Tag Archives: April

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 raceĀ 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.

Dirty Dozen

Barley a week after my last race in March and it was time to take on my one and only challenge for April – The Dirty Dozen. A 12km obstacle race that would be my longest distance to date.

Race Description

This race was set at The Hop Farm in Kent, and I’m sure I’ve read somewhere it being promoted as “the home of large obstacles” or something similar – it did not disappoint!

There was quite a bit of build up for this on Facebook, with a few of the obstacles given a preview, this was enough to stoke the nerves!

We arrived to a really well organised race, free parking a short walk from the registration tents, which were split into queues based on your surname. Here you were given your race pack which included your (named) number, wrist band, timing chip and band for your bag to enable you to use the bag drop.

The event village was buzzing with a great atmosphere and some good stalls around to take a look at, as well as the bag drop, bar, food and toilets.

This was another race where RPCC was out in force, which made the atmosphere, for me, even better.

The RPCC crew ready for the race
The RPCC crew ready for the race

This race also had a cracking warm-up, which included press ups and burpees to really get you going. We arrived in plenty of time and watched the elite athletes set off at 10am, then it was our turn.

The Race

We were all raring to go at the start line, laughing, joking and posing for a few pictures, a short speech from the organiser Doug “The Beard” Spence and then it was time to go.

Posing at the start line with some of the RPCC crew (Photograph by Epic Action Imagery)
Posing at the start line with some of the RPCC crew
(Photograph by Epic Action Imagery)

This race had fair stretches of running between obstacles which meant that you didn’t get held up, as people naturally spread out and found their own pace. The terrain was pretty flat, with lots of running through fields and areas of woodland, this didn’t stop them building in muddy banks though.

There was a sheep dip obstacle which involved you getting yourself fully submerged in cold water to get under not one but three walls in quick succession – this was more a mental battle than a physical one, but it certainly took the air from my lungs as we went through.

A high cargo net only secured at the top tested my nerves as I have mentioned in other blog posts how I am somewhat scared of heights, but I managed to get over it without too much panic at the top.

There were plenty of high obstacles in this race to test my nerve as we went round, Dirty Dozen doesn’t do things by half’s!

There was a pretty long tire carry, through thick mud and just when you thought you were safe, they gave you a log to lug through the woods!

The tire carry
The tire carry
The log carry
The log carry

After a water station there was a fire jump that was much bigger than the one at Warrior Run the weekend before – as with heights, i’m not a big fan of fire, so I just ran, jumped and hoped for the best… and made it to the otherside without any drama.

Jumping fire - I can Fly! (Photo by Epic Action Imagery)
Jumping fire – I can Fly!
(Photo by Epic Action Imagery)

As with many races of this type, there were ditches to clamber in and out of, monkey bars to try and get over (I failed and had a nice refreshing swim), walls to climb and streams to wade through.

Wading through a stream with some of the other RPCC crew
Wading through a stream with some of the other RPCC crew

By far the worst obstacle (by this I mean most painful!) was the one aptly named “barbed belly” which saw us crawling low under barbed wire. Now this is not un-typical at obstacle races, but what made this so hard was the ploughed up, rock hard, mud that was under the barbed wire. This is where I think I picked up most of my bruises from the day. Just when you thought it was over you ran a few feet and then there was a second one. Right at the end of that one was some soft mud which felt like rolling into silk once you got there!

The barbed belly
The barbed belly

The end of this race saw us trying to get over some huge walls, the first had a rope to help, the second required some teamwork, then it was a sprint to the finish.

Sprinting to the end with Alex Tribe
Sprinting to the end with Alex Tribe
Crossing the line
Crossing the line

Crossing the line I was exhausted, but exhilarated, I had made it around the brutal 12km course. You then typed in your race number to a computer to get a personalised print out of your race time (1h50mins) and I picked up my dirty dozen t-shirt, hat and free beer.

Finished!
Finished!

Final results showed I came 152nd overall and 21st woman. Coming in the top 30 also means I have now qualified for the OCR world championships in the US – something I would dearly love to do and will see if I can actually get there, as that would be an awesome challenge to add into this year!