Now I know this blog is all about sport and exercise in Eindhoven, but today I’m taking a detour to Wijchen, near Nijmegen. The reason? The Strong Viking Obstacle Run that two friends and I completed on Saturday.
A few months ago, Viking-Wannabe-Farran put out a call on Facebook, asking if any friends were up for the Strong Viking Obstacle Run – Mud Edition. I was tagged in this very message. How could I say no to such a fun kind of challenge? Before I allowed myself time to really consider it, I went and paid. I was locked in as a Viking-Wannabe. Barbara, I guess, is on the same kooky wavelength, and she also decided to become a Viking-Wannabe. That was that. Three Strong Vikings in the making.
A few days after I registered, I scoured the internet for training advice, and hassled my friends and family who have done quite a number of obstacle races. I was inundated with advice and tips. I narrowed it down to a plan I felt I could more or less follow, with a few of my own adjustments. You see, training for me is like baking. You can follow the recipe and end up with a good cake, but made to someone else’s tastes. If I add some extra ingredients, or disregard the ones I’m not keen on, I get a cake that I love. You know what I mean? Plus, it was a 6 week training plan. I had loads more time than that, right?
There’s nothing like a bit of motivation
Loads of time turned into “Oh crap, this race is fast approaching and I have definitely not done enough to prepare for a 7km run with 21 obstacles.” Luckily, we had set up a Viking-Wannabe Whatsapp group to motivate each other. Some very useful motivational tips included:
I’m watching Ninja Warrior NL for inspiration. Are you watching, too?
Are your families coming to support/laugh at us?
How’s Ireland doing in the rugby?
I can’t join you for a run because it’s St Patrick’s day next week.
There was also quite a long discussion about tea.
The Day of the Mud
We couldn’t have asked for a better day. Blue skies and sunshine. We babbled all the way from Eindhoven to Wijchen, and decided our motto was to stay together and have fun. It was smooth sailing to get our start numbers and drop our bags off. Considering our wave was the last of the day, the toilets were still in quite good condition. Bonus!
We made sure to take a few before-selfies as we basked in the sun. And while we feasted on Unicorn Fuel, we watched the wave before ours to see how we could best tackle the first obstacle – a high wall that marked the starting line. We definitely decided that hanging head first over said wall wasn’t the ideal way to start.
It was time. The MC did a fabulous job of getting everyone pumped up, and the warm up was fun. On our knees, arms in air, we took our Viking pledge! Then the countdown was on. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…climb! There were more than enough fellow Vikings to give a leg up to get over the wall, but I hate to think how the last ones managed to get over it? (Perhaps they actually did some proper training).
There was mud, and more mud. And mud trenches. And there was lots of climbing, crawling, balancing, pulling, carrying and battling. Dragon Ropes, Tunnel Hurdles, Log Road, Storm the Castle, Raise the Sail, Skeleton Frame, Hammer Banger, Walhalla Walls, and the one that (surprisingly) turned out to be my favourite of the day, Brother Hill. This one, more than any other, required real teamwork to get through. There is a Viking out there who helped not only me, but about 12 others up and over this obstacle. I don’t know who or where you are, but you will forever be known to me as the Champion of All Vikings.
Highlights, in no particular order
- Successfully completing 18 of the 21 obstacles
- A Viking insisting I stand on his head to get onto the Walhalla Walls at the finish line
- The finish line
- The choice of beer or water at the finish line (can you guess what we chose?)
- The atmosphere
- The challenge
- The mud
- Transforming from Viking Wannabe to Strong Viking with two top friends!
Until next year! Oorah!