Saturday I conquered some fears, tested my strength and laughed myself silly.
Saturday was my first obstacle course race – the Shape Diva Dash. An untimed 5k chock full of challenges.
When I was recovering from my injury last year and upper body weights was about all I could do for exercise, I saw a contestant on a weight loss show compete in a warrior dash and I made a promise to myself that I would stick with the weights long term and compete in a dash.
So this weekend, I had my chance. My friend was competing with her running group and invited me to join. And I am so very glad I did.
The Dash itself is an all-women event. It’s made to be challenging without being overly dangerous (tho we did see it claim a couple victims) and is definitely made for teams.
My team, the Norton Divas, consisted of over 20 women of all different abilities. Their motto – No Diva Left Behind. I buddied up with friend and we helped each other through it.
It was in the 80’s and sunny. The course was 80% asphalt and 20% woods. So it was HOT. I’d never been so happy to see water stops in a 5k in my life.
There were about a dozen obstacles, randomly dispersed and some of the harder ones had different levels of difficulty. I accidentally picked the hardest level on a couple because there was no line for that section. Oops! Lol
The first obstacle, which came about a half-mile in, was picnic tables we had to climb over. And my first thought was “who put picnic tables on the course”. Oh wait, yeah, it’s an obstacle. 🙂 up and over easily. Okay, we got this.
Obstacles also included a climbing wall (my first and much easier than I expected), monkey bars (took the easy side which had foot bars too), a net to climb under, a short barrier (totally hurdled it – I love hurdles) a see saw (I chose the purple on one the end because it was purple. It was apparently also the heavy one and took a bit of strategic balancing to knock the second side down) and a balance beam (was all good til it moved – why wasn’t it level! And why was it held together with duct tape!).
The hardest/scariest ones were as follows:
The horizontal cargo net. As we approached, people were going both over it and under it. At first we thought it was a choice. Then we realized nope, we do both. Had it been on grass I would have crawled under. Since it was pavement, it was more bend over and go quick so you don’t knock off the girl above you. Going over was freaking scary. I did hands and knees and went slow. Cuz one misplaced leg and I knew I’d go through. But I made it. Phew! And discovered a myriad of shin bruises this morning. Battle scars – cool!
The next scariest – and the one a woman fell and tore up her chin on – was a series of straps (like giant kids swings) that we walked across. I accidentally picked the harder route. The straps weren’t level (some were higher and some lower) and weren’t evenly spaced. I did the first three one leg each and then both legs the next two and then that last one was a little further away and I was lucky to get that second leg on it just in time. This one really proved to me my hip is back and better than ever. Because it was all leg strength and balance.
The really scary one was the dirt hill. Climbing up? No problem. But facing the downhill really scared me. It was loose dirt. It was really steep. And there was no easy way down. So I decided the best thing to do was just go full speed. And I ran down it. And about half way down I felt myself falling but just kept moving til I was level and stable. That was an awesome adrenaline rush!! 🙂
The final obstacle was a vertical cargo net to a fireman’s pole. I scaled the net to the top. Okay now how do I get to the pole. Had to stand. Um yeah I do not like heights. Standing that high in the air and leaning to grab that pole took some bravery. But I think in the moment it was a “don’t think about it, just do it” situation. And I did it. Both hands, both legs and slide down. Um wait, I’m not sliding easily. Okay, climb down. And jump.
Got my friend, headed towards the finish line and then just couldn’t resist. I looked over at her and said “I’m going for it” and then kicked to the finished. Turned around and then cheered her in.
While we started as a group, on the course we had splintered off into smaller sets. A few sets finished before us and we all cheered the rest in. We got to where just two remained on course and waited as a group. When we saw them coming we lined the finish chute and high-fived them in. In that moment, I really felt that amazing camaraderie that reminds me what I love so much about running.
We aren’t competing against each other. We are competing against ourselves, our goals, our own demons. And helping each other get to and through them.
After the race we hung out and drank and chatted and laughed. Celebrated and commiserated.
It truly was some of the most fun I’ve ever had at a race.
Thank you Norton Divas for letting me be a part of your group and sharing that awesome day with me. Can’t wait until next year. 🙂