I wasn't originally planning on participating. Then, a couple of my teammates competed and were talking about the experience. I also found out contestants received a really nice red long-sleeved tech shirt and a phone armband.
Allright, what the heck. I am in need of a phone armband and I like red shirts. So I went to the fitness center and signed on up as a walk-in.
This picture was taken a few years ago, but I think it represents well. ;-)
|Ninja Warrior contestant and/or bank robber? You decide!|
One of the contest coordinators, Willie, walked me through the course. This is what it entailed:
- Zig zag run with bear crawl on the return - 2 laps
- Shuttle-run sprints - 3 laps
- Step-ups onto a bench while holding a 25-lb plate - 50 total, 25 on each leg
- Crunches - 50
- Squat jumps - 50
- Burpee on Step 360, followed by hopping over the Step - 2 laps, 10 burpees/steps each lap
- Tricep dips - 50
- Jump rope - 50
- Push-ups - 50
- Plate push - 3 laps
Good lord. What did I just get myself into?
The competition was based on how quickly each of us could complete the course. I had heard the current leader finished in approximately 8 minutes, but most people were finishing around the 15-20 minutes range.
I didn't have much time to think about it. Willie told me I'd be starting in about 2 minutes. I hadn't done any warm up, so I tried to quickly stretch out my calves and hips. Then I hit the course.
The zig zag run and bear crawl were pretty easy. Obviously, it's always going to feel good when you're starting out. I was able to move the bear crawl along quickly by keeping most of my weight in my legs.
The shuttle-run sprints were also no big deal. It was a flashback to gym class growing up, when we had to do a Presidential Fitness Test every year.
Then, things started getting real.
The bench onto which we had to step was higher than my knees. Yowza. It was no joke to step up 25 times on each leg while carrying a 25-lb plate. I alternated and did two sets on 10 step ups on each leg, then finished with 5 each. Unfortunately I had done some serious lower-body strength-training the day before. My quads and hamstrings wasted no time reminding me of this.
Next, the crunches. This was a nice break for both my legs and my lungs. It was the easiest of the 10 activities on the circuit.
During the squat jumps, my legs once again loudly reminded me who was boss. Towards the end, I was barely getting off the ground. I was faking it somewhat by swinging my arms with gusto. =D
Burpees were next on the Step 360s. UGH, I HATE BURPEES. We had to do the burpee on the Steps, raise the Step into the air above our head, then put the Step back down and jump over it. At first, I put the Steps down neatly in front of me. After a few burpees, I stopped caring and I started flinging the Step down to the ground. One time it bounced back and caromed off to the side. This meant I had to go chase it down. Willie cheerfully told me to be careful.
I made the tricep dips that followed as easy as possible by bringing my feet close to my hips. Boom!
Jumping rope again reminded me of gym class growing up. I tried not to waste too much energy by jumping too high. But I didn't want to get hit by the rope, so I overcompensated. Once again, my legs unwittingly screamed at me.
We had the option of doing the push-ups on our hands or our knees. You better believe I did them on my knees, haha! It felt like the longest set up of push-ups, ever. I was dripping sweat onto the floor.
Finally, the plate push. I think it was a 50-lb plate that was set up on a towel on the ground, which we had to push back and forth. I had a heck of a time getting it started. I had to lean into the plate with all of my body weight, and leverage the wall behind me. I screamed, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" Once I got started, momentum helped. But having to do 3 laps with all the requisite starts and stops was literally a momentum killer. "HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO DO THIS???" I feared slipping and falling flat onto my face.
After completing the circuit, I was SO BEAT.
All the strength work involved made the finish feel worse than how I usually feel after finishing a race. And believe me, that is saying something!
I told Willie I was ready to go home and pass out. He asked me if I wanted to guess what my final finishing time was. I said, "19 minutes?" He said "Nope. 13 minutes flat!"
What an INSANE fitness challenge that was. In the end, I am glad I did it! And I don't know if I'd ever do it again. =D
I did hear there was at least one DNF from a man who threw up mid-course. Yikes.
Thank you to all the organizers who put this event together! I'm currently waiting to hear how I stacked up against all of the other competitors. In the meantime, I am thrilled to have finished ahead of the curve!
This picture was taken at the PNC YMCA Turkey Trot a few years ago, but you get the idea =):
|Thumbs up from the Ninja Warrior/bank robber =D|