I’m not a major fan of obstacle runs.
But it was nice to sign up to another event where I could also travel down to see my cousin. We’d done the Zombie run together a couple of years ago and the Spartan Run was in exactly the same place. So, we got to catch up, I got to meet her boyfriend and we all got to do an obstacle run together.
I was (and still am) carrying somewhat of an injury. It’s a strange one. The pain appears to be in my left calf and I also seem to have some patellofemoral pain, more commonly known as runner’s knee. However, I’ve been telling my osteopath that I have crunchy knee…I believe that’s the technical term anyway. I’ve also been having some physio so I’ve been visiting the wonderful Kathryn (http://www.kathrynosbornesporttherapy.co.uk/) to try to get myself in some sort of shape for the next few events (Vale of York Half Marathon, English Half Marathon and Chester Marathon). The pain is manageable to a degree. Once I’m a couple of miles in to a run any pain I have disappears so it’s just a case of getting to the bottom of the situation. It looks like it’s a hip flexor and/or IT band issue so I’ve been doing a few exercises and gym work to try to stretch and build muscle to strengthen the areas. My training plan went out of the window at week 12 because of the injury and I’ve been doing what I can when I can and cross training in the meantime.
The main reason I’m so focused to get through the next few events is down to my fund-raising for MIND. (http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=StevenClaringbold). A few years back I had a few issues which could have led me down a dark road. Depression affects a lot of people differently and the work MIND (http://www.mind.org.uk/) does is invaluable in helping people get back on track. Of course it’s not just depression that MIND deals with, they deal with a whole range of mental health issues. Running for MIND is a very personal thing for me and I hope I can raise the £250 target that I’ve set myself.
So anyway, back to the Spartan Run. I travelled down on the Saturday and stayed at The Arora Gatwick Hotel, which is actually in Crawley. The hotel was amazing and so easy as there was an entrance to the hotel as soon as I stepped off the train at Crawley station. So I hung around and watched the Everton match (losing 6-3 to Chelsea, it was a great back and forth match but Everton never really recovered from an early 2 goal deficit). I then went for a lovely meal with Donna and her boyfriend Stephen before heading back to the hotel to try to get my head down. It was an early 6am start to get some breakfast in me and then get down to Pippingford Park for around 8:45.
When I got up the next morning my phone buzzed at around 6:30ish and I’d received a text off my mate that read:
“Spartans! Ready your breakfast and eat hearty… For tonight, we dine in hell!”
We were in the 10am heat in what I originally thought was a 10k run. It turned out that it was a 13k plus run (just over 8 miles). One thing was for sure; we were going to get wet and muddy.
The calf and knee didn’t feel too bad. I was taped up but I knew it would probably not last very long with the water, mud and crawling about I was going to endure.
On arrival at Pippingford Park we did our stretching and then the usual back and forth to the toilet and then we took our places on the start line. There was the usual rigmarole that goes hand in hand with these events. One man stands on something large (usually a jeep) and then shouts about how we are going to endure something that will push our limits. We were then told that if we failed to do an obstacle we would have to do 30 burpees as a punishment. Then we did a little warm up and we were off.
AROO!!! AROO!!! AROO!!!
It was a little bit of trail running followed by dips in some water and then we hit the muddy trenches. On the first trench I hit the top and then went to slide down the other side. I came off at an angle and hit my hip on a rock. OUCH!!! That was gonna hurt in the morning. I probably won’t get the obstacles in the right order but at some point we had to crawl through a tunnel topped with barbed wire, swing from monkey bars, jump over fences, jump over walls, carry boulders, drag tyres, flip tyres, carry munitions cases, carry water carriers full of water, carrying sacks, carry logs through water, climb up ropes, pull a weight attached to a rope to the top of a structure and back down again, roll through a section of barbed wire, throw a spear into a haystack, swing from rope to rope, climb up to the top of a structure and then back down the other side and then run and jump through fire. There were loads more obstacles but some of them have just fallen from memory. That was including all the running up and down hill and wading through water.
It was a great little obstacle race and we all stuck together and had great camaraderie throughout.
Finishing in a total of 2:46:21.
Not the quickest I’ve ever ran but this was all about enjoying it and getting to the finish line.
It was all about first class on the way home and catching up with how the DH Runners had gotten on at the local Cross Border Challenge 10k.
It was great to catch up with my cousin and to get a different sort of run in as well. Now it was all about rehabbing for the Vale of York Half Marathon the weekend after.