Tag Archives: OCR

My Total Warrior experience.

Travelling to Bramham on Saturday I had mixed feelings. I was gutted that I was once again not participating yet excited for my first taste of Total Warrior. Arriving just before 8am we were directed to the car park and then made our way to the volunteer tent. Registration was efficient as we were kitted out, provided with lunch and given our zone. I was to be on zone 5, given the number of water safety/lifeguards on the zone it didn’t take a genius to work out it would be a wet one.

After a quick briefing we were driven to our zone and given our first glimpse of our obstacle. Mud Moguls would be my obstacle for the day. I have to admit I don’t look forward to them when I’m participating. Seven energy sapping mounds of mud with a water dip between. How could they not be fun. They were dry as the first guys leaped and bound over them, almost as if they were mere speed bumps. As the masses began to descend the mounds got wetter and wetter, quickly becoming a series of mud slides, the stuff of dreams (well maybe not). Not one to let the participants have all the fun I was soon making my way around and over the moguls offering assistance and encouragement, ok I admit I may have been in the mud pits on more than one occasion, it would have been rude not to. Every participant was great, shaking hands, hugging and saying thank you as they navigated a deceptively difficult obstacle. As the last runners came through, it was time to say goodbye to the moguls, until next time.

Back at the event village we were given our food and drink tokens and thanked for our efforts. This may have been my first experience volunteering at an OCR event but I cannot fault Total Warrior for how they look after their volunteers. Overall I had a great day, I hope the participants had as much fun as I did. I will undoubtedly be volunteering and participating when Total Warrior returns to Leeds. 

Fear, recovery and womanhood?

Fear! Something you face every day. Fear of success, fear of failure, fear of your own mortality, fear of the unknown.  The issue I have with fear is that it’s not tangible. I can’t give you a lump of fear, you can’t hold it in your hands, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.  I’m a big believer in facing your fears, putting yourself in situations that scare you, thus making fear an optional concept, I choose not to be fearful.  I’m scared of water, so I completed an open water swim, I’m scared of pregnant women (feel free to continue reading when you’ve finished laughing) I’ve done pilates surrounded by pregnant ladies. In the build up to surgery I had no fear of the surgery, I’d done my research, had confidence in the medical professionals, I put myself in a position not to be fearful. Recovery can be treated in a similar way. Right now I have a choice, I can sit back, rest and do nothing or I can actively participate in the process do what I can, listen to my body and give it what it needs to recover. I choose to take control, to move forward, to be better physically and mentally.


They say it takes 6 weeks to resume “normal” activities post-hysterectomy, which means today is the half way mark. In reality the 6 week mark will just be the start, the journey back to the activities I miss will be much longer. I miss the feeling of setting a workout, hitting the point where your body is screaming at you to stop and having the strength of mind to keep pushing through. I miss the feeling of sitting under a bar, legs threatening to give way and still finding a way to stand tall. Strangely, I miss the feeling of being on a run, lungs burning, legs feeling like they’re stuck in treacle and hitting that zone where nothing else matters, the minutes fly by as you empty your mind whilst contemplating life’s problems. I can’t understand why people take drugs when these feelings are freely available through physical efforts. With my main goal this year (rat Race Dirty Weekend) already ruled out I’m currently setting out to fill the next few months with as many challenges as possible, after all what says “F**k you” to fibroids and surgery better than pushing yourself through obstacles and challenges with a smile on your face?


Prior to surgery many of the forums I read talked of a great sense of loss that women feel following a hysterectomy. The loss of ever being able to carry children and frequently the loss of feeling like a woman, the loss of “womanhood”. I often questioned the inevitability of these thoughts, after all I knew I didn’t want to carry children and keeping my ovaries would keep hormone levels relatively stable. Would the surgery really change how I feel about myself as a woman? Three weeks on and these feelings are nowhere to be felt. Am I any less of a woman because I’m missing a few organs? I guess that depends on how you look at things. Biologically yes, without my uterus, cervix and tubes I am less of a woman but in reality? My point of view is that being a strong woman is about being strong physically, mentally and having strength of character. Physically I’m doing whatever my body allows, mentally there have been good days and bad days but I keep working on my frustrations and occasional emotional outbursts, however no matter what challenge I’ve faced I’ve stayed true to myself and that, I believe, is what makes me a strong woman!


Taking it easy Vs Being sensible


This blog was supposed to be a review of, what would likely have been, a great afternoon of fun at The Suffering, 6 months and 7 days before the big one, Rat race Dirty Weekend . However rather than a tale of excitement and fun, feats of endurance and strength as I dragged myself and family through what looked like an adults playground, this blog is about road blogs, sulking and geeking out!

rat race

With my final Obstacle run of 2016 just days away and excitement building my body gave me a sharp reminder that not all is well, Body 1 – Fun 0! It may have been a shift at work involving lots of lifting, stubbornness at pilates (Note to self – that look and “is that ok” question actually means “try the lower option”) or it may have been the culmination of a busy training week. Whatever the reason the result was the same, a missed weekend with the family and an unused race entry. To say I am disappointed would be an understatement, and even by my relatively unsociable standards, I have been in serious need of an “approach with caution” sign above my head as I pulled off a rather impressive angry elf impression.


Two days of sulking and being fed up is over, it’s time to return to being grateful for the progress I’ve made and look forward to the remaining journey to the Full Mucker. Six months, six days and 12 hours to prepare for a challenge that will test endurance, strength and guts. Plenty of time in normal circumstances however, in just over a months time I am expecting to undergo abdominal surgery with a 6-8 week recovery period. Yes that is cutting it fine, but I like a challenge.


I’ve written before about controlling my competitive/stubborn streak and although I still need to work on that I am making progress. More and more I’m able to ignore others and focus on myself, my form and my movements. Despite this shift in attitude friends and family still insist on telling me to “take it easy” something I find difficult to understand when it comes to training.


How much progress can actually be made by “taking it easy”? My thinking is not much! So here lies the problem, how can I make progress towards my goals of being in the best shape possible for surgery, facilitating my recovery and preparation for the rat race weekend whilst not aggravating my current circumstances. As a geek knowledge and understanding are my tools of choice, my thinking being, that if you understand how and why things work it’s easier to make informed decisions, make the most of training time and avoid anything that might aggrevate or detract from training. So this weekend my kindle has taken a hammering, a reading list containing texts on calisthenics, Heart rate training, Yoga and pilates  has been created as I look to plan my training for the next month in the most “sensible” way I know. Stay tuned to find out if it works or if the angry elf returns.


Why I’m doing what I’m doing



Why I’m running.

It has been just over a month since I signed up for the Rat Race Dirty weekend, since then I’ve been asked on numerous occasions “why?”. It would be easy to use the infamous quote of “because it’s there” or even more simply because “I like a challenge”, but whilst these both ring true there is a much deeper answer. You see when people ask the question “where are you from” the answer isn’t as simple as “insert name place here”, I was born in Hartlepool but my dad made the decision to join the army when I was three so have lived in numerous places since. For that reason I don’t have a real connection with any one place, I do however have a strong sense of belonging to the forces community, even now that I am settled in Leeds and my dad has retired from the forces.

I found transitioning from living in a forces environment to being a student immersed in civilian student life. I had time to be able to adjust to this transition but for some the transition comes out of the blue often initiated by some form of catastrophic event. The unsung heroes in the forces are those left behind whilst those serving perform the duties for which they are trained. The wives and families that keep the home running, the kids happy, the Christmases’, birthdays and school holidays as normal as possible, all whilst acting as the mother, the father and managing their own worries and concerns. As a child growing up I waved my dad off several times knowing, although perhaps not understanding, that he may not return. I will forever be grateful that he always returned home safe. Many families are not so fortunate and for every soldier who pays the ultimate price for his country there are colleagues, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, wives/husbands and children who must continue to pay that price. It is for these reasons that we have chosen two forces charities to raise funds and awareness for in our journey to completing the dirty weekend.

The first of our charities is Scotty’s little soldiers . Remember the unsung heroes I spoke about in the paragraph above? Well one of these is Nicky, she lost her husband Corporal Scott and as a result of the impact this event had on her family she set up this wonderful charity to offer support to bereaved families. The charity offers support in dealing with the emotional turmoil as a result of bereavement, it offers support, activities and respite that helps these young people realise that it is ok to smile again and helps those who are a little older plan their future through further education grants. Scotty’s is doing great things raising awareness for the unique circumstances and challenges these young people face. They have recently announced “Scotty’s day” in July and I for one cannot wait to wear my Scotty’s “tattoo” and t-shirt for the day.


The second charity is The Royal British Legion . The charity is most noted for the Poppy appeal and this years celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Somme, but their work continues year round. They help ensure the memory of those fallen are never forgotten, the needs of those serving are met with support, care and guidance, they support veterans, the families of the forces community and bereaved families. The Royal British Legion stands by those who have previously served maintaining that sense of community and belonging. I for one feel an immense sense of pride when I see veterans of all ages parading alongside current serving soldiers whilst children cheer and wave their flags aloft. The Royal British Legion play a large role in facilitating these proud moments and long may it continue.


The added motivation of knowing that actually signing up for these events and enjoying yourself is really a small price to pay to help raise awareness and funds (Karli and Petes fundraising page) for these worthwhile charities, when I know I have a tough training day planned or I really don’t want to go to the gym or outside for a run I think about the reasons I’m doing it and those thoughts are quickly dispersed. As for training I cannot remember being more motivated or enjoying training as much as I am right now, I see my dads Strava feed and see his progress and activity levels and begin to see the holistic benefits, the bigger picture of signing up for a challenging event. There are plenty out there, Running, Swimming, triathlon and obstacle/mud running are just a few of these.