| 2013 | 11 | 23 | mens health survival of the fittest |

I bloody well did it.

I actually crossed the line

If you've read my previous posts - you'll know how nervous I have been.

My fitness
As with the Spartan Race I didn't go into this completely unprepared. Following the very physically demanding summer, I didn't really wind it down once I got to Uni. Obviously the training schedule needed reassessing (lectures need working around) and essays had to take the priority. 

I felt a lot more confident running, and setting my own pace. Spartan taught me that I can really only go as fast as my body will let me, so there is no point in trying to aim higher. My jog is still borderline walking, but hey ho.

We're essentially beginners in a somewhat unforgiving environment. And we're doing just fine.

Race tactics with my dad. Ross takes it seriously
The day itself.
Ross was running this one with me. Our team has shrunk a little since the summer due to commitments and injury, but we both felt we wanted to prove ourselves.
We woke up at 7.30 and had a light breakfast. The night before we had well and truly tested our stomach capacity and felt a bit groggy - but we both knew we'd be grateful later on.
Because our heat was at 2.45 we had the entire morning to mope and allow time to pass, so obviously  constructively posed for pictures...

We did some careful stretching in the garden (it was such a beautiful day) before heading into London. My dad drove us as far as Putney (where he was umpiring a rowing race) and we hopped on a train to Battersea Park. 

This was about 12.30, and already we were feeling sick with nerves.

Arriving in the arena I was struck by how many people there were but registration was really quick. One of my favourite parts of these races is getting another t-shirt (the medal too!) but who doesn't love new clothes.

It was still sunny at this point, so we weren't too worried about the cold.

That was until we saw some of the obstacles.

The ice pit looked the  best.

Fifteen minutes before our heat we got shepherded into an enclosure.

The race

I'm sorry I don't have any 'during race' photographs - we didn't have a support team so the camera got left firmly in my bag. Even the professional course pictures didn't turn out too good, so you'll just have to use your imagination.

The hay bales to start were huge. So was every single obstacle we came across. Ross was probably the only reason I got round, he was there guiding me through every challenge I came up against.

This was definitely a manly course - I struggled a lot towards the end because my upper body just couldn't handle the constant onslaught, and I guess, I had undertrained.
The worst section was a 2 mile run along the river, my jog dropped to a pathetic shuffle but Ross stayed directly behind me so I didn't stop.
Traffic cones are heavier than you think.
This course felt very manly - think a construction site, mud and a firehose. We had to carry beer kegs and scramble through cars, lorries and tyres.
The people who helped me over the final famous 'wall of shame' are probably the best people in the world.

Our time was 1.22.14.

I am so proud of us for finishing.

Post race
I'm going to be honest here. We massively misjudged how our body's would react to the race, and it was a bit of a disaster. Foolishly, we both ate only a biscuit and an apple for lunch pre-race - as our stomachs were so unsettled. This didn't affect our race progress too much, but we both had a huge sugar crash after completing. We were fine queuing for the official photographs, changing out of our clothes and jumping on the train, but it was here that things got a bit hazy.

My dad met us at Putney, and we both kind of collapsed into the car. I essentially passed out and dozed for the journey home (I imagine Ross did too) in a state of hunger and fatigue. We haven't yet adapted to a full day of exertion so it was a bit of a shock. 

Arriving home we forced down some very hot sweet tea and Ross kindly let me in the shower first to warm up.

The hair dryer definitely helped, but we still felt very shaky.

After food and getting warm we looked a lot better :).
Learning curve
If we are going to do longer distances we need to be far more careful about what we eat and when.

Even if you don't feel like food, if you know you'll need it - force it down.

We can only get better and learn from our mistakes - we now know we function best when we eat our biggest meal lunchtime the day before, rather than dinner (tip #124566)

love sophie