It’s hard to believe as I sit here eating maltesers and quaffing wine that this time last week I was knee/waist deep in mud, swimming in a lake and jumping over fire! I’m so proud I completed it, albeit slowly, especially as Baby D is only 8 months old and still breastfeeding – I felt a little full at the end and I wore a bra and a sports bra on top but it was not really an issue, he is happily taking solids and water so was fine for the duration of the race. I put myself in for it when Baby D was about 4 months old to inspire me to get fit again after having him as I was having trouble with eating too much and not exercising enough! It worked to an extent as I had to train for it and make sure I was eating right. Lets hope I can keep it up. There are different levels of Spartan race you can do, this was the shortest distance of 5k with lots of obstacles and mud! It was a lovely sunny day, the race was held at Ashburnham Place in East Sussex which was a stunning location in itself.
I arrived on my own and was due to meet up with my other team members from my gym at the YMCA. I was so nervous as I didn’t feel fit enough and hadn’t done nearly enough training! I saw this and nearly decided to abandon it and have a cream tea instead:
The atmosphere was great so I braved it and met up with my team mates ready to start. We had to scale a small wall just to reach the starting line which even that was a challenge! What had I let myself in for? Off we headed and soon we were in a trench of waist high muddy water – mind over matter was needed because I didn’t want to think about what was lurking underneath! The race was a mixture of stunning woodland, fields and tracks, water and mud trenches and of course the obstacles! We had rope climbing, weight carrying, wall scaling, scramble nets, barbed wire all in the mix. I stayed smiling through most of it…
The scariest bit of this really long barbed wire crawl was the worms! I hate them and I had to put my actual hand on them, bleurgh. It also smelled of cow dung. The most challenging part of the race for me was swimming across the lake – we were told to only do it if we were confident swimmers – that wasn’t a problem for me as I believe I’m a strong swimmer but I hate thinking about what’s underneath the water and anything that brushed against me sent another shiver (it was pretty darn cold) down my spine. There were helpers in canoes so we were safe, I just tried to go as quickly as I could whilst wearing clothes and shoes, not my normal swim gear! We then had a few obstacles including a spear throw where if you missed the targets you had to do 30 burpees (a hellish exercise) – I missed. Then it was the swim back! I almost wimped out but I knew I’d be disappointed in myself so back in the water I went. I saw the camera at the end and faked a smile.
After that epic swim the rest of it was quite pleasant, I had the company of two lovely ladies and we had some lovely chats on the way round and at the end of it we felt like we’d really achieved something. The last obstacle was three walls to scale of progressing heights, there were burly guys around to help us even though I felt like a sack of potatoes. The last wall I managed to tumble not so gracefully off the top and land on the supporting strut right on my knees, ouch! At least it wasn’t my head. The last ‘hurdle’ was the fire jump. I’d done a Spartan race three years ago (when I was a lot fitter) and I’d chickened out of jumping the fire and did a mini jump at the side of it. I took a run up and leapt over it feeling the heat below but I did it! Someone standing at the sidelines from our team managed to snap the perfect photo for me.
A moment I won’t forget in a hurry. I couldn’t have made it round without my team mates Adele and the lovely Louise who kept me going and made it such a lovely experience. Whether I’ll do it again, mind, I’m not sure, it took me (and my knees) a few days to recover! Here’s me and Louise after the event:
Here’s a before and after, my face says it all:
The state of my trainers at the end:
So, my best tip to get fit after having a baby is to sign up for something crazy and get yourself out of your comfort zone, the world is waiting!