Set Your Mind Right: Raw Challenge – My First Ever Obstacles & Mud Run

I have finally completed my first ever obstacle mud run. You ask me How Was It?! I will say it depends a lot on your mind set. Let me explain.

Raw Challenge, Barington Tops March 2013

Raw Challenge, Barington Tops March 2013

I arrived to Barrington Tops, NSW which is in fact located in the place called Monkerai. It is within same Barrington Tops ridge but another hour drive from the town named Barrington Tops. As a result we arrived on site by the midnight and hurried up to bed. I was very excited about the big day ahead. However it was not just excitement that paired with me but hesitation, nervousness and fear.

I took the race way too seriously … Here is one of the mind sets you might have which will affect your entire perception of the sport. Many people take the race very seriously, being interested in constant physical and mental improvement. And I get it! You can easily distinguish those challenge seekers in the crowd as they always advise everyone to “toughen up” (giggling). This mind set did not make me very happy but scared and so nervous I was up at 5 am (on the race day) staring at the ceiling in the hotel room stopping myself from a mad desire to vomit. I was nervous sick. I was scared sick. It all was gone as soon as the countdown was done and I was running.

Here is another option: have fun! Fun seekers were also present on the race day. They often dressed up in silly outfits and just mess around trying to overcome obstacles in a bunny suit or a woolen wedding costume or whatever they thought would be a great outfit. I did not put too much thinking or planning into it and just put my army tutu on. Worked out okay:)

Annablogia: Raw Challenge, Barrington Tops

Annablogia: Raw Challenge, Barrington Tops

Prior to committing to any races, I met a few racers and got very different ideas from each of them. Some of them made me fear obstacles and mud races, others perceived the entire idea as a joke and could not wait to climb something or jump over something or crawl and swim and more and more of getting in and out country fields and bushes covered in mud and dust. An adult summer camp, I see it 🙂 As a result I had a very confusing and mixed feelings about obstacle racing. Most people around me (who were not involve in any races, ever) thought I was crazy, thought it was dangerous to participate in such event, thought it was too hard etc etc etc. I absorbed a lot of “OMG it will be too hard” attitude while getting ready for the race. With that in mind clearly I thought I would never be 100 percent ready! I trained and trained not even being sure what to train really. I would get upset, to tired, stop training, go back into it and … stress most of the time. No training is done well when your stressing out so much.

I must say I do not belong to any of the mind setting groups I have mentioned earlier. I am not a massive fitness freak and I do not find mud much fun (giggling). So what the heck am I doing racing through the mud on the +30 heat in the middle of nowhere? 

Curiosity and challenge, of course 🙂

Raw Challenge, Barrington Tops March 2013

Raw Challenge, Barrington Tops March 2013

Just like those kids on the picture I spent my entire childhood (or as much as remember it) standing there (literally or figuratively), watching fun passing by. I am a very indoor kid and never really had to climb or run or crawl much or even get too dirty!

I gotta mentioned the fitness side of the event as well. Someone like me who spends much time reading and writing about fitness must express their opinion. Well, let me tell you I found Raw Challenge not very challenging (which I was happy about). I did not race (in the meaning of competing) and constantly had a fellow racer’s helping here and there but what I mean is that I have definitely done harder runs, harder workouts, harder events in my life (in Australia).

A week or so before the race, couple of racers and myself went out to climb some trees. Believe me or not, it was so much harder (for me)! Please do no get me wrong: I am not (!) bragging about the race being too easy or me being too cool for the school, not at all. I am saying that I glorified the entire idea of a mud race so much that I expected it to be as bad a military training session. I think many newcomers or people thinking of joining any of those races need to be shown that a mud run is easy, fun and NOTHING to be scare of. However if you do not know it, no one can persuade you in otherwise. Personally, I need to feel, touch, taste or experience to know for sure! I cannot feel it or fully understand without trying it on myself. I am sure there are many daring people out there, but I am not a part of that world, I try things first 😛

Now, the race itself. An 8 km and over 30 obstacles race orginised by a company called Raw Challenge.

Raw Challenge, Barrington Tops March 2013

Raw Challenge, Barrington Tops March 2013

Apparently there is a fairly large racing community of many very different people with very different lives doing one thing together – race through the mud and obstacles.  It is amazing! And this is my mind set! 🙂 Many madly fit people as well as a few unfit ones run in the bush! I am a big hiking fan therefore racing through some mud pits, climbing over some net walls and mud tubes only adds more excitement to my favorite fun – hiking through Australian bushes. Now, I mentioned unfit people. Let me clarify that personally I find most people unfit due to the fact that we are no longer monkey hence are more fragile and spend more time taking care of ourselves rather than surviving while hunting a wild panther or picking nuts or whatever wild animal would do. However there is a large number of really fit people. Unfortunately they are usually very competitive and not very nice. I use unfortunately due to my own personal experience of meeting people: the fitter they are the meaner their characters. It is just what I have learnt. However do not get me wrong again please 🙂 I take my hat in front of very fit people. I really want to become one one day (without loosing whatever amount of niceness I have). Meanwhile I keep trying! And just like quitting smoking ads say “do not quite trying” I say the same about fitness. Many pretty heavy people were in the race on the day. Many of them did better than I did 🙂 And I am very impressed and excited about it. I am glad people train their endurance. While I am not a big fan of such training I believe it is something we need every day because it trains our will.

I mentioned earlier I am not a passionate mud runner and I do not find mud much of fun BUT I do find challenge and overcoming obstacles and having good fun time in the middle of nowhere FUN!

Raw Challenge, Barrington Tops March 2013

Raw Challenge, Barrington Tops March 2013

Raw Challenge, Barrington Tops March 2013

Raw Challenge, Barrington Tops March 2013

Raw Challenge, Barrington Tops March 2013

Raw Challenge, Barrington Tops March 2013

Initially when I first found out about the existence of mud running I bumped into Tough Mudder which I personally was so awfully scared of that decide to join something as I thought “softer”. I used to see Raw Challenge as my prep course for the Mudder. I hope Raw won’t take it wrong way! I LOVED the race though and going to take it as a great experience. However I AM booking Tough Mudder for October now, meanwhile checking what else is out there: mud runs in Australia (calendar). There is also a very first Female race ONLY called JurrassChick which is a part of Jurrassic Race, an absolutely new race orginiser! I am still deciding on that one. I am simply not sure I want to race with women only, it is really fun to have some strong guys running along with you 🙂 It is a very new race, so might be worth trying! If you are in Australia and want to try mud running but as scared as I was and your mind set is not set yet, feel free to chat with me about it 🙂

Let the mudness take over! 

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