Tag Archives: 10 miles

April

April started with me sitting down with my trainer working out a plan of action now I’m heading back to work, and focusing more on running events, rather than the OCR races that I have spent the last two years doing. We have taken our training back onto the beautiful Firehills to allow me to get in some hill training on trail to start to prepare me for a couple of tough trail half marathons coming up in May.

Training on the Firehills
Training on the Firehills

After our first session up there, we sat down with a cuppa and worked out what I would be doing when, I told Adam (my trainer) what I wanted to do which it turns out added up to between 7 and 9 hours of exercise a week, a combination of running and classes with three different fitness companies as well as my PT sessions. He laughed at me and said that he might be concerned if some people suggested this, but that I should be fine (In other words, give it a go, but you’ll probably break yourself!!)

It’s all set up so that I can skip or swap things around as and when I need to so hopefully I won’t actually break myself, but in my true overenthusiastic style when I start something new, my first week, I ran more than I was supposed to (in fairness I wasn’t at work yet) and by Thursday was a bit concerned that I might have bitten off more than I can chew (I think I was in equal parts disappointed and relieved when my PT session had to be cancelled that day, but I still had a bootcamp session that evening)

I was really able to get stuck into training as we moved through April as I had only one race booked in, the Angmering Bluebell trail run in the South Downs, and to try and start getting the OCR bug back, I also decided to take a weekend off to go and watch the first Dirty Dozen race of the season and cheer some friends on, a bit of a weird experience for me to not be racing, but quite good fun, and Doug did offer me the chance to run in what I was wearing if I wanted to, which I considered for about 30 seconds before deciding against it, but really appreciating the offer none-the-less.

Watching some of Dirty Dozen with Vince and Brigita
Watching some of Dirty Dozen with Vince and Brigita

Angmering Bluebell Run – 10 Mile

For my one and only race in April I travelled with hubby Phil an hour and a half away from home to Angmering, a village outside of Worthing for a bluebell trail run. You could choose to run either 10km or 10 miles, and we had selected the latter, setting off in the chilly morning at 10.30am, along a road before heading into some woodland with carpets of bluebells amongst the trees which give the run its name.

Bluebells
Bluebells

There were also some stunning views over the surrounding countryside from the top of the hilly areas of the run, as well as fields full of cows, sheep, lambs and donkeys to look at as you ran by. The website had said to wear suitable footwear as some of the tails were muddy, but actually the terrain was on a lot of paved paths, gravel paths and hard packed ground, with a little running on grass, and any mud was pretty easily avoided so the use of my Icebugs felt like overkill and I think I would have been more comfortable in my normal road running trainers, which I would wear if I did this again, unless there had been a lot of rain before hand. This run is not one for medal hunters as the only thing you get at the end is a clif bar, however it is a lovely and well organised run that I would do again.

Phil and I running
Phil and I running

Next month I’ve made the potentially foolish decision to run two trail half marathons, which are only a week apart, so watch this space for how I get on at the Bewl Water half and the JD Pippingford half, I’ve put in a lot of training miles this month (over 100) so hopefully I’ll get through OK, but whatever happens, I’m looking forward to the challenge.

The Eliminator Race

Early on a cold Saturday morning in February I found myself donning my race kit and heading out the door to once again face the hills of Pippingford Park. I had been asked by a lovely lady from RPCC to run a race with her, and I agreed to sign up to the 10 mile option of the Eliminator race. Unfortunately the lady I was supposed to be running with picked up an injury and couldn’t race, but there was a still a reasonable sized group of RPCCers making the trip to run either 5 or 10 miles.

RPCC crew before the race
RPCC crew before the race

Race Description

The Eliminator race is a trail run with only natural obstacles, there was a 5 or 10 mile option on the Saturday, and a full marathon option on the Sunday. Having raced a few times at Pippingford before I knew this was going to be very hilly and testing terrain, and not your average 10 mile run (not that I often pop out for a 10 mile jog!) It was very cold waiting at the top of the hill, and I was very grateful for my dry robe and Dirty Dozen bobble hat. We were there really early and hung around drinking tea and watching the kids race (and taking a few selfies – since that’s what we do). Eventually though it was time to get ready to race, the dry robes were reluctantly removed and we headed to get warmed up.

RPCC super selfie
RPCC super selfie

The Race

We set off down a hill, before swiftly being taken up the other side of the valley,  then after what felt like a long and slow slog to the top of the hill it was through the first bit of icy water, with shards of ice floating around and hidden logs submerged below the surface.

Coming up to the top of the first hill
Coming up to the top of the first hill

As the race wound up and down killer hills I found myself “playing tag” with a few people that I knew, so although running by myself I never felt on my own. As we splashed through yet another section of water I noticed that my friend Graeme Harrison was behind we, with a photographer up ahead so we grabbed a quick hug in the water for a photo before carrying on.

Mid race hugs
Mid race hugs

Every so often I would come across a marshal or spectator that I knew and the encouraging shouts (and high five from Mark Leinster) helped keep my running, as well as Graeme, Dave Cartwright and Ben Sallows who were all running near me for most of the race for a kind word.

As the mile markers slowly trickled passed, with more and more hills to navigate, some which almost had me crawling, trees to clamber over, weave round and crawl under, water to wade through and an amusing moment when I climbed over a gate, following the person in front of me, when it swung open with me sat on top of it, I was feeling tired and a few little injury niggles started to make themselves felt.

Under the bridge
Under the bridge

As we reached the final mile, the course was mostly through a wooded section that reduced running to a slow jog as you tried to navigate safely, and it felt like the longest mile in the world. Eventually you came across a marker saying 10 miles, this was the most demoralising marker in the world, I was only supposed to be running 10 miles, how much further was it going to be? Thankfully not much!

They were not going to make it easy to finish though, with a long slog up a hill to reach the finish line, I found myself walking most of this, despite my best efforts telling myself to run. Then Graeme was beside me again urging me to give a strong finish, and together we ran the final stretch of the hill to the finish line to collect our medals.

Finishing
Finishing

 

The Eliminator was one tough race, the cold and terrain taking their toll as you ran. It felt like a massive achievement to complete it, and I have so much awe and respect for the people who went out the next day to run the full marathon distance.

Cheeky after selfie with the 10 mile race winner Ross Brackley
Cheeky after selfie with the 10 mile race winner Ross Brackley

It was a privileged to then watch as my other friends finished the race, all having given their all and completed the tough course. With lots of hugs at the finish, and then finally heading back home for the longest bath I’ve ever taken to get warm again.

Caught unawares giving Tayla Playford a well deserved hug at the finish.
Caught unawares giving Tayla Playford a well deserved hug at the finish.

 

Judgement Day Borden

After arriving home rather later than I had intended on Saturday night following our day racing in London, the 5.30am alarm was not a welcome sound. I blundered around getting my kit together and running slightly late, staggered out the door with my hair undone and barely awake. Race two of the weekend was upon me and it was time to go!

Tired, not really ready, but about to head out the door
Tired, not really ready, but about to head out the door

Race Description

As we made the 2 hour journey from Hastings to Borden the weather was getting worse and worse, the rain was coming down and it was a bit miserable when we arrived.

This race was set at a MOD tank training ground, with 10 miles of both sandy and boggy terrain to run through. This race was always going to be tough, with their first race having great reviews, but the miserable weather and cold was going to add an extra challenge, before you even consider I was already tired from running the day before.

It was cold and wet when we arrived, so the customary hanging around and taking stupid photos was replaced with sitting in the car trying to keep warm until it was time to run.

The Race

We set off at 10am, the rain was coming down and so I set off at a run to try and get warm, quickly losing Phil and Kev who I was running with as they got held up behind me. We were straight into a section of water, water never really bothers me so I splashed past people, trying to keep my footing on the uneven ground.

We shortly came to a set of low hurdles, which should have been easy, but I somehow got my foot caught on the first one and fell right over it, giving the people around me a laugh. I managed the rest without any drama though and carried on round to the tyre carry.

Here was the first of a set of letters we needed to remember also adding a mental challenge to the physical ones we were facing. I managed the tyre carry no problem, but as I splashed through the water at the end and my tyre was taken off me, I got turned around, and unfortunately the marshal was not paying attention, and I somehow ended up going round the tyre carry section for a second time. This meant I was now somewhere behind the boys without much hope of catching up. A bit of a run followed with some round hay-bails to get up, difficult as there was nothing to grip. I managed this by myself on my third attempt and set off again.

As we ran back towards the event village for the first time we hit a set of monkey bars, where I managed to get about half way before falling off, we then looped back out for more running, and a concrete block drag, before coming back to the same obstacle but on the other side for the hang tough rings, which I, as is customary, fell straight off!

After falling off the rings
After falling off the rings

Following the hang tough we were confronted with the sandbags, red for the boys, blue for the girls. I hoisted mine up onto my back and it already felt heavy and uncomfortable, I set off for what felt like the longest carry ever conceived by man. Part way round the sandbag carry I finally caught up with Kev and we carried on together, the sandbag causing me to slow down more and more, my arms cramping and screaming and my shoulders and neck aching. We came to some barbed wire, another letter to remember, and down we went, dragging the sandbags along with us, heaving the bag back onto my shoulders I carried on staggering round the section, next coming across a waist high wall, tossing the sandbag over I struggled to find the strength in my arms to follow it, but once over having to pick that bag up again was a new kind of torture!

About to go over the wall with my Sandbag
About to go over the wall with my Sandbag

A final push up a small hill before the blissful relief of dumping the bad and grabbing some water. The next section of running felt great without the sandbag on my back, until we hit the boggy mud that is, one wrong step and you were in upto your hip.

We hit a second tyre, this time you had to drag it using a rope, then run it back out to where it started, and the next time we hit the event village it was for a hideous (In my “I hate hights” opinion) obstacle that involved us climbing up a rickety rope ladder, over a net strung high over the metal rigging and then down the other side. I was very relieved to get my feet back on solid ground!

Coming down back towards the ground.
Coming down back towards the ground.

As we headed back out away from the main village again we faced walls of different types, several sections of incredibly boggy mud and wades through water, all the time with the relentless rain.

Wading past some tanks With Kev Coda
Wading past some tanks With Kev Coda

As we made our way round other obstacles that we faced were a  run through a tank bath which ended with parallel bars, by this point I felt like I had no strength left, but at least I tried!

Kev and I coming up to the tank wash
Kev and I coming up to the tank wash

As we made our way round more running we came to one of the most unusual obstacles I’ve come across, we were handed a band which we had to put around our legs, where we had to do what can only be described as a penguin wobble around a short section of course, made even more interesting by having to navigate yourself over a tree across the path. Neither Kev or I seemed to be thinking straight at this point and both managed to come up with the least efficient way over, before watching someone else effortlessly roll over the top of it! This part really was quite fun.

We came round to another wall, with no one there I just copied the guy in front of me going under it, before passing the unmanned water station and carrying on. At the bucket carry I was handed a reasonably light bucket – a lot of sand seemed to have been dumped out as the day had gone on. At this point I lost Kev again and I was just to cold by now to wait around so I carried on alone.

I was getting really tired now, but there wasn’t too much left. A tyre flip and another run took me to the final obstacle, where you had to give the word spelled out by the letters “Sandbag” and (in my case attempt) a rope climb.  This just left a sprint finish, through one last bit of water, and across the line. A welcome hug and a foil blanket waited for me as well as my medal.

Finished!
Finished!

This was one tough race, even without the rain slashing down all day, and my only real criticism is that as well as at the tyre carry there were a few times where we got a bit lost in the course marking, which in fairness may have started off OK and gotten worse throughout the day. Luckily most of the time there had been a marshal to put me right before I ended up going the complete wrong way. Overall it was a great, challenging, race and I’m really looking forward to more Judgement Day action in December for the team event – what I’m not looking forward to is more sandbags 😉