aware of it this time because I wasn't so focused on just throwing myself over them as quick as possible! There was a considerable amount of waiting time at the walls but I thankfully had two strapping men on my team so it meant I got a hand over everything without too much worry! The only complaint I would have about the course this year would definitely be the wait for the log obstacle. It was a good twenty minute wait which meant my nice and toasty temperature plummeted and I was left shivering. The line was so long that we didn't even know what we were lining up for until we were right down to the bottom and by then a lot of people just skipped ahead and didn't bother taking a log, I was very tempted but ultimately decided if I was going to do it I was going to do it right and did my two laps which was definitely tough! It had potential to be successful but I think the best idea would have been to scrap the logs and just have everyone run it twice, it was hard enough without the logs and they could have easily been introduced at another stage! I was so unbelievably relieved that there wasn't a sniper alley this time, I didn't even realise it wasn't an obstacle until the end when it dawned on me that I didn't in fact have a panic attack and I had no red little swelts all over my legs! Like I said in my last post I was absolutely dreading the shock of horrors and the entire way throughout the course I just kept thinking about them and then when I saw it I nearly had a heart attack. In fact, one of the reasons my brother decided to not participate in this race was based on this obstacle alone... pussy. I could see it leering at me in the distance when I saw one poor girl accidentally get the shocker caught in the crease of her elbow without realising and scream as she was shocked repeatedly. I laughed in both severe amusement and dread cos I knew I was next! I don't think I've ever quite punched the air so triumphantly as when I managed to jump out of it unshocked!! The trick was to avoid the 3 or 4 first rows and then crawl on your stomach the rest of the way!

crawly crawl crawl

Some of the costumes were absolutely brilliant! I'm sure a lot of you noticed the two lads who dressed as Walter White and Jesse from Breaking Bad. I'm sure they were regretting that decision by the time the 1482th "Got any meth?" was shouted at them but absolute fair play! When we were stood waiting for the log obstacle I told them they'd have enough time to head back to their caravan and produce a batch by the time we'd actually get to run it. I'm hilarious like that. There was two guys who were dressed as convicts with actual chains around their feet and I was thoroughly impressed! I think I'm gonna dress up for whatever my next race will be just cos I can, it makes everything more fun! I overheard a fair few funny conversations while running alongside people, one guy was chewing his friends ear off about how thoroughly perplexed he was as to why "the German girl" didn't get back to him after their first date, I told him it was because of his bad breath and ran away. Another guy had just awkwardly jumped off a wall and crushed his nads and while in the foetal position announced to his friend that he's now gonna have to tell his wife they can't have any children. This is why I love doing these races so much, there's so much to do and see. You get to meet new people, have a laugh and challenge yourself at the same time. Courses like this are the future of fitness, where being fit is a functional skill utilized in the most primitive and fun way possible. It makes keeping fit seem like the obvious solution to your mental, physical and social well being. Finishing a race like this gives you such an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment that inspires you to carry on keeping fit. It's something I highly recommend everyone do just once to prove to yourself just how resilient the mind and body truly are.

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