Hi guys. Apologies for being MIA for a while. I’ve been running round lost in Dartmoor (a very hilly and beautiful place in the UK) on a three-day team building event with work. Let me tell you, I am shattered. Possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever done physically.
It’s called the UK Challenge and 50 teams took part. My company just had one team of six (me and five guys). We left on Thursday morning and got to Exeter university where everyone was based for the challenge at lunch time. We stayed in the halls of residence (I felt like a student again!). We were then assigned our very cool (*cough* not) outfits.
We had to wear these the whole time on every challenge
The challenges were events where you had to run about (or cycle or canoe) and solve different puzzles within certain times. It sounds fairly easy saying it like that but honestly the puzzles were a nightmare and the physical elements of it were TOUGH.
For example, for one of the challenges you had to run 5km (with pit stops in between to solve puzzles) to then get on your bike and cycle 5km (with puzzle stops) and then run 2km to finish. But this is Dartmoor, and we were basically running up mountains (or so it felt like).
Sometimes the hills became so tough we had to get off our bikes and push them as it was just impossible otherwise.
Doing one challenge would have been tough but fine. But there were multiple a day. It started late Thursday night with our first challenge. Running around collecting picture fragments to make up an entire picture.
The first night was very misty
At the start one team member had to sprint to get an envelope which contained the map we needed
You had to stay in pairs and run around together picking up clues. It was good fun running around trails with our head torches on. So after two hours of running around we got to bed at 1am, only for the next day to be at breakfast for 6am and then the next challenge at 9am.
This involved canoeing and another run around.
We had to canoe over the lake to get to the point to start running
Four of the team had to canoe across the lake, than two of us ran off to collect things while the other two had to canoe around the lake to collect other things. Then meet again to canoe back.
Then after that we had a packed lunch of sandwiches which we inhaled quickly. Then it was off to the next challenge… A running and biking challenge lasting three hours. We had to run around to collected certain things, to then cycle off through trails and up and down hills to collect more to then get back and run to the finish. The challenges were quite complicated if I’m honest and I didn’t always know what the hell we were doing haha. There were maps and compasses involved…my navigation skills are severely lacking!!
Honestly, I have never felt so absolutely drained in my life. It wasn’t so much the muscle pains or the aching; it just felt like I had nothing left inside to give. We got to one hill and I almost wanted to cry. I had to stop and push my bike. My team mates were great and kept me going but I honestly felt the ‘wall’ looming. But something takes over you when you’re in a team and all I could keep thinking was “I can’t let me team down”. I dug deeper than I think I ever have (I know this sounds really cheesy but it was honestly like that).
And you wouldn’t believe it but then there was a third challenge starting at 10pm. This involved lots of running through all these mud tracks for three hours. Luckily I was the substitute for this task and basically struggled to not fall asleep in the van while I waited because I might need to be subbed in (I was in the end, for the last 15mins).
Then it started all over again on Saturday (the last day). Again I was substitute for the first task as it was a construction/engineering style task that I honestly would have been rubbish at.
And then after lunch was the last challenge (the 5km run and 5km bike ride). Like I said above, this was just ridiculously tough. But we did it. We pulled through as a team and finished. It felt so good to cross the finish line.
I loved every minute of it. It was tough as hell and it really tested you but it was great. As a team we worked well and helped each other through.
For breakfast and dinner we ate in the university where the food wasn’t brilliant but honestly you ate to SURVIVE. This was no time to be fussy. I piled my plate high I tell you. You needed all the energy you could get!!
Yep that is spaghetti Bolognese
If you read this blog regularly you will probably know I hate pasta. But I ate it. There’s no messing about here. You’ve got to make do! Each night I ate like a horse. I was famished and easily polished off every meal. Breakfast there unfortunately wasn’t porridge, but I still ate a good amount of bacon, eggs, toast and beans to keep me going. Lunch were sandwiches and I made sure to also eat a big handful of my fruit and nut mix and a banana to keep me going. And we all had the camelback style water packs with us at all time to ensure we had enough water.
Would I do it again? Most definitely!!
It really pushed me to my limit but also showed me how much I can push myself.
Needless to say I slept a good 10 hours last night. I was dead on my feet when I got home!!
Would you do something like the UK Challenge if you could?
Have you ever felt like you’ve been pushed to you limit? How did you cope?
What did you get up to this weekend?