Yeah, sure…some may call it a #booyah moment! But for me, its very hard to describe that jolt through the senses when the body gets thrusted into an icy cold pool filled with 15 tonnes of ice! And to my surprise, the brief moments getting out of the icy pool to the finish line were equally ineffable. I couldn’t believe I had conquered my deepest fear! For me, the most warm blooded woman on this part of the world…I had most dreaded the final obstacle, aptly called the Brain Freeze! And btw the only way to get to this, is if you have completed the first 14 obstacles of equally grueling proportions sprawled over the 5 km running track. And now you may imagine why they call it the Devil’s circuit…it is indeed the meanest, baddest, craziest obstacle running race in India…aka Fear Factor without the reptiles.
And to think of it, It all started with my weakness of eves-dropping in the gym. Ruchika, the uber-cool fitness trainer, was talking to someone about a crazy obstacle race she had participated in. Intrigued by the thought and falsified by my own bravado, I mustered up my courage and asked her to sign me up too.
But all fantasies of getting an obstacle race under my belt got shaken up, when I saw the video of a past run. It was nothing I had done before…in fact, not even dreamt of! But the bib was bought and the date was set. The only thing I could do now, was to prepare and pray!
Thank God for the training session with the parkour maestros, Deepu and Delson (checkout their uber cool parkouring video :)) of ChaosFaktory. Sure, their grueling sessions gave us bruises and sore muscles but also taught us some useful tips and tricks to handle the obstacles we were going to face.
Never deny yourself the wisdom of others. While its wise to learn from experience, it is wiser to learn from the experience of others.
Day of the D-Day
The most deceiving part of the race is the warm-up routine…with the most electric, foot-stomping music and gyrating zumba dancing of the crushers (the given name to the eye candy zumba cheerleaders on the stage) Its unfair to get one so pumped up…I forgot I had to reserve my energy for the race to come!
I also realized that most of the people around me were half my age. But then again, age is just a number. I bet my dance moves outdid most of theirs in sheer exuberance. 🙂
Don’t lose your youth to a number on the calendar!
But all that faded into oblivion, once the whistle went off. The few hundred participants of the non-competitive wave all huddled to get to the first obstacle. The first obstacle was about a 8 feet wall with a 10 feet rod extension that you have to climb without support and jump from the other end. It is one of those hurdles that seem easy enough but when you get to it, needs a lot of skill, grit and well, err adrenaline.
Then the circus starts…the hopping onto slanted planks, traversing concurrent verticle poles, scurrying across convexical monkey bars, challenged the muscles and the mind equally…but for the first time, I felt in the flow. Nothing else mattered. It was me and the obstacles.
By the 6th hurdle, the palms are blistered (from under the duct tape you were smart enough to put), the knees are bruised, the muscles are sore, but I never had this much fun while putting the body through this much grind.
ps. For all those folks who’ve cringed at running marathons, but still want to put their fitness to test…go obstacle racing! 🙂
What marathons are to endurance, obstacle races are to full-body fitness!
Then comes the touted toughest obstacle of the race…the 14-feet parabolical wall that you have to jump through the muddy runaway and climb using your naked hands. A few attempts and you realize there are times in your life where you have to let go…the parabolic wall obstacle was one of them!
But failure can prove to be a motivator. A keen observation, the ingenious self-taught foot gripping technique but most of all, a revamp of the mindset made me pull through the angled rope pull-up (touted to be of the same difficulty level as the parabolical wall) with much gusto and to the cheers of the crowd in the first attempt.
And there, in the middle of the race, realization dawned upon me. I realized that none of us are perfect…even the seemingly perfect ones! The smart ones just know how to compensate for their weaknesses…some by using their creativity, some using their mental strength, while others using the strength of others.
Needless to say, this new found wisdom made me go through the rest of the obstacles: the free jump into the muddy waters, hoop through the rotating floater pyramids, crawl through the dark alleys and barbed wires, rush through the onslaught of swinging tyres with a sense of ease and calm.
But when I think about it… what made the experience truly unbeatable was not the thrill of achievement (or the memorable afterstories or facebook pictures) but the fact that we were doing this together as a team…i.e it was not me vs. you situation like the other races. It was all of us together, under barbed wires and over icy waters. So three cheers to my buddies in sweat and shivers: Ruchika, Amar and Chanakya.
We slayed the Devil (together)!
In fitness and in life, you need a challenge(obstacle) to jump to the next level!
Life is an obstacle race! (From the philosophical ranter in me!)
Obstacle runs may not be everyone’s cup of Gatorade…But come to think of it, our life is an obstacle race in itself! And just like the Devil’s Circuit, each of life’s obstacles are different. Some are daunting, some less so, some may seem easy but get tough on you, while others may be hard but get easy as you go through them. You have to decide whether you will let these overwhelm you or see them in the eye and turn them into opportunities for you to learn and grow.
And the good news is, there is no one right way to overcome each obstacle. So you have to just trust your gut-feeling and rely on your innate power and handle them the way you see fit.
After all, life is about seizing those #booyah moments!