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It feels like years ago since I signed up to a physical challenge I had no business signing up to. It was postponed last summer due to COVID and myself and my fellow team members chuckled as we imagined the impending 12 months of working out would see us emerge with enviable physiques. How wrong we were.

The event is called Total Warrior and is designed to test physical and mental endurance in a punishing array of 25 obstacles over 12 kilometres. There will also be mud, electricity and fire, we’re told by the Total Warrior emails that are signed off by ‘The Chief’, who sounds as mysterious as sadistic.

My colleagues and I signed up for the summer event in January 2020, when the coronavirus was but a story in a horror fiction novel.

And now, after a 12-month postponement, lots of reminders and the threat of further delay, it looks as though it’s actually going ahead this time, on July 10. So the big event begins in roughly two weeks away — and I’m completely out of shape.

I’ve been trying to focus on weight training — squats have been my daily ritual — but I feel like nothing has changed and I’ve not lost any weight. In all honesty, I was hoping to drop a little bit of weight so at least there’d be less to hoist over said obstacles, and less weight for those unfortunate people who could find themselves in the predicament of having to push me upwards. Pray for them.

So the journey continues and I’m pondering a last minute soup or low-carb diet, something to shed a few pounds, or a last-minute body swap, or some other drastic, untested body-altering technological procedure in a back-alley clinic, like I’ve seen in some of the questionable sci-fi movies I’ve digested throughout lockdown.

There’s also the initial 3k run to get to the obstacles — oh fun!

At least I’m not doing it alone. We are a team of five, and we’ve been getting more concerned as time passes and not much change seems to be happening. I’m hoping to wake up one day and simply ‘be healthy and fit’.

At the gym I’ve been trying to run 3 and 4k, and struggling with it. My thought process is that if I can build up a bit of tolerance to running it will put me in good stead for the event. However much I exercise though, as the experts say, you can’t outrun a bad diet. And my diet has recently consisted of all things bad, along with a glass or two now and then.

Did I mention we’re doing the event to raise money for charity? This was a good idea at the beginning, but we’ve managed to raise £1,000 so far, which isn’t so much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s enough to make backing out not an option. If only we had thought of that before agreeing to fundraise!

The last time I took part in an event similar to this was in Dubai for the Desert Warrior challenge, circa 2015, which was a blast; a horrible, difficult, sweat-filled blast in the blazing summer, but an amazing experience. The camaraderie developed with my team of Gulf News athletes was fantastic, and we helped each other over the finish line and throughout our fitness journey.

The six years hence have seen me reach the grand old age of 40 and discover a penchant for cheese and wine, like a 19th Century gout-riddled Dickens character.

Whether this character can work up the stamina and strength to undertake this challenge fully is another question. However difficult, though, I’ll make sure to be at that starting line, with fear bubbling inside me along with a lot of strong coffee, sugar and hope.

This summer I fully hope and expect to be moving into my own home. I’ve been renting since selling my previous house in Ireland and I’ve taken the plunge, along with my partner to buy.

While things are still not 100 per cent guaranteed until the final exchange of contracts, we’re hoping that all will go well for the last few furlongs and that we’ll have a date set to move within the next month.

The new house is quite a bit away from where I currently am, but still a similar distance from work. Basically, it’s a whole new area I’ll have to familiarise myself with a begin to build a new life in. It’s pretty scary territory, but one I’m not completely alien too, having lived in quite a few places and done my fair share of travelling.

— Christina Curran is freelance journalist based in Northern Ireland.