There’s no escaping Dirty Weekend at the minute.
There’s two weeks to go, in fact in two weeks we will be nearly there. Every day there is a teaser on Facebook about what we can expect and how the obstacles are going to bigger and more challenging than before. At this point I expect a repeat of ‘mile 19.5‘ is a pretty certain occurrence. There are some obstacles that make me feel marginally queasy.
This time last year I had just signed up and was more worried about travelling down and spending the weekend with three blokes I had met twice. Turns out that bit, as well as everything else about the weekend was fine. More than fine. It was utterly incredible.
Dirty Weekend 2016 was the highlight weekend of my year. Hands down. It beats the podium at Bear Grylls, it beats Total Warrior, and it beats Spartan Beast. I worried that nothing would ever compare to it and I was right – nothing has.
Dirty Weekend in my eyes is exactly what OCR is about. Yes you can win it, and some of the best racers in the world will descend on Burghley House in two weeks and try and do just that. Hell I actually think I’m travelling down with a at least two people who will make the top 10, one of my friends is running the damn thing twice! There are some badass racers gravitating towards that start line. Cut the bullshit – It’s a hard race, it’s 20 miles and 200 obstacles. I wrote last year that it is a race that deserves respect and training and I stand by those statements with unmoved conviction. This is not something be sniffed at. Dirty Weekend puts on one of the greatest races, and also one of the greatest after parties, on earth.
But it’s the best. I have stories and memories from last year that will never fade. Lee, who started off as a somewhat stranger at mile 1 is now one of my closest friends. You do not come through the fires of this race together and not have a bond.
Since last year I’ve run a lot of miles. A lot. I’ve raced a lot of races. The training for Dirty Weekend has been at the forefront of my mind for a while now, since before Deerstalker even. I have become more familiar with hills than I am comfortable with, my long runs have stretched to nearly 20 miles and I have reacquainted myself with a squat rack in order to pack on the strength and power gains I know I will need to come through this unscathed. I am a better athlete (haha athlete) than I was last year. I know I am ready for this race. Last year, I just winged the whole damn thing. I’m quite determined you see. I won’t ever quit and well my theory is I can always walk it.
So what’s the game plan for this year then?
Well I’m 100% more prepared. I know what’s coming for a start. This time last year the farthest I had ever run was 10 miles. And I’d done that twice.
I’m 100% more ‘ready’ to race this event. I’m faster, my endurance is better, and I’ve gotten over my utter hatred of water slides. I’m not even frightened of ‘that’ cargo net anymore. Not yet anyway.
So surely the game plan is different? Nope.
The plan for Dirty Weekend is the same as it was last year – to enjoy it.
There is sooo much emphasis on ‘racing’. Sooo much emphasis on top female this and top male that. Social media is full of PBs and trophies and medals and…not every race can be like that. And for me, the race that isn’t a race, the race that is there to be enjoyed and treasured and to cements itself into memories and stories and friendships is Dirty Weekend.
I’d like to beat my time from last year. But only because I want to wear my GoPro this year and it’s only got 4 hours of battery.
I say a lot “Och I’m not here to race, I don’t care where I finish”. 99% of the time it’s bullshit. Course I care. Who doesn’t? My biggest worry standing on most start lines is that I’ll either finish completely last or at least last out of my team. No-one else might even notice, but I notice. They’re called races for a reason.
So I actually cannot wait for Dirty Weekend. I am buzzing for it. The walls, and the trenches and the mile long water section – bring it on.
My only goal for Dirty Weekend is to bring back as many stories and memories as I did last year. Which probably wont be hard. Lee and I are travelling together, we’re sharing a hotel room again. There are a whole bunch of people coming with us that haven’t ever done it before. I’m excited to see their faces after, to hear the “god that was incredible” escape from their lips. I can’t wait for the achey, I think my calfs have fallen off feeling. I can’t wait for the bruises and the 4500 calorie deficit.
Dirty Weekend isn’t just a race. It is the race. Whether it takes you 3 hours or 8 hours, you will come away a different racer.
For this is living, not merely existing.
See you soon Rat Race, this Dirty Mucker cannot wait to get started.