sophie didn't do anything at all.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

| fitness | The Suffering

Saturday was quite possibly the most fun I've had doing an obstacle race to date. Don't get me wrong, Ross H is my race partner. We've been through some of the toughest times together and come out the other side smiling and/or delirious - but nothing beats racing as a group. Nothing beats the shared camaraderie, falls, slips and tumbles that come from six pairs of uncoordinated feet attempting to fit through a gap too small.

G, Ricky, Ross N, Alec, myself and Nick. What a team.
Climbing over the walls as a group made life easier, and whilst group racing is definitely a slower process, it's one I hope to be able to experience again.

Race prep
Ensuring all the above individuals were ready to race was far more stressful than I had anticipated. I guess I take it for granted that Ross H is stronger, faster and slightly more determined than me, but I shouldn't have worried - these boys didn't need to train at all. In fact, quite annoyingly, they barely struggled one bit. 

I'd been running with Nick, G and Ricky for a few months prior, bashing out terrain running and river path sprints. We hadn't done any obstacle practice as a group (albeit one accidental fence whilst lost) but the boys at least looked strong, so it would just come down to technique.

Two days before race day - guess what? I was sick... literally. Throwing up my guts over the 24 hour period and essentially undoing all my hard work the week before. Battered from Total Warrior, I did my best not to completely feel sorry for myself and decided not to tell the boys about it for fear they would think I was bringing excuses to the table.

The day
The distance to the race was a little bit of a challenge. 2 hours by car - and we were wave one. That meant leaving the house at 7am. I'm an acceptable morning person, but that is really pushing it. Thankfully I'd put together what could be classed as quite possibly the best ever road trip CD in existence. It comes naturally to me, I'm afraid.

Upon arrival we were neatly 'tetrised' into the car park - within 100m of the start line. Facilities were minimal, but sufficient. We spied out the cold shower early on, a treat against the muddy commute of last week and my bath on the train - oh Elaine.

Registration was quick and before long we were ushered towards the start line for a mandatory warm up.

I have to admit, the first few obstacles of this race were some of my favourites. Clambering over piles of tyres and vaulting those intended for tractors is refreshing against the usual hay bales. I can't deal with hay bales. Spectators were given the opportunity to throw wet sponges and flour on unsuspecting competitors crawling under nets - great.

Unfortunately, we encountered the first and only bottleneck within the kilometre, and that definitely dampened the mood. Monkey bars. I'm not going to kid myself, these are things that I will never be able to do, so standing in quite a long queue to just jump pathetically at the frame felt a little pointless.

There was a slight mis-communication on one of the following obstacles, leading to our cameraman 'G' having to endure abuse and roll around in disgusting pond water. That will teach him for sprinting past everyone else.

We all got horrifically wet and muddy here, and that seemed to be the ongoing theme throughout.

The next few miles were taxing on our feet, and I was relieved to see what was essentially a giant slip 'n' slide. Because we're all idiots, we jumped on it together. That's not particularly wise, nor is it pain free - just for future reference okay?

Post fun, we were presented with water filled containers and told to carry them over a short section of terrain, frame included. I'm guessing more than 15kg, but I can't really tell with these kind of things.

I feel I should point out that I was having significant difficulties with my leggings of choice. I have lost a small amount of weight off my hips - coupled with them being jersey material meant they were essentially falling down throughout. Luckily my vest was tucked in or else we'd have had real bum exposure.

The course was definitely long - it felt closer to 10 than 5. The hills were also relentless, so not as easy course as we had hoped.

As we neared the final section, there was a fair amount of mud and water - and more hills. The punishing section of sprinting up a steep hill before running back down ten times really pulled on reserves in my thighs - that burn (again). You got to jump into a disgusting pool not long after,  before running it off in the woods.

Turning towards the car park you were presented by a water filled tank with netting over the top. Thankfully it was more forgiving than the 'Cage Crawl' of Tough Mudder - so really, it was a crawl in the park. My team weren't impressed when I insisted we did the squats and star jumps as one unit - it meant some of the boys doubled the amount they had to do. The reapers were on form with making us all spin on the spot until dizzy - it made for an interesting entry back into the pool.

One last run through a stream - pushing through a horrific amount of sharp foliage and then we turned towards the final straight. Tyre wall, then slanted walls, then the rugby players - with some nets in between.

This was my first ever obstacle race in which the rugby players took me out - normally me talking nicely allows for a cheeky sidestep and walk around. Not here, instead they counted down from 3 and just knocked me to the ground. Straight down.

One last wall.

you can quite clearly see that my leggings were no longer covering the essential bits. 
I have to admit, the boys helped me a lot. And they didn't begrudge me one bit. They're the best. 

I got in trouble sprinting ahead over the line.

What we took away
I had so much fun. We were grinning the whole way round. Surprisingly, it was me who struggled the most. Perhaps, this was because I had over-trained the week before without resting post Total Warrior and my body genuinely had nothing left in the tank. Silly me.

It's also clear that you don't have to be super super fit for these kind of events. Yes, some training may be necessary or it would be no fun at all, but it's all about taking it at your own pace and smiling.

Either way, I'm still so happy they all came and tried it out.


okay you got me. i actually like being inappropriately dressed in public.

love sophadoph xxx
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