Brighton Marathon Training : 48 days to go (Week 10)

Week 10 was half term which meant things were never going to go quite to plan. What didn’t help was having a poorly little man for the week so sleep was quite sporadic. My confidence had also been knocked massively by my *almost passed out* run last weekend!

Tuesday I was scheduled to do 3 miles according to my plan but I wanted to just run and run and run. My head wasn’t in a very good place, can’t remember why not! But something had happened and I was stressed! I decided to go over to windsor great park as I keep telling myself I need more hills practice so I parked up outside Savill Garden and didn’t really plan a route I just kind of ran! I ended up doing 6.5 miles with a 10:32 average pace! As you can see it was quite hilly!

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Wednesday my eldest son requested we go out for a run so I did a little 2km with him and then came home and did some strength work.

Thursday I had planned to go out first thing in the morning before we headed off for a day out, but the forecast wasn’t great so we decided we would go out first and I’d run in the afternoon again. I spent the day absolutely dreading it. I just really did not fancy it. Even with my new #TeamRed UKRunChat tshirt to wear! Eventually though I got myself out the door. It was supposed to be a speedwork session with 1600m speed and 800m recovery but I decided to be kind to myself and just go for a steady run. It averaged 10:35 which I was pleased with as I had been trying to stick to 10:30 as much as possible.

Friday was supposed to be a rest day. But I found out at lunchtime that my Great Aunt had passed away and it had triggered my anxiety in a bad way and I knew the only thing that would calm me down would be to go for a run so I popped my trainers on and headed out the door for a 5k. Nothing fast, nothing special but one that was needed. Averaged 10:09 pace!

Saturday I rested and got ready for Sundays 18 miles in Brighton! One thing that I did differently this week was to make a concious effort to eat more carbs in the lead up to the long run. Friday night was pasta, Saturday lunchtime was a baked sweet potato, Saturday evening was pasta again. This week I was pulling out all the stops not to have to cut my run short thanks to feeling faint! I knew I needed my take a shot block every 20 minutes.

I woke up Sunday to a nice frost in Brighton. I hadn’t packed gloves or a buff so I wasn’t very pleased at the sight of it! But I pulled on my big girl pants and sucked it up. The weather was dry and there were 5 extra miles to be done before I started Brighton Half Marathon. I timed them so that I would finish them and arrive at the start with just enough time for a toilet break and then I’d be off. It worked out well. For the first 5 I didn’t take any shot blocks but did have some sports beans. Once I started the half I was religious about taking the shot block every 20 minutes and low and behold there was no passing out. I managed 18 miles in just under 3 hours 30 minutes which I am THRILLED about. Average pace being 11:38! Faster than my long runs are meant to be but it showed me I can run a fab pace when I put my mind to it! The first 5 I’d been really slow and held back to try and not burn out. And then when the half started I was determined to keep the 2:30 pacer behind me as long as I could and I managed it until about mile 9 when she got ahead (she was however the most erratic pacer I’d ever encountered but thats another story!), my Brighton half chip time was 2:32, not my worst half marathon  time and I’m pleased with it as I wasn’t ‘racing’ it!

That 18 mile run has given me my confidence back. I’m really pleased with how it went and am also mega shocked at the pace and time that I did it in.

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Planning fuel and nutrition on long runs!

So after my hideous blood sugar crash on Saturday I figured its time to sort out fuelling on my runs. Last year I used SIS gels which were fine on training runs but when it came to the big day after 3 hours of gels my stomach couldn’t take anymore and I threw up, not fun!

This year I knew gels were a big no no for me. I’ve been using  handful of jelly babies but as the runs get longer these just aren’t enough. So having done some reading up on how to use Clif Shot Blocks correctly I’m going to try and be better about using them!

The website recommends having 3 15 minutes before activity and then 3-6 an hour. I’ve used a runners world calculation on how much carbohydrate I need per hour and from there I’ve calculated 4 shot blocks an hour, so going to space that out.

I’m going to give this formula a try on Sunday and see how I get on! Wish me luck!

Brighton Marathon Training : 55 days to go (Week 9)

So week 9 wasn’t a brilliant week. But thats ok. That happens. (Or at least I’m trying to tell myself that!)

Easy Run on Tuesday went ok, faster than the pace Smart Coach dictates it but thats nothing new.

Wednesday I planned to try a group cycling class but it got cancelled so instead I brought a Davina HIIT DVD. Was suprised how much I enjoyed doing it, going to aim to do it at least once a week.

Thursday was 7 miles – 5 @ 10:29. I always find the slower warm up mile really hard, I just feel so awkward! I managed the 5 quite easily and then a nice cool down mile. I had one mile that was super fast as I was envisaging finishing the marathon, having my kids there to see it, getting that medal around my neck and knowing I’m running it for beautiful Matilda Mae and the Lullaby Trust and knowing that I’ll cry when I finish.

Friday was a rest day which was lucky as my youngest has a stinking cold and had barely slept.

Saturday was my long run. I had planned to do 16 miles. For the first 10 miles I felt pretty damn good. Splits for the first 8 miles started with an 11 which was great and I felt nice and steady and strong. So good that I wasn’t paying that much attention to fuelling which I think is where things went horribly wrong. Shortly after mile 10 I started to feel mega faint. This has happened to me before on runs and I hate it. I sat down and had a couple of dextrose tablets but I couldnt properly shake it. I had met up with a friend and managed to run/walk/occasionally sit on the floor and get rid of the light-headedness another 3 miles before I called it a day. I could have pushed on but I’d have been stupid to do so. I was exhausted from little man not sleeping properly and clearly hadn’t fuelled correctly either. Lessons learnt!

Its hard not to feel despondent and down after a crap run where you didn’t reach your target. But I got chatting with some people on twitter, I wasn’t the only one who had had a bad run that day and it was good to chat about some of the reasons why it had gone wrong. I really have to look at my fuelling and come up with a better breakfast strategy too I think. Theres still a few weeks until the marathon so theres time yet.

Mentally its quite a tough battle. I have a goal I want to reach. A beautiful reason for wanting to run these marathons. Its just convincing my body to keep on going no matter how tired it feels!

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Brighton Marathon Training Week 8

So after last Sundays PB on the day after I’d done a 13 mile run, Monday was firmly a rest day! My calf felt incredibly tight so I didn’t do anything other than a bit of foam rollering. My plan this week was a ‘Easy week’.

Tuesday I was meant to run 6 miles however my calf felt like it had a knot in it and knowing my history of that I decided not to push it too far. I managed 4 miles in the snow instead, was a good test for my trail shoes but further aggravated a blister I had on my toe that then turned into a blood blister!

Thursday I ran 6 miles, I chose the Long Walk in Windsor. Parking at Bishopsgate and running down to Windsor Castle and back again. Very straight and slightly hilly so it was ideal training, I need to do some gentle hills. Its not the most inspiring route but it serves a purpose!

Friday was a running rest day but I did a HIIT 20 minute workout and then some yoga, I didn’t think that I’d worked all that much but when I woke up Saturday I had DOMS! Not what I needed going into The Eliminator Race but as you’ll see from my race report and video we still had fun. Its safe to say Sunday I had DOMS on top of my DOMS! Everything hurt! But sometimes you need to run! It was one of those, if I don’t run I won’t calm down moments and so I ignored the DOMS and off I went. 5k averaging 10:28 so quite speedy for me but wasn’t uncomfortably slow!

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I don’t have any big events now for the month of February with the focus firmly being on Brighton marathon!

Oh and I also got a mention on Marathon Talk this week on their Rate my run segment!

After running 13 miles for marathon training on Saturday I didn’t expect to PB at the Winter Run in London. However I put on my charity vest, thought about the beautiful baby who’s memory I am running in and dug deep. Tomorrow is 2 years since she passed away and the least I can do is withstand a bit of discomfort to run hard in her memory. I knocked 55 seconds off my personal best and thought of beautiful Matilda all the way around. Sudden infant death took her too soon aged just 9 months. Running in her memory is a true honour.

Race Report : Eliminator Race – #24events24months

Anyone who follows my 24 Events 24 Months facebook page will know that I was apprehensive about this race. Usually I watch all the youtube videos, read race reviews etc, to prepare for whatever I’m taking on. But because The Eliminator Race was brand spanking new there was none of that to prepare me! Pippingford Park has quite a reputation and I knew there was potential for brutal hills.

The journey there is only about an hour but we got a bit sidetracked chatting and took a wrong turn so took a tad longer but we soon found a queue of traffic that lead to the entrance of Pippingford, I’m sure the locals were loving us! After paying our £5 we parked up and headed for the toilets and registration. In a way the fact we were a tad later was nice as it meant we had just enough time to get everything sorted and then head to the start line! Although the organisers had lost £5k worth of marquees which were going to be the heated changing area they still managed to provide a small bag drop which was great as it meant we could leave our dry robes there to put on as soon as we finished. Once we had deposited them we ‘joined’ the warm up in the sense that we jumped about and watched everyone else. I also had a quick hug with my buddy Muddy Crossfit Girl who was working the finish line.

We started pretty much on time, and I remembered to start my garmin! Bonus! The first stretch was downhill, for quite a while, but we knew it wouldn’t be long before we were going back up again and we were right! The first 10 minutes were downhill and then after that we came to a HUGE hill, all we could see as we looked up was a steady stream of runners meandering their way up! Garmin shows me it took us 10 minutes to get up it, as we looked back we could see across the valley to the event village, it was a fab view there was no denying that!

10974267_906005459430368_5147764392967497302_oAt the top of said hill we came to our first plunge in water. There was a queue for getting in and as usual a few queue jumpers. Whilst we were waiting one guy went charging through and then suddenly dived straight in head first, none of us knew why…. until we were in there! Turns out there were two massive trees under the water and as I was leading us through the water I hit them both with my shins and have some lovely bruising to show for it! Whilst in it I hadn’t realised how cold the water was but when we got out and I couldn’t feel my legs I realised it had been pretty chilly!

From here it remained flat on top of the hill for a short time before heading down about 100m and then back up again, I hadn’t noticed when I was going down that next to us there were people going back up! I’m glad I didn’t see that! Downhill running is usually something I love but on this terrain you had to be so conscious of where you put your feet so I never picked up much speed. It was then downhill again and into a wooded area which provided plenty of thick oozy mud, I spent much of my time ‘mud skating’ and decided I was going sideways as much as forwards! The woods brought a few more dips in a stream, a couple of them had some really high banks which was hard work, including one which came out the river and then went so ridiculously steep that I was on my hands and knees and just couldnt get any grip to get up, we ended up having a chain of people who managed to pull me up! More woods after that before we finally came out into the boggy fields. We had just been commenting that there really wasn’t very much water on this course when suddenly we came across a nice muddy pool and then two ponds!

The finish was uphill so no sprint finish and I dread to think how the finishing photos will look like! I spotted Muddy Crossfit Girl handing out the medals and ran into her arms for a huge hug!

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Once we had our breath back we grabbed a tshirt and headed to the bag drop to pick up our dryrobes before dashing to the car to change. I’ve got to admit I don’t know what I’d do without my dryrobe!

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When we were dry we popped back to the Event village to grab a hot chocolate, there were two catering vans and I decided on the shortest queue! Hot chocolate is hot chocolate after all! Obstacle Race Magazine, Muddy Kit and Mudstacle also had their tents in the event village along with a medal engraving service. There were plenty of toilets and overall it was a well organised event. My only grumble was that the course wasn’t 5 miles and I’m not the only person who’s garmin clocked less than 5 miles! I made it 4.3 miles which is significantly shorter :( Overall though a well organised event, more water would be nice but the course was certainly challenging and throughly enjoyable. We finished inside 1hr 15 which I’m happy with, it was faster than I thought we would be but then we didn’t run as far so swings and roundabouts I guess!

www.justgiving.com/24events24months
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Brighton Marathon Training Week 7

So this week was another week that was a bit ‘off plan’. It went a bit like this.

Monday: (Usually a rest day) 10km – It was my birthday and I wanted to run, so I did! I contemplated chasing my PB but decided against it as I hadn’t slept very well the night before and knew I’d be exhausted the rest of the day if I tried. It was a nice plod averaging 10:57 and gave me some much needed thinking time.

Tuesday: This was meant to be an easy run day and up until 5pm it was going to be when my childcare changed and it meant I couldn’t go. The annoying part was I’d really contemplated it in the morning but felt a bit rough from the previous nights over indulgence and decided I’d wait until the evening! Lesson learned, go when you can!!!

Wednesday: The actual easy run! 3.1 miles averaging 10:37 which I was pleased with. It was a bit of a ‘i’m stressed and trying to figure things out’ run which is why it was a bit faster than it was meant to be!!!

Thursday: Speedwork – 6 miles – 4 x 10:29

The four miles were as follows. 10:01, 10:18, 10:17, 10:18 – I was pretty pleased with these, especially how consistent they were! A bit faster than they are meant to be but thats ok it wasn’t too far off it, just the fact I managed to stay that steady is impressive for me!

Friday: A much needed rest day – but for the second time of the week I did a Yoga for runners video I have found on youtube.

Saturday: 13 miles :

Originally this was going to be 10. Then for some silly reason I thought no I’ll do 13, its only 3 more! My head however wasn’t in it at all and until about mile 7 I was contemplating just turning around and going home! And then at mile 10 the rain had started and was stinging my face with how cold it was. I was a wimp and called my mum to come and collect me, except she didn’t answer her phone, even after the 3rd call! So I remembered a motto I picked up from one of my instagram followers ‘Suck it up buttercup’ and thats what I did. I sucked it up and finished. 13 miles in 2hrs 35. Not my fastest for that distance but I was satisfied.

Sunday: London Winter Run 10k

Well originally this was going to be an ‘easy run’ … that was until the starting gun went off and suddenly I was running for Tilda, for Lullaby Trust and wanted to do everyone proud, so I pushed as hard as I could and ended up with a 55second PB! Still not sub 60 but ever closer! Now stands at 1:01:04! Read the full report here.

This coming week is a ‘gentle’ week although it includes the 5 mile Eliminator Race! Wish me luck!

www.justgiving.com/24events24months 

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Race Report: London Winter 10k – A new PB! #24Events24Months

I have been apprehensive about this race for a number of reasons.

I arrived in London about 8:15 and headed to waterloo costa for some breakfast, eating at 6:30am just isn’t my thing when I’m not running until 9:54 (or so I was meant to be!). Once I’d eaten I wandered over and found my Mum who was volunteering. She was marshalling the start but admitted they didn’t know how they were meant to differentiate between waves! I used her map to find the bag drop which was a 10-15 minute walk around down the Mall, not very well signposted, had I not had the map I wouldn’t have known where I was going. Bag drop was a bit of a mess with volunteers trying to pair wristbands with stickers, me and a gentleman I was chatted with joked we would be lucky to get our own bags back! Once I’d dropped my bag I headed down to Admiralty arch where the toilets were before walking down horse guards parade and back to the ‘Welcome’ area.

Being alone I found a fellow solo runner and asked if she could take a picture of me and we got chatting. We decided that we would try and get round to the start as there were no announcements to say who should be lining up and who shouldn’t so we just decided to go for it. I’m glad we did as we still ended up starting 2 waves later than we should have done. The ‘start’ was long and slow. It felt like each wave was only letting 100 people through as we often barely moved. Eventually we got to the start and across it!

The first few kms were cramped and involved a lot of dodging around slower runners and walkers, it was frustrating but expected. Eventually it spread out a bit, although it was never quiet. I guess I’ve got way too used to smaller races where I end up running alone for most of it.
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The route took us from opposite the London eye, along through Blackfriars underpass, down to tower bridge where we did a U turn before heading back the way we had come, then taking a right turn after the underpass and into the St Pauls area of the city. The map makes it look like we looped, we didn’t, it was 2 u-turns, before heading back onto Embankment for the final stretch to the finish.

Most of the route you were running with runners either ahead of you on the other side of the road or you ahead of them. This meant I got to look out for friends and spotted a few. As such I was paying very little attention to my pace. Having done 13 miles yesterday I wasn’t planning to push immensely.

But something tends to happen when I’m running in my Lullaby Trust vest. I’m running for a reason. Its not just about me. Its about challenging myself and pushing my limits to help raise lots of £s for them to help fund their research and their family support. Its about running in Matilda’s memory and continuing her legacy. So I found myself running faster than I expected. At 5k I realised I had the potential to PB. When I reached 5 miles and realised with a kick I could PB I pushed harder. When I got to 5.80 and knew with just 0.42 to go I needed to kick it up a gear I did. My garmin clocking a average pace of 7:50 and across the line! I grabbed my phone out my bag, opened up my garmin app and checked my old PB against my watch! Then had a few tears when I realised I’d done it. I’d done it for Tilda. Tomorrow is 2 years since she passed away. The least I could do was to run my hardest to help with my fundraising efforts. Please do sponsor me at www.justgiving.com/24events24months. A 55second PB is worth a few quid right? Especially when done the day after a 13 mile run!

The finish was rather disorganised but eventually I located a medal. I was disappointed it wasn’t one of those races where you cross the line and someone places a medal around your neck and tells you well done but I guess with such large numbers it wasn’t possible.  A quick polar bear hug and I made a jog to the bag drop. Walking that distance meant I’d start to feel the cold quick so despite my ITB starting to tighten I made a speedy jog to thankfully receive my bag and not someone else’s!

Winterrun

Would I do it again? No.

Am I glad I did it? Yes. It was an experience!

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#24Events24Months – Pushing my limits

So taking on these 24 events hasn’t been a worry free undertaking. So I thought I’d share some of my concerns with you about some of these events.

Eliminator Race – This is an unknown race, its new, now the promo video quite frankly terrifies me! Stuck in the mud comes to mind!

Nuts Challenge – This recently got voted the toughest course! Need I say anymore?!

Brighton Marathon – I have high hopes for this and I really hope I manage to do everyone proud and smash my PB. I’m praying I enjoy it more than I did Edinburgh, if not its going to make the following 2 even harder!

Dirty Dozen – I’m excited about this and also terrified. I’ve been watching all the videos that Doug makes on youtube and I know that many of these obstacles are going to really test me. But thats what this challenge is about! Pushing myself!

Tough Mudder- I know theres a number of obstacles that involve being submerged. I am not good at the whole submerged thing. It stems back from a bad memory when I was in year 6 at school. I’m even worse at being submerged and having to go underneath something. If anyone has suggestions for getting over this I’d love to hear them!

Dirty Weekender – I’m mega excited about this but also rather nervous about it, its going to be absolutely EXHAUSTING. 20 miles – 200 obstacles? Don’t get me wrong I’m pretty fit, but thats something else right?

Liverpool Marathon – This is only 8 weeks after Brighton Marathon, which means I won’t have been able to do a full training plan. I am quite worried how that will affect things. I’m also concious that after Edinburgh it took about a month before I recovered anyway!

Spartan Sprints x 2! – For these I really have to get practicing burpees! I know of a few obstacles that I can’t ever imagine being able to complete! The rope climb, how an earth do you practice that?! Monkey bars I am bound to fail at! I’ve heard so much about these races but I’m also terrified!

Zombie Race – Imagine the scene, a thorpe park horror maze, a terrified 18 year old and a poor chap in front of her being almost strangled by how tightly she was hugging onto his jacket! I HATE anything that makes me jump or jumps out at me, or is generally scary. Being chased by zombies is like my idea of HELL! I am expecting to scream!

The thing is with all these challenges is I can push myself and face these fears. But for families who have been affected by SIDS they wake up every day and their worst fear is a reality. Their baby died. Nothing will bring them back. The Lullaby Trust support those families as well as funding vital research into SIDS. Please help me in my fundraising efforts by sponsoring me at my justgiving page or text donating via the details below.

Thank you!

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Brighton Marathon Training Week 6

So on the Sunday last week I’d had my long run. This week I knew training was going to be a tad up in the air as I had Brutal10 Womens on Saturday so it went a bit like this.

Tuesday: 7 miles with 3 x 1600m @ 9:49 w 800m recovery.

So running 7 miles 2 days after doing 13 miles was a bit of a mental idea it has to be said. Add to that the fact it was the frostiest morning we had and the thames had even frozen over it wasn’t exactly perfect conditions for speed work. Looking at the splits its hard to tell if the 2nd and 3rd 1600m were the right speed as they crossed over on miles. I’m pretty sure I maintained the average reasonably well. It was however incredibly tough. I was very tired still from Sundays long run and my legs still werent fresh again, breathing in temperatures that are below 0 is quite hard too!
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Friday: 14 miles

I planned an out and back route from my house along the Thames and then into Windsor, down the long walk to Windsor Castle and back again! Overall the run went well. I maintained a pace which was almost perfect for my training runs, it was meant to be 12:08 and I averaged 12:03! Probably the closest I’ll ever get to what my plan tells me! I used dextrose tablets and jelly beans for fuelling and sipped water as well. I am determined I wont touch gels this year.

Saturday: 3 ‘easy miles’

The easy run is one I normally do on a Tuesday following a long run. So due to having brutal it all got a bit mixed up! My race report from the day is here. I was surpised at how good my legs felt in the morning. They felt absolutely fine other than on hills where they started to ache a bit! They were sore for Saturday but other than that they’ve been ok.

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#24events24months – Brutal10 Womens Only

If you follow my 24 Events for 24 Months Facebook page you will know this weekend I took part in the Womens Only Brutal10 event. I had set a challenge to raise £200 and if I did I’d run the race with a chicken hat on my head. I’m not one for dressing up and drawing attention to myself and I thought I was going to get away with it when suddenly on Friday evening the total jumped and that was it I had to wear it then!

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It drew plenty of attention, unsurprisingly!

Onto the race itself! We arrived nice and early, just before 9am and had a swift race number collection. All we had to do was locate our number and name on a list and then go and collect the relevant number and chip. No queues, no problems! After grabbing some camo paint that was on offer we then all went back to our cars to shelter before agreeing we would get out at 9:30 and head over to the start area. A quick trip to the toilets pre-race which seeing as it was a womens race had a rather large queue at this time but there were enough loos on offer that it moved fairly fast. After a warm up which as usual was more like some aerobic class we were finally on our way and ready to start warming up!

The first huge puddle we came across I jumped straight into with two feet splashing all my friends around me which got plenty of screams from them, little did they know what was to come!

The course was 5k and the first section mainly involved puddles rather than any significant mud. Plenty of people were sliding over though which was rather amusing, including my best friend. We then came to a wooded area and a nice boggy area which saw my friend fall over holding onto my go-pro which was rather funny, she also had the chicken hat in her hand which filled up with mud! I wasn’t exactly thrilled to put it back on but having promised my sponsors I’d wear it I did the deed and stuck it back on, mud covered hair! Lush! After a few more hills we came across a very sucky mud bog which saw two of my friends completely sink in it, was rather amusing watching them trying to get out!

We then ran up some more hills over the top with views of Farnborough airport before queueing to get up an embankment, we couldn’t really see any other reason for the queues. Shortly after there was another queue to get down into a stream of water, everyone was queueing around a large pond of water so we just all walked straight through it. Whilst wading through that water I picked up a chunk of ice that was a good foot wide! When we got out none of us could feel our legs! We kept moving and came across some more wooded areas that seemed to take us across some of the paths I’d run down when I did Grim Challenge at the same location.

The final section saw tons of water, and alot of mud! We ended up having a mud fight as we decided we weren’t anywhere near muddy enough and overall we spent the whole race laughing anyway.

Finally we reached the last pool of water before the 9 of us joined hands and ran down the finish line together. We completed it in 1hr 14 minutes and I was proud of us. We had stuck together as a team and had made sure we didn’t lose anyone at the back.

When we crossed we were given a gorgeous medal and there was bananas and water available. I then made a dash straight for the car to get my dryrobe and out of my wet clothes. I knew changing straight away was essential to avoid getting ill. My new dryrobe was amazing and I stripped off underneath it and stuck on thermal leggings and joggers, 3 tops and a hoodie as well as my dryrobe before finally feeling a bit warmer again!

Overall the course was incredibly well marked, plenty of arrows and tape so there was never any doubt in where we were going. Lots of supportive marshalls who were lovely. It was a bargain price for a race and I’d definitely do a brutal that involved a medal again. I’ve generally avoiding brutal events before as I’m a bling addict and specifically don’t do races that don’t have medals. I’d heard alot about Brutal races and I’m glad I’ve finally experienced one. The only downsides would be the lack of changing tent and the course being laps meaning the dogs started to lap which got dangerous on some narrow sections and then 10k runners needing to get through too. Other than that it was a brilliant experience especially for the beginners.

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