"There are plenty of difficult obstacles in your path. Don't allow yourself to become one of them." ~Ralph Marston
Saturday was finally the day that FEMPOWER ran Toughest London, the notoriously intense 8km, 40 obstacle race in Pippingford Park, Sussex.
I don't want to do a typical race report, suffice to say I loved it and have committed myself to running another in the summer and hopefully Oslo in September. I just wanted to share some race highlights with you and what I learned from it.
The highlight of the day for me had to be the unrelenting support given from each other as a team. FEMPOWER grew to a huge fifty overnight, but by race day we were approximately a courageous twenty and ran in small groups. This was perfect as it created an incredible spirit of comradery which I think may have been lost in a larger group. Not only the team but other runners helped each other with obstacles, injuries and banter was great. Will never forget the man who fell face first into the the mud!
The scenery was unbelievable, it would've been easy to miss just how beautiful the surroundings were with all the running and climbing we were doing. We're talking middle of the woods, huge hills, bluebells and sunshine poking through cumulous clouds. Just stunning!
I learnt so much about my body. To be functionally fit and strong is a privilege. While I didn't have the grip strength to complete a few obstacles, my body adapted and worked just how it should to get through it at relative ease. In all honesty, I did not train for this. I did no sport specific upper body or grip training but I never felt particularly fatigued, the hills were a doddle and I just felt great all the way through. All that jumping up and down, in streams and rivers, climbing over scaffolding and under nets was challenging but never impossible because I'm functionally fit and strong. It was incredible.
Funniest moment; there were a few. First was at the first stream, after watching three men wade through, waist deep, I decided to pull my top up to bra level, announcing I had a clever plan to keep my top dry. I climbed in, took a step into a hole and was boobs deep and drenched within a split second! That's what I get! At 7km there was a river to wade through...it was neck deep and the most intense cold I have ever felt. It took my breath away but actually was a highlight for me as it was so horrific and my whole being was like "FUCK THIS! I'M OFF!" and I broke into breast stroke and crawled out the other side, uttering more swear words than I've ever said before! SURVIVAL IS WOW!
The high after was incredible, Zoe and I lay in a field, butt naked under some towels crying with laughter at what we'd just done! Gotta love some post-race delirium!
Running this race has given me some real thoughts about the direction of FEMPOWER. Seeing these women achieve something they didn't know they could, with some people they had never met before was amazing. Watch this space!
Shout Outs to Zoe, Alice, Toral, Fin, Laura, Salina, Sabrina, Sophie, Fab G, Fab C, Annalisa, Ina, Tanya, Christina, Katie, Liina, Gaby, Eleonora....and offical photographer Jamal and special thanks to Adunni and Ami for all their work behind the scenes!