Tag Archives: OCR

August

August began with nothing much on the calendar other than Colour the Coast for St Michael’s hospice, but it ended in the most emotional run I’ve ever been a part of.

Colour The Coast

4km around the park, with my best friends, having paint powder thrown at us, to raise money for a good cause, what’s not to like?

This year they moved the run from the seafront to the park, but the format was the same. Turn up in your official, pristine white t-shirts, and then get pelted with different colour paint at ever kilometre. We had an absolute blast, mostly walking, taking our time, being silly which is what we do best, and covering each other in paint from the paint packets that came in our race packs, as well as getting a good coating at the colour stations, we giggled our way around the course and then joined in the the paint throwing colour clouds at the end. The only negative from it being moved seemed to be that people didn’t really hang around afterwards which was a shame since they had a band playing, and it had the potential to be a good after party, more was needed around the start/end zone to make people stick around I think. A fab morning out with my friends though, and we will, of course, be back again next year!

After Colour the Coast
After Colour the Coast

The 2nd 10k in The Rye Summer Classic Series

Picked up again by Ashley and Kev and taken to rye harbour for the second 10k of a three part race series, it was hot hot hot, and I’d been having real trouble with knee pain, so I was resigned to the fact before the start that I wouldn’t be able to equal what I had managed the last time or have any hope of a new PB.

Before the run, with my boys: Kev, Ash, Phil, Jason and Ben :)
Before the run, with my boys: Kev, Ash, Phil, Jason and Ben ūüôā

We set off from the harbour along for the out and back run by the sea along Rye’s nature reserve, I didn’t bother checking my pace on my watch, just plodded along as quickly as my damaged knee would allow. When I finished I was shocked to find that I had actually only run 9.5 seconds slower than I had the previous month, and was really delighted to have a second 10k under my belt at less than 50mins. I’ll be back next month for the final race, a 5km run, to complete the set.

Finished, with my darling husband
Finished, with my darling husband

Dirty Destroyer

Phil bought me entry to only my third OCR of the year as a birthday present, since the race fell 4 days prior to my birthday and I was heading up to Essex to do the 18km race with some of the RPCC guys. Sadly a few days before the race, our trainer and friend Rich Pringle’s young son passed away, devastating all of us who knew him, and causing our whole town to come together in support in amazing way, as well as the wider community, particulalry the in the OCR world where Rich is extremely well known, liked and respected. People were asked to wear red the day of the race, whatever they were doing and when we arrived at dirty dozen this request had been followed on a massive scale. It was a sea of red shirts, shorts and vests as far as the eye could see, and it was moving in a way that can’t really be described, you needed to be there.

The group of 9 of us who would be going and representing RPCC at this race decided that we would wear our black RPCC kit, with red armbands, or shorts, or tops underneath, and we stood, arm in arm, at the front of the first wave, with a mass of red behind us, as we had a minute of silence for Hughie, followed by a minute of applause. Tears fell as we held each other, but the moment was beautiful.

A minute for Hughie
A minute for Hughie

After the warm up, that I actually had to join in as we were foolishly still at the front, it was time to get going. We wished Dean luck as he was off to race properly, and the remaining 8 of us set off at a more leisurely pace, choosing to do this one together as a team. We were enjoying ourselves despite the fact that we seemed to be picking up injuries one by one by one, myself turning my ankle painfully at around the 5km point, leaving me 13 painful km still to hobble through. We happily clambered over the well built obstacles, helping each other and having the kind of fun I had been missing from racing lately. We stopped to pose for some great group shots every time we saw a photographer and enjoyed watching the ribbon of red tops spread along the course.

Bunch of posers
Bunch of posers

Despite our myriad of injuries we managed to make it around the course, and after a cooling dip in the lake we could see the finish line in sight, just a clamber over a trailer with a very ungraceful dismount, a thin ladder climb and a big wall and we would be there. Sadly I was unable to complete the last two obstacles, my ankle finally getting the better of me, I was beginning to struggle to hold up my own weight, but together the 8 of us crossed the line and into the waiting arms of Doug Spence. We took a moment there at the finish, with Doug, and a few more tears spilled down our cheeks. It had been an emotional day and we didn’t need words, just some time together arm in arm again before we headed back into the event village for some warm clothes and a well deserved drink.

At the finish
At the finish

Dirty Dozen had laid on an amazing race, and an amazing tribute to a wonderful little boy and it was a privilege to have been able to be a small part of it, and I’m so glad I had decided to go along.

For the rest of the month though, I fear, it will be rest and Ice packs for me as I try to get my ankle back into shape so I can start training and running again, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

(If you have read this and would like to donate to a fund to build a play park in Hughie’s memory, please click on this link:¬†https://www.gofundme.com/2k42bhvt )

 

June

I started June in a caravan in France, with my family, stuffing my face with endless french baguettes, washed down with plenty of french wine and I came home feeling very chubby and unfit, so I dived straight back into training and eating well – and that lasted at least a week before my motivation took a little dip, and a few nights out crept in, but you have to have a life! The weekend after we got back from France though it was time for another little race, in my local park, the 10km Race for Life.

Hastings Race for Life 2016

Last year this was run in beautiful sunshine, but this year couldn’t have been more different, with torrential rain before we started that lasted the whole run. This year I was also missing my running buddy Linda who was off on her holidays, but who had left me strict instructions to come first this year!

I headed off and to my surprise did actually find myself quite near the front, felt quite good running for a change and just set off in my own little world. As I started my second soggy lap I was joined by a gentleman on a bike, who was actually a marshal pacing the front runner all the time it was safe to do so, and who told me I was now in first place, as everyone in front of me had been running 5km. I pushed on, but soon hit the first of the 5km walkers, so had to slow down and do a lot of weaving around big groups holding umbrellas, while panting “excuse me, excuse me” as I tried to get passed! No one overtook me though so I did actually manage a first place, if only race for life was actually a race! Better than this though was the fact that I had run my fastest 10k, and know I could have shaved some time off that without the ducking and weaving.

Despite the rain, it was still a fun day, with a great turn out, raising money for a good cause, which is always worth getting out of bed for.

Race for Life 2016
Race for Life 2016

Following Race for life came another couple of weeks of overeating and maybe a few two many nights out, and a complete dip in motivation when it came to training, but I did manage to run a half marathon distance in a storm one day, so this month hasn’t been all disaster, despite what my mean old bathroom scales are telling me. It was time to do another race, this time my third World War Run.

World War Run

I had chosen to do this race because I had had so much fun last year, but I was extremely nervous as the day came around as It was to be my first obstacle race since I quite publicly declared myself out of the world of OCR at the beginning of the year, and my ability to actually do obstacles certainly hasn’t improved in that time!

Before the race with the RPCC guys and Christie Wright Photo by Epic Action Imagery
Before the race with the RPCC guys and Christie Wright
Photo by Epic Action Imagery

Still the moment arrived when I found myself on the start line with some of the guys from RPCC including the main man, Richard Pringle, himself. We set off and I actually found myself running with Rich for a bit, slaloming up and down round a field before it was into the first ditch, quickly followed by a series of extremely muddy trenches, where Rich kindly helped haul me out of the slippery mud pits. I lost him at the tyres at the end of the section as my foot got caught up and I took a while to untangle myself, then it was off into the woods and into streams. I was quite enjoying myself so far. A not surprising failure at the monkey bars and hang tough rings, but everything else negotiated fairly easily and I was quite enjoying myself.  I had all the normal wobbles on anything high, especially as things were also slick with mud, but I quite surprised myself by doing the firemans pole without any hesitation (before plummeting too fast to the floor as this too was slick and slippery!) and  struggled to haul myself up a set of metal tubes with the help of the rope, but I got there in the end with the help of the marshal.

My enjoyment dipped quite a lot at the paintball gauntlet, I couldn’t see though the mask I was handed and it’s so hard to breath, and run, in a full face mask that you can’t see through, all the time wondering when and where you would end up getting shot. I actually managed to get around without taking a hit, but I felt myself on the verge of a panic attack and was so relieved to hand the mask back and move on.

I really enjoyed the longer stretch of running, after the sandbag carry, switching back through the woods, then through some streams, bushes, and mud. I seemed to have lost everyone at this point, I even wondered if i had managed to get myself lost, but it seemed I was still on the right path as I came round to the beginning section again, back into the trenches we had started with to get re-coated with mud that had seemed to get even more sloppy and sticky, then round and over some different types of walls to the start line, to do it all over again for the second lap of the 10mile race.

Negotiating a muddy stream. Picture courtesy of Geoff Caten
Negotiating a muddy stream.
Picture courtesy of Geoff Caten

I did start to question my decision to do the longer race, I was tired and aching, and it had been a very long time since I’d pushed my body in this way, however as I made my way round for the second time it was great to run into some people that I knew who had started running later and were mostly just doing 5miles. A quick hello to fellow RPCCer Tracy Archer as we met at they tyre wall, where I also saw Nuker Scott Smith as I came back down. The best mid-race hug, possibly ever, from Mudstacles very gorgeous Tom Nash at the paintballs, Wrongen leader Vince James and his beautiful lady Brigita (whom had got me to the race in the first place) were run into at a second tyre wall, my RPCC friends Zoey Jenks and Sinead Jeavons accompanied me over a couple of cargo nets and through some very muddy ditches, and finally a second pretty awesome and much needed hug from race director Sean McNamee at the final wall before the finish.

All in all I was so delighted to see that finish line, I had enjoyed myself, but I had found it tough, and a lot less enjoyable running alone than I had the year before running it with friends. A day on and I’m aching all over, and not sure that any race is worth the lack of mobility I’m suffering though today but turns out I did managed 12th place lady which i’m pretty pleased with and I had a great day, therefore I have decided that although¬†I will certainly do more OCR’s in the future now, it won’t be¬†on the scale of the past few years.

RPCC finishers super selfie
RPCC finishers super selfie

June has ultimately finished how it had started, over eating, and over drinking, and feeling a bit un-fit, but I’m giving myself a mental shake today, I’m stronger than my demons, and I’m pulling it back in July… So far I’ve got a calendar full of social engagements and no races, but I’m going to sort that out and start making an effort to eat clean, at least in between all the socialising, as in one months time I would like to head into August feeling fit, not fat… watch this space!

Falling out of Love – My OCR Rant

Should I write this, shouldn’t I write this? Meh, I’m bored so here is my two pennies for what they are worth… for a while now I’ve been feeling less and less love for my favourite hobby, and it seems I may not be the only one.

To start with, one of the reasons I love OCR is how friendly it is (was?), and for someone like me who can be shy and awkward when meeting new people it’s been lovely, the amount of support I got from relative strangers back in 2014 when I was fundraising was both amazing¬†and humbling, but all I seem to see on social media now is bickering and moaning. I long ago unfollowed the OCR groups I’m a member of, as I got fed up of it clogging up my news feed, but I dip in now and again to see what’s going on, and over the past few months, on several groups, in amongst the “what watch/shoes/socks should I buy” posts and the “this isn’t OCR but…” posts it all seems to be doom and gloom and arguments, moaning about races “I signed up three years ago and now I don’t fancy it and I can’t believe I’m not entitled to a refund 1 day before the race, its an outrage” Moaning about the cost of a race – well it is next week and prices do go up, that’s pretty standard!

Worst of all though are the seemingly personal attacks against groups of people, I’m talking about the “people who skip any obstacles should burn in a pit of hell and get out of my way” posts, the “Why don’t you just do a road run if you don’t want to climb a rope” posts, the “They shouldn’t get a medal as they missed the last monkey bar, I’d be EMBARRASSED to take it if it were me…” posts. What a load of rubbish, you are not a failure if you can’t climb a rope, you are a hero for trying anyway! Now I’m not talking about blatant cheating here, running past things for a better time, but I have a whole long list of things I can’t do, does this mean I shouldn’t go at all? I can’t climb a rope, but I will try every single time, I can’t do the monkey bars, but I am ¬†perfecting a “swing and drop” technique and will happily take any penalty then dished out to me. Does this mean I should be excluded from the other 5, 10, 15km of the race and just put on my road trainers? I could go on with a list of things I can’t do, but you know what I can do? I can get over a high wall, if I get some help, despite a sometimes crippling fear of heights, I have found I can do a rope traverse, I can crawl, I can do a cargo net, even if its wobbly and I’m nearly crying when I finally get to the bottom, I can swim, I can wade, I can carry, I can run, I can haul my substantial ass out of endless muddy ditches with a smile on my face! And yet, despite all my cans, there are people out there who can make you feel like you have no place there at all, and it has felt lately the emphasis is strongly about what people can’t do rather than what they can.

In the midst of all this came some announcements about the UK championships and suddenly its world war 3 in the OCR world, as far as I can see it goes like this: announcement, arguments, counter arguments, new announcements, more arguments, and repeat! Now I have found myself agreeing with some comments from one side, and other comments from the other, and I’m staying firmly on the fence, personally I don’t care about qualifying but I understand that people do, I think that healthy debate can be helpful and move things forward, but what’s been awful is the increasingly personal attacks by some people. Now I’m a big girl perfectly capable of scrolling on past the posts I don’t want to read without getting my knickers in a twist, but this has been pretty hard to miss! It’s sucking the fun right out, and I’ve also seen a lot of statues echoing that sentiment so I don’t think it’s just me. Chill out people, this is an expensive hobby if you are not enjoying it, it’s supposed to be FUN! What I have also seen is that the reasoned arguments are actually listened¬†to and acted upon, but before this can be done (things can take time) there is an awful lot of mud slinging first (poor pun intended).

So along with all this are some more personal things all muddled up in there, some small fitness niggles, one big personal drama, more small niggles and I’ve been left feeling unfit with self confidence at an all time low, so I go to a race to try and build myself back up but I have a bit of a mixed experience (not down to the race itself which if I think about without an emotional head on, was really rather good). First I was completely snubbed by someone who was a friend of mine (not a random “we are facebook friends” friend, someone I’ve run with in the past), then I made the fatal mistake of picking a race where I would be running by myself, rather than signing up with others, on the positive side though I ended up near enough to a couple of people I know that although running alone I had a lot of support where I needed it (on the high walls namely) and when it came to getting down off a high obstacle in the event village I was encouraged by some other people I know who hadn’t gone out to run yet, and who’s support vaguely pierced the fog of my mini panic attack enough to help me get down. So the friendliness I mentioned at the start is still there, but I feel it’s being masked by moaning, I’ve even seen arguments break out on social media over the price of a f-ing burger!!

With all of this and other bits I’ve forgotten (I had a whole lot of ranty rants to include on here in my head as I stomped off to training last night half way through writing this, but by the time I was done sweating it all out and laughing I was feeling quite blissed out, got to love an endorphin, and now I can’t remember what I wanted to moan about, and this is good) I have decided to give OCR a miss for a few months, I’m going to road and trail run instead (and yes I did choose JD as one of my trail runs, which could be argued falls under the OCR umbrella, but I love JD events, so sue me!). I will really miss some of the people I probably won’t see for a long time now, the ones who look genuinely pleased to see me as they come at me with a big hug when I turn up at a race, but I’m done feeling dejected because I can only get half-way across the monkey bars, wondering what it is I’ve done to upset someone enough to block me and cut me out without any explanation, feeling unhappy running alone which didn’t used to bother me much, worrying how I’ll manage and weather there are people silently (on not so silently) judging me when I can’t. I’ve already said, it’s an expensive hobby if you are not enjoying it (especially when you recklessly quit your job and are living off your rapidly dwindling savings) so, I’m out! Maybe not forever, maybe not for long, or maybe to never again swing on a rope, right now, I just don’t know! So there it is, there’s my rant, well done for getting to the end of it, much love to the people who love and support me, here’s to the future and to my hope that this is just a break, not a permanent split.