Never in a million years did I think the day would come when I could tell you that I completed an obstacle course, never mind one called THE GRIND.
Life has taken many turns for me in the past year. As I continue to battle and keep my weight under control, but one thing which is unwavering and not negotiable in my mind is exercise. After living an almost entirely sedentary lifestyle, being overweight, over stressed and burned out ... life gave me a big reality check and kick up the butt ... I do not intend to go back there! Ever!

While boot camp and this kind of exercise comes with its own challenges, I have arthritis in all my arm joints which are part hereditary and part from 20 years of abuse through massaging (I am a beauty therapist by trade). I also suspect that I have Fibromyalgia which is first on my list to attend to next year.

It means more blood tests and maybe a few adjustments to my lifestyle again and is apparently a common progression after Adrenal Fatigue. Either way, I will never quit my exercise ... no matter how frustrated I get, how much pain I may endure ... it is nothing compared to just giving up!

SO WHAT IS THE GRIND?
Well there are various options available to competitors, but the two most popular categories are as follows:
6km Run and 20 - 30 obstacles
12km Run and 30 - 40 obstacle
and then there are the masters etc. (so not my league right now)

Find more info here: THE GRIND OBSTACLE COURSE

WHAT DID I EXPERIENCE?
Well going into this with no previous experience meant that I was a mixture of excitement, apprehension, and self-doubt, as well as 'clueless'!

The first kilometer was a killer with loads of soft sand which made it hard going for this wanna-be runner, but I pushed through and on to the first obstacle wich was like a spider web, with under and over movements around rope, all whilst balancing on narrow little poles ...eish!

As the day progressed the sun seemed sweltering, I was dying of thirst but it was onwards towards the other obstacles including clambering over old trees , balancing on moving beams , hoisting up a pile of tires, under and over on poles and more ... it was the sight of water that made me smile if only for a moment, as I glugged down the wetness with pure joy ... that was until I rounded the corner to the next obstacle.

Picture a wall of tyres strung together about 3 meters high (which also moves , just by the way). I quickly scurried up the front face but soon realised my weakness is my upper body strength (not surprising with my arthritis and Fibromyalgia) but hey, I got over with much pulling, grunting and determination, I looked down (big mistake) and realised how fragile we really are ... a sign of getting older I guess. Once over, I was down and on my way again.

The rest of the course comprised of leopard crawls through leafy tunnels, dragging tyres behind the body on a rope, solid wooden walls and endless time running on clay roads in the blazing heat. The competitors are so friendly and encouraging, helping each other and always happy to smile ... so refreshing considering the task at hand.

The highlight and challenge of my 6 km's actually came in the last 2 km with the water obstacles. I think the first muddy pond was my 'happy place' and I could've stayed there all day quite happily. Now the 2nd and third mud pools were pure clay sludge and really freaked my germ and bug phobia brain ... but I pushed through and made it ...even if my pants went from black to a muddy gray in mere minutes.

As I came to the last kilometer, I joined up with those who did the 12km from my boot camp and we all finished by running the hills and valley's which followed ... successfully crossing the finish line in 1.59 minutes (not impressive for some, for me a victory of note!)

HAPPY ENDING'S
Would I do it again? Heck yes, I will be back next year, and I am looking to doing far more of them too.

We all recuperated with copious amounts of water followed by ice-cream, iced-coffees, and beer!

WE SURVIVED THE GRIND!