I did it! I survived! Man, was I nervous. There were a few times I just wanted to call the whole thing off. But I put on my big girl panties, got started, and I’m so glad I did! It was really fun, and I’m super proud of myself. And I met a real life ninja warrior!
So to recap my goals:
- Not get injured: I didn’t get injured! I’ve got some bumps and bruises, and some road rash on my arm, but nothing more serious than that. I was very thankful.
- Not embarrass myself: I didn’t! I think I kept up with most of the people there. Some completed obstacles I couldn’t, and some fell off on stuff I completed. I felt pretty at par with the majority of the other people there.
- Complete 3 obstacles: I attempted all of them, and successfully completed 9-10 of the 18 obstacles. I’ll describe the details below. So yay! I was happy with that!
So we got there, and of course I started checking out everyone else that was doing the course. Most of them looked like professional athletes, at least in my mind. This picture captures one of the many moments of me thinking ‘I don’t belong here. I’m not ready for this. What the heck was I thinking?! Let’s just call this whole thing off.’ But I’ve got too much pride to back out when we’re already there, and my kids were watching me, so I mustered some confidence and stuck around.
I originally didn’t plan on wearing gloves. I’ve never trained in them, didn’t own any, and know I can’t use them on ninja so figured I shouldn’t start. Then the info email went out and said gloves were HIGHLY recommended, and then my mom came to town to cheer me on and suggested maybe I just take some with me and then decide if I want to use them or not. So about 8 pm the night before I went to the store and bought some and I’m so glad I did! There was a course volunteer that was talking to us beforehand on advice, and he said make sure you wear gloves. My hands got blood blisters through my gloves, I can’t imagine what they would have looked like if I hadn’t had them on. I saw lots of ripped open bleeding hands afterwards of people that didn’t wear them.
They had said they were going to release 9 people every 3 minutes, and I was technically scheduled to be in the 3rd group to go. But they just had everyone gather in the starting corral, let the 3 ‘elites’ go first, and then just let small groups go every few minutes, whoever stepped up first. It seemed as though most people doing it were in teams together. I held back in the crowd because I wanted to see how other people ahead of me did. And because I was scared, let’s be honest.
The very first obstacle was these giant barrels you were supposed to jump over. The elite guys just flew over them. The next group was all guys and flew over them too. I started to get real nervous. But then after that people started to not be able to get over them, and I felt better. Then I was ready to just get started and go. Of the 30ish people I saw go before me, I’d say about 90% of the guys got over, and 0% of the girls got over without some kind of help.
So without further ado, the obstacles:
1. Monster barrels:
These got much bigger the closer to them you got. Like I said, most of the guys flew over the top, and none of the girls did. They either got a boost from someone else, or just skipped it. My husband and I disagree on if I successfully completed it. I used the rigging to help get a leg up, and then crawled over the top of the barrels. I call that cheating. He disagrees. He says because I went over the top of all of them I did complete, and was just using what I had. That’s me in the middle with my butt up in the air.
2. Side Winder:This was basically a hanging cargo net you had to go sideways across. Pretty easy. Successful complete #1 (or #2 if you’re counting with my husband, but since he’s not writing this, it’s #1)
This one was harder than it looked. I’ve never climbed up an inverted cargo net before. Once you got to the top you had to throw your legs over to come down, that was tricky. But I did it! Successful complete #2!
4. Sea of Ropes
This one broke my heart. I fell on the last rope before the finish deck. I should have used my legs more. I had my feet on the disks, but they tipped and moved, so it took a lot of core strength to stay upright on them. I compensated by mostly just using my arms to go from rope to rope and my grip gave out at the end.
Next time I’ll stop and balance on a disk if I need to, build up more strength. I just slid off the last rope at the end. I should have been able to finish this one, but I didn’t. FAIL!
At this point I was totally worn out and winded. I was surprised at how winded I got between obstacles. I didn’t anticipate that. It’s hard to do them back to back to back. I knew my muscles would get tired, but I wasn’t able to even draw in a full breath. I need to work on my stamina.
5. Gut Buster
This one was 2 parallel bars that you had to go vertically across with hands on one bar and feet on the other. I’m second from the left in this picture. The bars started close together at the start, then spread apart as they went higher, then came back together as they came back down to the ground.
I anticipated not being able to do this one, but it wasn’t that bad. And I didn’t fall! Successful complete #3!
6. Pipe bombs
Basically a bunch of vertically hanging bars you had to make your way across. I started out good, high up on the bars. But every time I moved one forward I slipped down a little, and my grip finally gave out. This was a fun one, but I fell about halfway through. My grip gave out before my arms did. I’ve gotta work on my grip strength more. FAIL!
7. Sky Walk
On this one, you had to climb up the ramp, and then there were several raised platforms with low trampolines in between. You had to jump down onto the trampoline, and then up to the next platform. The raised platforms got higher each time, so you had to jump higher to make it up.
The last platform was pretty high, but I was able to jump up onto all the platforms. Succesful complete #4!
Getting down off this obstacle was the first time I had some fear factor in there. When you’re standing up at the top of the pole, it looks like a looong way down. This is how you had to get down from a lot of the tall obstacles. This one wasn’t too high, but there were some that were much taller. When my muscles were shot, I wasn’t totally sure I’d be able to let myself down. But there’s no other way down, so you gotta do what you gotta do. My arms didn’t fail me, and I got down softly.
This one was fun. And scary. You had to swing across the gap (the website says it’s 30 feet), and grab onto the inverted cargo net on the other side. When you’re up there, it looks like a long way down, and I knew if I slipped off that rope mid-swing I’d land hard. Probably on my back or head. And again, I wasn’t sure my arms would hold up.
But they did! Then it was another climb up and over an inverted cargo net. Successful complete #5!
9. Chopper Crawl
This one is a little hard to see, but basically it’s a vertical ladder, on a slack line, suspended about 4 feet above the ground, with a net right above you, I guess so you have to stay low. Some core strength and balance were involved, but it wasn’t too bad. Successful complete #6!
10. Radial Rings
This one broke my heart, too. So it was a semi-circle of hanging rings. 3 basic ring lanes, inside, middle, outside. I started out really good. I was on the inside row, and wonder woman in front of me was on the middle row.
Then she got stuck. She had one hand on the middle ring, and kept swinging side to side to the inside and outside rings trying to right her momentum. Because she was taking up the entire width, I couldn’t go around her on either side. I had to keep swinging on my 2 rings, not going anywhere, hoping she would either drop down or get out of the way, so I could keep going. I used up a whole lot of energy trying to wait for her.
Then she finally fell, and ran into my legs on the way down. My momentum totally stopped trying to get out of her way and not kick her in the head. I couldn’t get it going again after that, and I ended up dropping down too. I feel like I honestly could have finished this one if all that hadn’t happened. So it’s not a successful complete, but I’m not calling it a fail either. It was more of a situational disappointment.
11. Slack City
This was a series of 3 slack lines between platforms. The first was 3 parallel slack lines going down towards the ground. Then 3 lines that crossed in the center going up (picture above), and then finally 2 parallel slack lines going down again,
which I crab walked down. I’m not sure that was the best technique, but it worked! This was another one I didn’t think I would be able to complete and I did. Successful complete #7!
12. Camel Back
I was thinking ‘Ain’t no way’ here in this picture. I was tired. My arms were tired. And this was wavy pipes you had to muscle across.
I attempted but didn’t get very far. That hump that goes up is no joke. Super hard. Maybe next time. FAIL!
13. Spider Wall
This is one I thought I’d be able to do, but couldn’t end up finishing. It was 3 sections, each one higher than the last. I was able to do the first section, but couldn’t finish the last 2. Perhaps if it had been earlier in the course I could have done better, but after 12 obstacles, I was just too tired. FAIL!
14. Robin Wood
I’m not sure what the trick to this one was supposed to be. Or maybe they just wanted to throw an easy one in towards the end. It was just a cargo net up and then you had to let yourself down the inverted side. Succesful complete #8!
It had been forecasted to rain this morning. Instead it was hot and muggy. I’m thankful for the answered prayer of no rain. I’m also thankful for the water stations.
15. Battering Rams
This was another one that was painful. In more ways than one. There were these hanging pipes on the left, stair stepping up. They were suspended on chains, so they swung around a lot. I had thought they would be soft, like a pool noodle. They were not. They were very hard, and had a bit of grit to them, like the bottom of a pool. When you got to the top stair stepped one, you had to get across the high perpendicular one, and then get down the descending stair step ones again. I wanted this one so bad. I closed my eyes going across the top one, and when I finally opened them and looked down I saw the event film and photo crew on me. No pressure. I got to the very end of the high one and everything gave out. I got some road rash on my arms and legs from dragging them across those poles. This one is going to leave a mark. I WILL finish this one next time. FAIL!
16. Gorilla Bars
The last obstacles were inside the ‘Alcatraz’ box, which is the thing in the very first picture of this post. You started out climbing up the chain ramp,
and then through the tunnels.
And then got to the gorilla bars, which are uphill monkey bars spaced a good bit apart.
This was a big fat FAIL! I’m usually okay with monkey bars, but not when they’re this far apart, uphill, and after a whole obstacle course.
Then you climbed up another net tunnel, and another one again, to get to the top. I felt like I was at the playground at Chick-fil-A, except not really.
17. Vertical Rope
I don’t know the actual name of this one because it’s not on the website. It looks like it replaced an obstacle that’s not there anymore. Once you got about 3 stories up, there was a looong vertical rope to get across. I wanted this one bad. It was really hard, and I have rope burn on the back of my legs. This used my arms, legs, core, and surprisingly, my neck muscles.
And the transition from the first rope to the second was tricky because there was a little gap. But I did it! This is the one I’m most proud of. Succesful complete #9!
18. Broken Bars
This was the last obstacle. It was kind of cool because we were about 3 stories up, and there was a net underneath us, then the crowd was down below us looking up. It was kind of not cool because my entire body was totally shot and I was not able to get across these. They were swinging bars going in all directions. I saw very few people successfully do this one so I didn’t feel too bad. FAIL!
Then it was down another cargo net,
and down to the finish.
I got a banana, which my kids took, a t-shirt and medal. I will say that I did have the best cheering squad out there. Besides my kids, my mom and husband were there, and they all cheered so loud and kept me going. Thanks family!David Yarter has been on several seasons of American Ninja Warrior and he was there. I’m not sure if I was more nervous to run the course or go up and talk to him. But he was so super nice, and it totally solidified my theory that Ninjas are pretty much the nicest people on the planet. Thanks David for humoring us with a picture!!
And then I totally splurged on fried chicken, fries, rolls and gravy, and a half sweet tea for lunch. I figured I earned it. It was so yummy!
So all in all, a very successful day. I’ve learned that I still want to be a Ninja Warrior, I need to work on my grip strength, I need to be more serious about my hanging practice, and I need to have more confidence in my abilities. I was surprised at how my grip gave out before my arm strength. I figured it would have been the other way around. But it just goes to show how much progress I’m making in all the upper body work I’m doing.
They’re doing another Alpha Warrior run in November and I hope to go. There’s a few obstacles that I need a do-over on. I will get my revenge.