Standing at registration today I wasn’t overly sure what to expect. I missed the last Trailtroopers event due to #3 being poorly (ironically she’s also quite unwell this weekend – thanks for the babysitting Mum)
I also wasn’t sure what I was going to be capable of today, I’ve rested all week and was in two minds as to whether I was going to ‘beast’ it or not. But I was there with the Hell Fit Crew running under the Race Fitness banner again so having a nice easy old time wasn’t really going to feature. The team today were incredible, there were a few missing due to injury, but the 9 of us that were there can hold our own against the mud mostly.
Within 100 yards of the start we were in the water, giving us a sense quite quickly of how the course was going to play out. Also within the first 100 yards I realised the nausea that plagued me at Total Warrior last weekend was back. And ‘beating it’ went out the window very quickly. Originally we were meant to run a 12km course but due to some last minute issues this was changed to two laps of the 6km course which was actually nice in the end because come the second lap we knew what was coming and how to pace ourselves. The only issue of the day was when we climbed the first hill and were presented with our first carry. Except there were only 10 cones in the pile, which were already in use. So we had to wait. INFURIATING doesn’t even come close. If you were looking to set a good time this was very quickly being eaten into by the wait for a returning cone. After this small hiccup though the race was excellent (albeit slightly sparse on the marshalling front).
Onwards we went to a series of gates and fences and the obligatory hay bail obstacle and then we started to climb. My legs and stomach were already complaining by this point and I was at the back of the other three girls there. I fought the whole way against a horrible feeling of nausea every time I tried to run at my normal pace, and is something I’m really going to have to push through each race I fear. At the top of the hill however, after a pretty muddy river wade was a log carry. Love a carry! It was muddy and challenging but enjoyable in a way that Spartan wasn’t. Because it wasn’t long enough to render you useless but the natural obstacles made it that wee bit harder to navigate. It was all downhill after the log carry, which was also nice, there were excellent sections of trail running with the odd crawl and barbed wire duck thrown in for good measure. At the bottom of the hill we were presented with a tyre pull and then it was onward into more water, a tyre flip, some hurdles and a kettlebell pull. Again, the obstacles were challenging but not enough to make you hate life (I was just hating the hell that was going on in my stomach). The final stretch consisted of a wall, a crawl and an A frame and then we were back at the start. Ding dong round two.
I ran lap two with Kirsty, who is part of the Hell Fit lot but not someone I’ve raced with before. Tina and Abby had beasted off in front but K and I were roughly the same pace so we stuck together. We made the decision that we’d not get overtaken by any females on this lap in order to hold position and in fact we didn’t get taken by anyone, although at that point we were oblivious as to where we were position wise. The second lap was much muddier but also really enjoyable. It was nice knowing what was coming and how far we had to go. The second traverse rope brought on some serious cramp in Kirsty’s legs and we stopped to stretch her out but the end was in the sight.
Just one small matter of the giant water slide to over come first. Not. My. Favourite. It was steep. And I had a falter at the top. However, Abby and the others were at the bottom shouting lovely words of encouragement (get down that f***ing slide NOW Sarah type thing) so down I went (survived) over the final wall and then it was done.
And we were in the Top 10! All of us. Jamie (Abby’s very rapid other half) had absolutely smashed it in a 1hr 18 time and had claimed second place. Tina had found a second wind and had claimed 4th female with Abby, Kirsty and myself coming in consecutively behind her. Paul (who was celebrating his first ever OCR today) finished in the top 20 overall. At 6’3″ and 100kg (give or take) he doesn’t look like your typical ‘fast runner’. He’s more the ‘built like a solid wall’ type of guy so this was pretty much the icing on the cake for us (and him. He’s got the bug now). His slightly shell shocked beam of ‘that was amazing when can we do it again’ was enough clarification that today was not a disappointing event. We’re a team who love it when we all do well, whether that’s as a solo effort or as a group and we couldn’t have had a better day today, although we were equally as gutted for Craig who had to retire after 6km due to a dodgy hamstring.
So all in all a good day at the office. Trailtroopers delivered on distance, difficulty and on obstacles. It was sort of like Spartan’s nicer, less sadistic cousin in a way. It was enjoyable but challenging enough that I had to scrub the mud from pretty much everywhere m when I got into the shower.
Event #20 – Done. Onward to 21 with slightly tiring legs but determination still intact 🙂