Sunday, 19 October 2014

Challenge 10: Men's Health Survival of the Fittest

I won't lie. I was not looking forward to this challenge.

I was mainly dreading it because as a result of September being a month filled with colds and infections any training I might have done had been well and truly sacked off. One of the key trends throughout this year, and attested to by these blogs, is that I have a tendency to turn up to things pretty much underprepared anyway. So on this occasion you might say that I was under - under prepared. Let's just not let the boundaries of the English language constrain us too much. Under - under prepared can be a thing. I just made it so.

I was also not in the mood to have my spectacular lack of fitness become really, really evident to me. I was quite content sitting on my couch, watching my tenth consecutive episode of Gossip Girl and kidding myself that if I really wanted to I could just pop out for a casual, easy as you like, 10k run no bother. There's a famous quote which goes a little something like 'Denial isn't just a river in Egypt'. Well it isn't. Denial is also a really comfortable state of mind which I have inhabited for the past two months.

However, I have broadcast to everyone I know, and plenty that I don't, that I'll be completing a challenge every month throughout this year. To back out of that promise would be pretty embarrassing - although by now I'm sure most people will just be glad to hear the end of it. Looking like a failure only marginally trumps being in denial for me, so with much huffing and puffing I set off for today's challenge.

It was raining of course, as it has for pretty much every challenge I've taken part in this year. Thankfully, the rain did stop and the sun did shine a little by the time my group was ready to set off. Thank the lord for small mercies.

The premise of the event is that it's an urban assault course, so something along the lines of Tough Mudder but a little less mud (and if I'm honest a little less tough). The obstacles were fairly basic - mainly sort of metal contraptions which involved a bit of climbing, a bit of ducking and a bit of scrambling. There were a few monkey bars which I missed out because I have never been possessed of the ability to tackle the damn things.

The course was 10k, which is a distance I'm fairly comfortable with so I wasn't too worried about it. However, it was set in Edinburgh, a city in which everything seems to be uphill. Thanks to Edinburgh's topography it was a hilly and very tough course which involved climbing about seven sets of stairs and clambering to the top of Carlton Hill and Arthur's Seat. In between that there was plenty of uphill terrain around the Royal Mile and the Grassmarket too. For those competitors who weren't from Edinburgh, I could imagine that it was a pretty spectacular route but for me, it's probably the first time I've actively hated this city. My thought process was a constant repeat of ''CAN'T WE JUST GET A FLAT BIT OF ROAD!?!? OH AYE, YET ANOTHER SPECTACULAR VIEW OF THE CITY!'' Humph.

We also ran through the Cowgate which, for those who don't know, is the part of Edinburgh where copious amounts of students congregate on a Saturday night. Running through the alleyways in this part of town entailed dodging a couple of piles of sick, a multitude of empty cans of Tennants and a few abandoned kebabs.

The last kilometre was a run back into Princes Street Gardens where there was a number of obstacles to get through before I could run on to the final wall, climb over and make my way over the finish line. I thought that this was the best part of the course because these obstacles were quite tough. There was cold water, there were high walls and there were tyres to crawl through.

I did fail miserably at the climbing wall, which I thought I'd scamper up no problem, but you see, climbing seven sets of stairs and numerous hills really takes it out of your legs. Plus they were heavy with the water from the previous obstacles and so they just weren't playing ball with me really. It was pretty handy that they chose that time to give up because it was the only obstacle where Ryan had a clear shot of me with the camera. Maybe it was performance anxiety? Let's not go there.

I made it across the finish line with a smile on my face and then went to pick up my goody bag which I do love because you normally get some free food in there. Walking back to the car with my parents and Ryan I excitedly delved into the bag with a little 'ooohh I wonder what's in here?' only to pull out a box of Durex lubricant. (Warming for him, tingling for her if you're wondering).

'Oh, some lube' I said cheerily, before recognising that the audience was my gobsmacked boyfriend and my mortified parents. I immediately followed this up with a joke about how this combined with the bottle opener on my finisher's medal meant that we were in for a good Sunday night. Evidently, I've not learned the primary rule of comedy - know your audience. So all that really remains is for me to say thank you Men's Health. Really. Thank you for one of the most awkward moments of my life*.

*My parents are a good laugh so it wasn't all that awkward. Just a little.


  1. Haha at least the random/awkward lube moment provides a good story! This actually sounds like quite a fun challenge (although I realise that's easy for me to say when I'm sat on my bum with a takeaway pizza on my lap!). Well done for completing yet another challenge! x

    1. Haha yeh it was rather random but a funny way to end the challenge.

      It was quite good fun but if you were gonna do an obstacle course I'd definitely recommend tough mudder; much better value for money.

      I'm aching today - I'll be happy to get the next two over and done with!

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