sophie didn't do anything at all.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

| fitness | Total Warrior (10km)

We got a bit cocky after Dirty Weekend. Kind of a 'we did the longest race ever, we can quite literally do anything'. Ross has started behaving ridiculously in public (I can't say what, as it might get him in trouble), I dyed my hair pink and both forgot this race existed. Luckily our base fitness could be class as 'not too shabby', so 8 miles wasn't the most difficult thing, but it was still a push towards the end.

My fitness
As I say, I fell off the training bandwagon. Mileage which was once pushing 40 miles a week hit an all time low a few weeks before with a total of 5. 5 miles across seven days is hardly training. That's just running for a bus every day (when do I ever get the bus?!).

he wanted his number low down so people could see his muscles
We're getting into a proper little routine pre-race, and don't feel half the stress we once did.

Ross still can't use safety pins, nor get his timing chip to sit properly on his trainer - that's my main role in our team.

The Day before

The day before I moved out of my house in Newcastle and didn't really do anything vaguely conditioning. Sorry muscles. Packing boxes in twenty degree heat is hardly easy, so I was actually a little sore and worked up a mild sweat, not drinking or eating as I really should have been.

Sitting in the car for 6 hours in total is definitely not ideal so I spent the evening at my mums doing all I could to unpick the tightness in my legs.

The Day itself
Sometimes being in a late heat can be more nerve-wracking than being in an early one. What to eat? When to get dressed? How hot?


I ate two chicken sandwiches and a slice of flapjack pre-race. I felt full to burst and a bit sick.

Registration was easy - the only bit we didn't enjoy was the face sticker tattoo things. I am not a walking advertisement thank you.

The first obstacle (Leg it) was one of the most brutal a race has thrown at us. For the supposed warm up challenge they were really mean - running up and down a ridiculously steep hill was punishing. Given the number of walkers straight after I'm quite glad I had Ross running behind me kicking my heels and bellowing 'pump it' at the back of my head - that leg burn. Getting up hills is definitely something you need to practice, it properly hurts.

The first kilometre flew past taking us into a woody section. In here, Beechers Brook, Widow Maker, Log Bog Scramble and Worm Muncher all blurred into one long squelch through mud. Crawling under and over and wading through quite literally the thickest sludge ever. I've definitely made that claim about the conditions at a race before, but this one takes the biscuit. People were getting properly stuck up to their waists and needed around three burly men to get them out.

The Channel Crossing washed us down a little, followed by more mud and climbing. I'm so glad about my decision to wear my new Inov8 X-Talon 212's. Where Ross was sliding backwards, I was gliding forwards. We were definitely moving up the pack in this section. The next few obstacles comprised of the usual jumping, ducking, crawling and general moving up and over. The 'Grand National' was where I got my first ever proper injury - my own fault but I baulked at the 8ft drop off a wall and essentially landed on my elbow. Not going to lie, that was genuinely sufficient pain to make me think I'd broken it. However, I still had 5 miles to go, and Ross had already run off. Ah well, you deal with these things after the race.

Cliff Hanger is something we've now experienced three times, but this was the hardest version. Instead of one long ledge to hang off and shuffle along with your feet, you had to jump sideways, and climb up and down, using very small blocks to support your body weight. Oh, and the water beneath was deep.

More water after this point, thank god it wasn't too cold, before tunnels, tyres and more log climbing and a very long slog across the fields.

You start to use other members of your wave as points of reference - Ross and I had caught the attention of a group of five topless boys. Probably a couple of years older than us, they were getting increasingly frustrated at our non-stop pace. Their technique involved running very fast for maybe half a mile before taking a break. And every time they took a break we'd be there, just chugging along. Past experience taught us that you can run as slowly as you like as long as you don't walk. Walking breaks the rhythm.

We experienced fire, crawling, more hills and ditches before moving through the Sprint King, The Shocker, Peaks of Pain and finally monkey bars.

The only disappointment was the lack of medals crossing the line - we love our shiny prizes.

What we took away
I don't know what it was, but to date, the enjoyment level from this race was at its highest. I think because we had found it far easier than Dirty Weekend and Tough Guy (for obvious reasons) it hadn't felt so stressful.

We felt comfortable the whole way round and held a good pace against those in our wave. It's refreshing to catch those who set off twenty minutes before our start time, whereas usually we're clinging on to the back end.  It was our strongest finish, for the final two miles we pushed up the pace and held it.

Using my results as a benchmark, we've definitely improved since Dirty Weekend. 

why can't run like a girl mean also win the race?

Ross Howard - 02:05:20
- category position - 888 /1832

- gender position - 1073 / 2292

Sophie Mitchell - 02:05:21
- category position - 166 / 997
- gender position - 199 / 1226
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