Coming back from injury

Pretty much since Brighton Marathon in April I’ve been injured. Initially I ignored it until May. I put it down to the fact that I hadn’t rested much post marathon with OCRs in the weeks following and just thought it was overuse, but it started to become apparent at OCRs that my quad was no longer taking my weight on landing from jumps as it should and eventually I text my physio and got checked over. He took one look at it and diagnosed a tear.

My physio has known me 15 years so when he tells me I can’t run he knows theres a good chance I will! And I did. Not reguarly but occasionally when it started to feel good I’d pop out and test it and then ruin it. And I continued to ‘race’ although due to the injury at no event was I able to go out hard. Hills were a big problem and I had to be sensible about which obstacles I tackled, occasionally taking the sensible option not to do walls if the landing was very hard or from height.

A couple of weeks ago we agreed it was starting to look a bit better but that a Autumn marathon I had booked wasn’t really realistic and so I’m currently looking for a buyer for that place! Its hard making that decision as I loved bournemouth half last year and I was so excited about taking on a full but I never should have run Liverpool injured and I did. I wouldn’t be able to be anywhere near fit enough for Bournemouth and I’d rather spend autumn working on speed and building up distance so I’m in top shape ready for training to commence for Brighton marathon at christmas.

Last week my physio agreed to me running one 5k a week. The relief to hear I’m allowed was immense! I may be pushing that permission this week but over the next two weeks I won’t be able to train so I figure it evens out!

I’ve been lucky that life has provided plenty of distractions so I’ve not fallen into any depression. But it has been hard. Running is what got me off anti depressants. Its what keeps my depression and bad days at a distance. Not being able to run has been tough but I’ve managed. And soon I’ll be able to start running 3 times a week again and regain that bit of my identity that I feel I’ve lost.

Injury sucks.

Goals from 5 years ago!

Last night I was looking back at some of my old blog posts. Theres over 1000 on this site, admittedly over 300 are now in draft as I don’t feel comfortable sharing them anymore. But I came across one that surprised me. I’m always setting goals, but its very rare I look back at them to see if I’ve achieved them.

I came across THIS post in which I set myself a few goals which were:

  • Gain my degree
  • Have another child
  • Get married
  • Own a house
  • Be happy
  • Train in reflexology
  • Own a doggy
  • Do a skydive
  • Cycle London to Brighton again
  • Run a marathon
  • Visit Australia
  • Visit New York

So how have I done?

Well in the middle of July I will find out if I have my degree or not yet.

I had a 2nd child.

I’m happy.

I have done not 1 but 2 skydives.

I did cycle London to Brighton again and am considering it for next year too.

I’ve run 3 marathons.

So that leaves visiting New York, Australia, Owning a dog, training in reflexology, owning a house and getting married to complete in the next 5 years, I reckon thats possible right? Although a couple of those I no longer have the urge to do so I guess I’ve kind of reframed my goals a bit now.

Things I’d love to do in the next 5 years?

  • Finally get a sub 60 10k would be nice!
  • Run a sub 2 hour half marathon.
  • Complete an ultra!
  • Walk up Snowdon
  • Do a sprint triathlon

Funny how times have changed. A few years ago I wouldn’t have thought all my goals would be fitness/physical related! I wonder what they will be in another 5 years time!

Race Report: Spartan Sprint and Super – Wales

A few months ago I signed up for a weekend of racing. Spartan Sprint on the Saturday and Super on the Sunday. Being the week after a marathon I was nervous as to how that would go. And then Spartan made the decision to stick both races on the same day! Now I would never make the decision to race twice in a day, ever. I’m not fit enough, maybe one day i will be but at the moment I’m not. But I decided to stick with it and see what happened. So here is how it went.

Spartan Sprint: 5km+ 15 obstacles 

We arrived bright and early Saturday morning and got parked up and headed to registration. There was a short queue, nothing major, only frustration was not being able to collect our Super numbers as well. Once we had our headbands we popped back to the car to get our final bits together and then headed to the start area for final toilet visits and to meet up with a fellow runner. We started on time and had the fun of witnessing the early shenanigans performed for Albons stag do (see video). Within a short distance we were up into some woodland on steep hills that were single file tracks, this meant we would walk a few paces and then be stuck due to queues, I personally wasn’t complaining though! It was like being in the amazon!

We then made our way around to a log carry on some insanely uneven terrain, there were plenty of people falling over.  After this was more hills. And more … and more… and then a couple of 6ft walls, except the way they were braced meant they had a nice little foot perch which made them very easy to get over for those of us who can’t do walls higher than 5ft. We then faced more hills before the breeze block on a chain drag. Literally so damn heavy! Eventually got the thing around the tree though and then it was off to a muddy ditch before the cargo net a-frame, rope climb and then hoist followed by a short run to the monkey bars. After that it was back into the woods again for more hills! Hills really were the theme of the day!

Towards the end we came across what must have been a 10ft wall, a lovely chap was marshalling and said we could use his shoulders to help get us over. Sharon went first with her road shoes and then I followed with my trails. He possibly commented on how different that felt. Whoops! This lead around to some more short sharp hills before we faced the traverse walls, blinking hard! Then the dreaded spear throw (I didn’t even get it to touch the bales!) and finally the last A-Frame before the fire jump. I have a massive issue about fire so hadn’t been looking forward to it but we survived and crossed the line.

There was no one putting medals around your neck which was a bit gutting, everything was just lined up on the table so we grabbed our medals and tshirt and then headed to sit down and refuel for an hour or so!

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A great video of the Sprint can be seen on the Always with a smile youtube channel here.

Spartan Super : 13km+ – 20+ Obstacles 

I have to admit the sprint for me had been mentally very tough, I’d hated almost every second and really didn’t think I was going to do the Super in the afternoon, my thinking that if I didn’t do it I wouldn’t want to complete my trifecta then, whereas doing it meant I’d want to. But I was coaxed into it by one of my team mates and thankfully I found a better place mentally.

The route mainly covered exactly the same route that we had taken in the morning. The log carry was there, the same relentless hills, and then we faced a sandbag carry. One chap said to us as we were collecting ours, thats long, but I didn’t think it would be as long as it was, theres speculation on the exact distance but 3km/2miles have been bandied about a lot. Initially it was fine, it was flat, and then it went down a steep hill that you then had to get back up. Then came the barbed wire crawl whilst dragging, tossing, throwing, getting generally pissed off with the damn thing. The barbed wire was LOW so you really had to be careful where you went.

Shortly after this we were faced with a cargo net. I managed to stay on my feet, bent over, throwing the sand bag and then catching it up and repeating over and over until we got to the end of it. There was also a bunch of walls during the sandbag carry except for health and safety reasons we were told to put them down! We eventually rejoined the same Sprint route and faced more hills, a couple more walls and then back around to the breeze blocks, mud ditches, a-frame, rope climb, hoist and monkey bars again.

We then headed back through the same hills we had earlier on before going off the sprint route and up a hideously long barbed wire crawl which was so busy you could only inch yourself along as fast as those in front were going. More hills followed before rejoining the route for the 10ft wall again and back around to the traverse walls. After that was now a tyre flip, my first time attempting to flip tyres …. wow they are heavy! And then a jog up and down the field before coming back to the spear throw and a-frame before the fire jump finish.

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Again the finish area had no marshalls around and it was a case of take your own bits. I know they had struggled to get volunteers and it really felt like that showed.

Overall it was a well organised race, my minus points would be:

– lack of marshalls at most ‘obstacles’
– lack of BIG obstacles, nothing felt challenging
– paying for a bag drop that wasn’t secure and anyone could walk into!

Positives:

Great medal and great tshirt!

Would I do it again? I wouldn’t do the wales course, it was just brutal, like so brutal! I will finish my trifecta but I can’t see me wanting to do Spartan races after that. I felt more like I was trail running with a few bootcamp type exercises thrown in. It didn’t feel very OCR to me.

Race Report: Liverpool Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

Last weekend I travelled up to Liverpool to take on my 2rd Marathon. My 2nd in 2015. It was only 9 weeks since I’d ran Brighton but I was injured and shouldn’t have even been considering running. But I’m stubborn.

Numbers had arrived in the post so I didn’t need to visit the expo but we had a quick visit on Saturday, it was much smaller than Brighton and had nothing of real interest, although they did have a photobooth which me and Kerry (from the awesome 15 marathons in 15 months blog) popped into after our 5k on the Saturday. And we were also able to collect our race tshirts. I was glad of this as by the time I finished on Sunday they only had XL available!

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Sunday morning arrived all too quick and as the start line was less than 100m from the front door of our hotel we were able to watch the runners setting off for the half marathon at 9am. The half was huge and I had visions of the marathon being the same. It wasn’t! It was about a 1/4 of the amount of runners who had partaken in the half. The pacers didn’t line up in order and it made for quite a confusing start.

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We got off in reasonable time and I quickly lost the girls I had started with. Before mile 2 I needed a toilet stop and was glad to see one by the side of the road. A few runners felt the same and we were all practically stripping off in the street so we could dash in and out as fast as possible! There was music at regular intervals which made for a nice break up.

Mile 2 saw my little support crew and then a nice steady uphill and around to Goodison Park. It was at this point I spotted a couple of OCR tshirts and got chatting to them for a good 5/6 miles which kept me distracted as the early miles ticked by. I was incredibly grateful for their chat and it was nice to talk about something more interesting than marathon running!

Around mile 13 the sickness started to kick in, this is something I’ve struggled with in all my marathons. This time around I hadn’t been taking on sweet stuff regularly so I was gutted when it happened again. 13 to 14 got incredibly hot and the small bits of shade in the park we were in were so welcome it was mental. I got to the point where I removed my top. Who cares if I have a mum tum, comfort came into it!

We then moved into Sefton Park. I was really struggling now and as I came in my little support crew were there, I walked a mile or so with my girlfriend which was nice before heading off around the outskirts of Sefton Park. Mile 18 saw us go down Penny Lane which as a Beatles fan was kinda cool! Before heading back into the park for mile 19. I knew my support crew were around there somewhere but I spotted Kerrys friend first and she walked with me a bit. Shortly after the ‘Sag Wagon’ aka sweeper bus caught me up so I maintained their pace for a while before agreeing I couldn’t keep to that for the rest of the route, I was having massive waves of nausea again but was determined I wasn’t going to get on the bus.

The bus went off into the distance and at around 21 two of the girls got off and walked with me for a bit, we eventually made it onto the riverfront at mile 22 and in theory it was now a straight run down to the finish. But when your feeling so sick you keep having to lie down on the pavement it felt damn long! I think had I not had my support crew waiting for me at the finish I would have packed it in. I just couldn’t find the energy to keep moving but somehow I did. Somewhere along the way we picked up a lovely OAP who showed us where we needed to go as by now they had been taking away the tape etc. She was awesome as she ended up just talking at me with me not needing to respond much other than to grunt or nod or agree. It was the distraction I needed. Eventually the finish line was in sight and it was all over. There was a point where I never thought I’d get to that.

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Being one of the last finishers in meant they were busy packing up. We had known their was a tight cut off and it had been a concern for a few people. It is not a race I would recommend for anyone who runs slower than a 5.30 pace as its not big, you spend alot of it alone and for the most part there was zero atmosphere and support. The most atmosphere came from the little snippets when you were next to a band.

The medal is great, the tshirt is already fading in the wash. Will I be going back? No. Did I complete another marathon for The Lullaby Trust in Matilda Mae’s memory, hell yes! And that is all that counts!

www.justgiving.com/24events24months 

 

 

Race Report : Adrenaline Rush – 5K

A few months ago I saw an offer on Facebook for the early bird price for a new event being hosted by the same company who run the Grim Challenge. I decided that as it was a couple of weeks ahead of Liverpool marathon that I’d sign up for the 5k rather than 10k option. I was glad I did as on the day we discovered it was laps! I’m not a laps fan!

The event was held up near the Olympic Park. I love that area and I hadn’t been around near the Stadium for a couple of years so it was nice to see the way they had redeveloped the area. It was like an OCR training playground! I am so going up there to train sometime!

We eventually found our way to the start area although it took us absolutely ages and required a decent sense of direction! Its only because I knew the area a bit that we found it! There were no signs that we saw!

Whilst walking down we asked a guy who was wearing his finisher tee and medal if he felt we needed trail shoes, he told us he had ran in trails and regretted it so we stuck to our road shoes. To be honest we got wet just once! And there was ZERO mud! It was the driest OCR I’ve ever participated in!

We were in the first 5k wave which was due to start at 1pm, a joker on the PA announced our start had been delayed as there were still 10k runners on the course. Tbh I’m not sure what happened to them. They had just started their 2nd lap about 12.50 and the impression the PA was giving was that they were supposed to be off the course for the 5k runners which seemed a bit harsh. The general attitude about this kind of stunk a bit and didn’t feel very in-keeping with the usual supportive atmosphere of OCR!  Eventually we got started about 1.10 and decided that looking at the calibre of our fellow runners we would try and get at the front of the pack, not something I’ve ever done before! We set off and expected to be overtaken by loads of speedy people, and it didn’t happen! Was quite surreal! One guy went ahead and one female and that was it, we were leading the pack!

One whole mile of running before we came to our first obstacles. These contained a 5.5ft wall – I judged it at that as it was about my height. The marshall was shocked when I managed it myself but in a good way which made me laugh! After that we had a few rope obstacles and a cargo net crawl and tunnel crawl before more running.

A few steps and slopes and then we came to the next bunch of obstacles. A barbed wire crawl which was low enough you actually had to crawl, I kind of have a bug bear about ones where people can just speed through and not even get near the barbed wire! A balance beam and then a half pipe! Helen took a run at it grabbed the top but then couldn’t get up. I wasn’t sure I was making a sensible decision to try it with my torn quad but I gave myself one attempt and then I’d skip it. I got up grabbed it and managed to get my ankle over and hooked on, with a bit of a nudge from the marshall I was up! WHOOP! A roll over the net and down onto some over and under bars and then it was the water station which was about 2.5 of a mile. We then ran the final bit to the last obstacles which were all in the main section near the event village. You came into it to a rope swing.

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Then some wooden climbing over things…10372741_10155707252870374_2238806319527250339_n

Then a nice smooth a frame to attempt to run up, again wasn’t sure I should try this with my quad so went with my one attempt rule and managed it! 11351141_10155707252805374_638104497821122881_nAfter this was the one wet section which was just a small crawl. After that we had the slide. It was short but FAST! I ended up with my legs in the air stuck in the foam pit at the bottom having to be hauled out by the marshall! Helens face when she went down was an absolute picture! 150601003227_H

After that we faced the swinging balls where you had to balance, monkey bars and finally a series of walls. I managed the overhang, incredibly elegantly *this may be a lie* with some assistance and then a few of the smaller walls, I decided jumping down off the larger ones was a dumb idea with my quad and so decided not to risk them. 11391461_10155707245030374_4976342948606810832_n10302044_10155707245110374_6132650565511892876_n

The final obstacle was a jump onto a giant air pillow. We were on track for under an hour and there were plenty of people freaking out about heights at the top. Eventually we got up there and the marshalls explained to us we needed to land on our bottoms. I of course asked what happened if you landed on your legs but he failed to answer me. I stepped up to the edge and jumped immediately. After two recent jumps into horribly muddy water this was a piece of cake! I rolled off and waited for helen before we made the sprint down the finish!

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With a chip time of 53 minutes I was absolutely THRILLED! In the top 50 overall and the 17th female was just effing awesome! Ok so it wasn’t the ‘usual’ racers I was up against but even so I’m happy!

Only downsides I’d say were the lack of mud and the queues for the bag drop but when we were dropped them off and collecting them. I wouldn’t be happy if I paid more than about £35 for the race either as I didn’t rate it that highly for obstacles but it was a great beginner race I’d say!

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Awesome bling and tshirt!

Review: Inov8 X-Talon 212

As a frequent OCR runner there is nothing I love more than trail shoes. Especially good trail shoes. The type that grip mud really well so that I don’t spend my race looking like bambi on an ice rink!

inov8 are incredibly popular amongst OCR circles so when I was asked if I would like to review a pair from Millet Sports I was thrilled! They stock a wide range of inov8 shoes and I was lucky enough to be sent the X-Talon 200’s which are so incredibly cute in their black, yellow and red design.

In typical summer weather my usual trail route by the river has been perfectly dry and so testing them hasn’t exactly been extreme! But so far they are living up to the comfort stakes and will be getting packed to be worn at Spartan next weekend! Its weather I wear them for the Sprint or the Super?! Decisions!

With 68 pairs of inov8 shoes available as well as a range of trail shoes exceeding 200 different types millet sports is definitely the website to check out when you are looking for a new pair of trail shoes!

Delivery is free over £50 and returns are possible within 21 days if the items are unused and in original packaging. For me a returns policy on shoes I’m purchasing online is one of the most important factors I consider when I am looking to buy online so their policy would definitely encourage me to purchase from them in future. Generally the prices all seem to be competitive with other leading websites and delivery was prompt.

Overall I have been very impressed with the service from Millet Sports, they were not a website I had heard of previously but they are definitely one I will be returning to when I have worn out my current running shoes and trail shoes!

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Disclosure: Item received in exchange for review.

Rat Race Dirty Weekender Full Mucker – #24Events24Months

Well this was one of the biggest ones of the year. Something I knew that was really going to test me and to say I’d been dreading it would probably be an understatement. My friend I was originally meant to be running with had to drop out so that left me desperately searching for someone to run with who would be of a similar pace. In the end that got resolved but for a few weeks I was desperately trying to psych myself into running solo. Unsure if I could do it.

Thankfully childcare meant that we were able to arrive on the Friday afternoon to register and I have to admit I felt calmer for it knowing that when we arrived Saturday everything was set and we just had to get going. Registration was nice and straightforward and like MHSOF you get your T-shirt before the race which means when you look through the photos there are just thousands of bumblebees! I named them bumblebees thanks to the colours of the shirts lol!

I’d love to be able to give a blow by blow account but we were on the course over 8 hours and I think I’m so mentally traumatised I’ve blocked out most of it so I’m going to break it down to the moments I do remember.

  • Walls – Lots of walls! Don’t get me wrong I LOVE walls but my god there were so many of them! I vaguely remember one 5ft one which I managed solo but other than that most were high enough that assistance was required. On one which was more similar to an irish table I ended up dangling over the edge with my groin in my team mates face after he fell backwards trying to support me.
  • Seeing my buddy Mark early on in the race and then getting to see him about Mile 12 at the hideous wall from MHSOF. His pep talk and hugs were much needed and it was so good to see a friendly face.
  • Completing the cage crawl – I can be quite claustrophobic at times and wasn’t sure how I’d handle this but I was glad I did it!
  • Water stations with cadbury freddos, biscuits and crisps!
  • Getting kicked in the face twice. Once on the longest cargo net crawl in the world when the guys foot slipped and promptly met my cheek! 2nd time on the wall at MHSOF.
  • Completing the water section even if the marshall thought I was damn mental querying if the life jackets really would stop me drowning! Getting onto those pontoons was so hard and then falling off one of the ones when you needed to walk across a narrow gap wasn’t a high light! 11088608_10153209012401830_6354451959005588314_oNor was the hose at the end of it, thankfully I had a friend as a shield ;-) Around the corner was the water jump and I wanted to be brave and do the 20ft but I just couldn’t so I did the lower one and it felt much better with the life jacket than the previous week at Tough Mudder. I surfaced much faster and felt much happier! I didn’t love the slide down into the lake though!
  • Conquering my fear of one of the obstacles in the woods. It involved descending with your hands on a rope and feet on ledges, it looked ridiculously high from the top and I thought I needed a bit of time to get it together but a brilliant marshall encouraged me and despite me telling those behind me to go on ahead he stopped them and told me to sit down and follow his instructions. I was thankful for him because without him I’d have stayed there AGES!
  • Splitting my trousers at some stage in the day and only realising around 10 miles! Spent the rest of the day conscious of it! Thankfully I had underwear on!
  • The final two obstacles! The big one with its 4 x 8ft bloody walls! It was exhausting and I just wanted to be done! A bit of team work and a helping hand from strangers and I was up them but I got halfway and just thought I can’t do this! It was either going down 2 x 8ft walls which would hurt or getting up to be able to go down the ladder.
  • Coming over a stone wall at mile 16 and sliding down awkwardly absolutely ruining my thigh for the final 4 miles. 11262472_10155636587105374_1145398545671940176_n
  • The curly wurly at the finish line! AMAZING!
  • The water slide that was so slow we nicknamed it the penguin as everyone had to shove themselves down it pretty much!
  • Struggling to balance along the various balance beams in the woods!
  • Avoiding one of the pond crossings only to be faced with the muddiest wettest ditch you could imagine! #Fail!
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11221848_10153211169971830_9116242527205084284_n Finish!

Overall my lasting thought was I paid £140 to be tortured for a whole day! Initially I said never again however I kind of feel I have unfinished business so maybe one day I’ll do it again. For now the bruises still need to heal!

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Tough Mudder London West – #24Events24Months

In the lead up to the weekend of Tough Mudder I have to confess I was incredibly nervous. Teasers on their facebook page as well as the course map showed a few obstacles that were going to seriously test my limits. Notably king of swingers which was downright terrifying!

We arrived in plenty of time and went and got registered and popped to the toilets, we didn’t have to use the bag drop and I was glad of that when later on it transpired some people had waited over 45 minutes for their bags!

Once we were all set we got ourselves into the starting pen and grabbed a quick before photo! I paid my usual minimum amount of attention to the warm up and then it was time for the short jog to a wall ready to start! race_715_photo_17442551Tough Mudder definitely starts slightly different to most other races! Once we had said our pledge we were off! Within 0.30 of a mile me and Becki needed the loo so along with a ton of men ducked into the bushes and dropped the trousers. Think we amused quite a few guys with the fact we didn’t care who was around us lol!

What we had quickly realised was this would involve a lot of hills. They were pretty much relentless and I don’t remember very many sections that didn’t contain either up or down. The first obstacle was skidmarked, which is otherwise known as overhang walls, with a bit of help from team mates we all made it over and then ran onto Arctic Enema 2.0. I knew this for me was an issue. The cage made me feel claustraphobic and I was coaxed by my teammates to climb up the ladder. I got so far as sitting on the edge before deciding I couldn’t do it. There were alot of people around and had it been quiet and I’d been able to just sit a while I know in the end I would have done it of my own accord but under pressure I just couldn’t. The route then took us up and down another hill before hitting birth canal. I have to admit this was a bit a *WTF* obstacle for me. I didn’t find it challenging in anyway, it wasn’t the most comfortable crawl I’ve ever done but it was short and pointless IMO!

What the hell was that face....

What the hell was that face….

From there it was up another mega steep hill and into some woods where I finally found a small muddy puddle and turned into Peppa Pig running at it and jumping in two footed! The course lacked mud! There was also some hay bales which you could simply roll over and then ‘Quagmire’ which was the tiniest amount of mud I’ve ever witnessed! More hills and onto Hero Carry which involved plenty of giggles as my team mate mark fireman carried me!

We then came to Sewer Rat which was a crawl through a tunnel into a very muddy pool of mud/sludge/water

From there we moved onto Cry Baby which has been billed as tear gas – its not! Its simply menthol that clears your airways! We all tried to hold our breath at first but we also had gone through at a point when there wasn’t much in the way of gas in there so it was fine!

After that we came to Pyramid scheme which involved plenty of team work and some hilarious laughs! I think for me this was one of the highlights of the day. It took me 3 attempts and bugs bunnys shoulder to help me finally reach the top and we were ecstatic when we all made it up! 10431701_10155608422805374_8091269800151158720_n

 

After this we moved onto Haha Ditch and Kiss of Mud before coming across the Liberator – this involved moving pegs in holes and climbing up a sheer surface. I was convinced I couldn’t do it but with a bit of help and encouragement from my team mates I made it over and was thrilled with myself!

We then moved onto ‘Mud Mile’ which is so ridiculously named, its about 20ft long! 11140342_10155625007500374_4519710080936953677_n

Another few steep hills and then we had to work as a team to carry a large log around a circuit and over a wall. Now I say work as a team, by the time the chaps had got it on their shoulders it was about 4 inches off of mine so I assisted by walking along side encouraging. The wall was a 5ft one and I decided I wanted to attempt to tackle it solo as I’ve never managed a wall without some assistance before. And guess what – I did it! Super chuffed!

After that was the one I’d been dreading. King of the swingers. Basically your supposed to grab a bar – swing out and touch a bell before dropping into the water. I hate being submerged and decided that trying to swing out would freak me out more so I went with the just jump option as even that for me was terrifying. It felt a ridiculously long time before I hit the water and then trying to find the surface took forever, when I came up the water was choppy and I inhaled a bunch and could feel myself starting to panic, there was a marshall with her rubber ring staring me in the eye trying to gauge if I needed her help. There was no way I was using the ring and eventually I got to the cargo net and gripped it for dear life as the relief of feeling safe washed over me.

A bit more of a run and a few people throwing up the water in bushes and we soon hit Killa Gorrila – basically a meandering hill. With the amount of hills we had already done this felt like a right cop out! The monkey bars were next and as I knew I wouldn’t get further than the first and I was just starting to warm up I skipped these whilst the rest of the team made their attempts. We then headed back into the woods for the Hero Walls, they must have been about 10ft these walls and they were tough! Team work got us over but getting down was bloody terrifying! Into the final stages and we had a cargo net to crawl under before we reached Everest 2.0! I had been worried about this, knowing it was at the end I knew my legs were tired and i didn’t have the speed required. I decided on 3 attempts and with each attempt I was landing worse on my ITB and hip and doing myself no favours and cut my losses after 3. A friend had told me before you need road shoes to have a better chance. I was in trails and just slipped all over it! Two of our team got up and it was great cheering on those who were giving it a try. After that we headed around to the final obstacle. Sadly it was aftershock which involves electricity, due to a heart condition I’m not allowed to do it. Tbh I would have loved to as it looks a right giggle!

And then it was over! race_715_photo_17409018

 

Overall Tough Mudder left me underwhelmed, there were only a few ‘Good’ obstacles. For the price I paid I’d expect alot more decent obstacles. But despite the race being pretty lame I had the most amazing few hours with 3 wonderful people who I shared plenty of laughs with and couldn’t have done it without them!

Dirty Dozen 6k – #24events24months

Not quite a week after taking on Brighton Marathon I set about the task of taking on the Dirty Dozen Dash. Anyone who doesn’t know about Dirty Dozen races should check out this page to give you an idea of some of the obstacles! They were just epic! I can’t deny I wasn’t massively anxious about doing it, I’d run a 5k on Thursday, my legs hadn’t been too bad, my chest had suffered alot and I spent the rest of the day struggling to keep my eyes open. So it hadn’t exactly filled me with confidence for this race! But more about post marathon recovery in another post!

I spent the morning watching some of the 12k participants which had its pros and its cons. It meant I had an idea of what was coming, not good! But was also kinda good not to be totally unprepared!

The day was generally spend queueing it felt, it took me 45 minutes to pick up my race number, we then also had to queue to drop off bags ahead of the 1pm wave and then queued over 30 minutes wet and cold to pick up bags, only reason we had used the bag drop was because we needed somewhere to put the car keys. I’m sure with a few small changes next time things would run much smoother!

Overall the race had some amazing obstacles. I found the amount of on grass running quite hard work, I ALWAYS turn my ankles numerous times when running on grass and yesterday was no exception, there were plenty of swear words muttered!

I bypassed the monkey bars as I didn’t fancy another freezing cold dip as I knew I wouldn’t get further than the first rung, they just aren’t a skill of mine! I also skipped the barrells as I couldn’t mentally psyche myself up to get underneath something that was so wide, I have a huge fear of being submerged and not able to get back up. If It had only been one then maybe I would have tried but as it was 4 I just couldn’t talk myself into it. However the next obstacle was Sheep Dip and I amazed myself at doing it. I had told myself I could do one and get out if I needed to but with a bit of coaching from the marshall on the best way to do it and I was under the first and decided to just not think and carry on through! I did all 3! Absolutely bloody hated it! But I did it!

I had a few other fears mainly surrounding the height of obstacles as the majority are of a reasonable distance off the ground when you reach the top. Thankfully I had a couple of excellent friends with me, one of whom had run the 12k in the morning and the pair of them helped me get up and over all of them.

The final obstacle right before the finish was a 10ft wall. Now I love walls, like I really do. I struggle like a bitch at them but I enjoy them. But not when they are so damn high that your balanced on tiny beam of wood and then trying to get your leg over! I really did not think I’d be able to do it. I’ve never been able to use the technique of bracing against the side of the wall and then swinging up but this time I did. Admittedly when I got up there I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to get down without breaking a leg as I knew my quads wouldn’t support me when I landed, and they didn’t! But I managed it!

Would I do it again? Quite possibly not! Amazing obstacles, great price! But no medal is generally a deal breaker for me. I wanted to do DD as I’ve heard so much about it and it really is an awesome experience. But bling is bling!

Brighton Marathon Race Report – #24events24months

Well after 16 weeks training the day has finally been and gone. I’m sat here writing this with two sore little toes, painful knees, aching muscles and general overwhelming exhaustion but also on such a high!

The weekend started Saturday when I headed down to Brighton via train with my friend who was also running, we got to the expo about 2 and didn’t face any queues, walked straight up to get our numbers no problem. We had a wander around and also recorded some messages on the Saucony stand ready for mile 23 – however on race day that didn’t work! BOOO!
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Before heading off to check in at my hotel and then head for ice cream on the beach! Possibly not great pre race fuel but hey ho! I knew I’d struggle to sleep Saturday night and I wasn’t wrong, I tossed and turned for hours before I nodded off and then when I did I kept waking panicing that I had missed my alarm!

Eventually I woke up to my alarm and felt incredibly sick – the nerves were in full swing! I grabbed a shower and got dressed before heading to breakfast. Stomaching anything was hard though and I just couldnt do it! I was looking out the window at mile 25 and just couldnt face eating! 2 pieces of toast and some weetabix later and I headed back to my room to try and not throw up. I KT taped up and then headed to meet my friend at the station.
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On the way I bumped into two other buddies so we made our way to preston park together which was nice! The park was huge and spacious so it didn’t feel like there were 16000 runners trying to get ready.
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After dropping our bags off we joined the longest toilet queue in history. I may have got a bit annoyed at seeing spectators using the loos! Surely they could wait until we had gone?! 9:15 arrived and we had just finished in the toilet and made our way to the start. Being the last wave we had to wait a while to cross the start but the elites and early runners had already lapped the park and were running along next to us so we cheered them on whilst waiting. And then it was time to go!
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Jo Pavey was there waving everyone off and the crowds meant you couldn’t run fast which was probably a good thing. I overtook a few people and then spotted a lovely lady I know from Instagram up ahead so I made my way through the crowds and tapped her on the shoulder. We had a quick chat and ran together for a bit before I headed off. I was trying my hardest to hold my pace back but it was damn hard. Around mile 5 I spotted my friend Debbie who took a delightful picture of me.
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I knew my family were along the sea front and I was dying to get there. I was still feeling strong at that stage. I rounded the corner and shortly after heard a shout of HAYLEY that sounds really familiar and looked across and saw my best friend and my dad there. I was ahead of pace so ran over and gave them a huge squeeze before carrying on down the road to find my Mum, the boys and their godmother who were near the marina, spotted them and a high five later and I was heading on up the hill. I know that hill as I’ve run it before when I’ve stayed in Brighton and during Brighton Half so knew how long it was. It didn’t fail to disappoint. I was glad for the out and back though as I was distracted looking out for all my friends and cheering them on as I saw them! An hour later and I was back down the hill to give the kids and my Mum a kiss before continuing down to the town which I knew would be full of crowds. I wasn’t sure where my Dad and bestie had moved too but figured they may be past that section.

As I passed mile 14 I spotted my best friend and ran into her arms – I was starving, I never get hungry on runs – EVER! But for some reason yesterday hunger tormented me the whole way around. I nabbed something that I can’t even remember off her and carried on, she told me she would meet me again at mile 18 so I clung onto that. The road in Hove. Oh. My. God. It was never ending. I looked up at one point and all I could see was runners, I couldn’t see where it ended! I was starting to feel quite sick from all the shot blocks and was relieved when someone had some orange segments. I took a quick selfie at 16 and posted it on instagram – at 17 I spotted a toilet with no queue, that actually contained loo roll! And ducked in so that probably knocked a minute or two off my time. At this stage I was still 10 minutes ahead of my pace but knew I wasn’t going to be maintaining it now!

At mile 18 as promised was my beautiful best friend bouncing up and down cheering on the runners and I ran into her arms. She walked with me a bit whilst I snacked again on her little packet of something lol and then I headed off to get to 20. I knew from there it was just 10k. I got there and faced the long road of hell which is the power station. Going out to it was ok. I saw all my buddies and had awesome hugs and tears with 3 of them as they were heading back but when I got to the power station and turned around oh man that road back felt like it was the longest!

At the St Johns I asked if they had anything salty and she gave me some dioralyte … turns out it tastes bloody disgusting so I chucked that after a few sips and topped up my bottle at the next water stop.

23 soon came around and I started to get tearful about Matilda and why I was running. Once the tears started they wouldn’t stop, every person that cheered me on I cried more. And then I spotted my best friend and that was it I was pretty much full on sobbing. She grabbed my arm told me she wasn’t having it and dragged me along telling me to effectively pull my shit together! It was just what I needed and I love her for it. I was on track to still get in under 5:45 which was my Plan B goal. At 25 I left her and started to pick up a bit of a good run pace and another girl near my felt encouraged and said she would join me so we ran down together towards the finish and declared ourselves finishing buddies. Just before 26 I turned around and spotted a man in a rhino suit about 50m behind us and told her we needed to move our shit or the rhino would beat us. I was not going to be beaten by a man in a rhino suit! By now we were at the roundabout and the finish was in sight. My family were on the left hand side cheering me on as we suddenly found a burst of energy and ‘Sprinted’ (I’m sure it actually did not look like a sprint) down to the finish. I was elated to be there and to get a PB! Arms in the air and we crossed that line! I was so happy! A few more tears may have occurred!

We grabbed our medals and cotton tshirts (WHY?! Who wears a damn cotton tshirt – no one! Get your act together Brighton and go for technical then we could all advertise your great run to others when we are training) and some water and snacks before finding our bags. At the end was one of my lovely friends who had said she would wait for me and I grabbed her for the biggest hug before we headed off to find my family.
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I had been fantasizing for half the race about getting into the damn sea so once they were all there I headed in to soothe my legs. Natural ice bath! Can’t really go wrong can you. It hurt like a B****h and I may have swore rather alot but it defo helped!

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Overall I did enjoy the race. It was hard, seriously hard, but I knew I had the mental strength to get through and I did. I’ve knocked 27 minutes off my marathon personal best and had a race that was enjoyable, probably because I knew so many runners doing it. Would I do it again …. Yes!

Now to recover for a little bit and then its time to start training for Liverpool Marathon … EEEK!

Don’t forget this is all for an amazing charity – so please do sponsor me!