I managed to combine a weekend of catching up with family with racing – what a great weekend! In that time I also managed to visit the bench which was put up at Pinner Golf Club for my dad, it looks great, he would have loved it!
The race I had excitedly signed up for at the last minute – a week prior – was that being run by my former coach Michael Cohen of Team Wild Forest Gym. It was the first of the Mudstacle Sprint Series: Wild Forest Gym Jam Sprint Mudstacle Series at the new location of Brentwood – Nuclear Races location.
It was an early start to the day – 415am to be precise but I hoped it was going to be worth it. Michael was distracted by lots of things to do on the way over to the race location and I was, underneath my tiredness, excited to see the location. The weather was perfect for the day, as I walked into the forest where the gym was, I knew immediately it had Michael’s feel to it, you simply knew it was his creation and embodied how he trained his team within a natural environment.
I headed for a kip in the van while in the backgound I was trying to ignore all the voices and cars arriving, but it wasn’t happening. There was a real buzz in the air as I headed back to the sign-in area to get ready. Racers catching up and having a look around. I had had a wee walk around the route and found some of the obstacles challenging and was worried about them, others I knew how I would attack them.
We were taken around the course by the WFG team, Caine encouraged us round at a decent pace and we were left to play on the obstacles. Its the only way to describe it, racing what you love and enjoy can only be described as play! It wasn’t long before we had to head over to the start line but we were all too keen. The heats were going out 2 mins apart, this means that my heat had approximately 30 minutes to wait, in the coolness of the forest it was in fact chilly!
I was keen to get going, , I didnt know many folks so had no idea of how it would progress. Of we went winding and weaving around the forest trails, up and over the fallen trees. It was a packed sprint course, not suited toward my own abilities in terms of distance, a very short 2.3km BUT packed with obstacles which were very dominnant on challenging the upper body. Obstacles included a tyre wall, slatted wall, a log and 2 x tyre carry, ‘hang tough’ which was my very first ring swing – have to say loved this part. Monkey bars with a twist, a ledged obstacle. Now this was my toughest obstacle and one I hadn’t been able to do on my own run through. I am fairly short, many of the obstacles really challenge us shorties just getting onto them, but I will conquer them with my fitness. And you know what?
I did, every single time in the heats I qualified for, which unfortuantely was only the quarter finals but I am happy with this given my training status and the incredibly high quality racers at the event. But I have to also give credit to the young marshall at this obstacle, she was incredibly motivational and supportive, never letting you give up! We also had to conquer a 7 metre rope, now this was b***dy high! I worked so so hard to get to the top of this and gutted but I failed each time! I was so tired each time I failed I managed to walk away with 2 impressive inner thigh rope burns something I have always avoided in the past. Unfortunately my failure meant I had to complete my 10 then 20 burpees. The final and fun obstacle was the Nuclear races quarter pipe, again, one I had never come across. I was admittedly nervous of this one but it was great and then a short run to the finish line.
After the first heat I was gubbed, oh god this made qualifying for the next heat nerve wracking as I knew my forearms were already on fire which meant the next heat was going to be even harder. Recovery during the interim period was tough.
This event was exciting and soooo new, never taken part in an event of this type with repeated qualifying heats and the very nature of a very short race. I loved the difference of pace, highlighting a large number of key fitness weaknesses which I was disappointed at but couldnt really same anything as I haven’t been training as hard choosing to prioritise my work with clients over my own fitness.
A very well done to the winners and I am so glad to have had the opportunity to take part in this first event and alongside so mnay top quality racers. Not only that I managed to finally meet Bethany from the WFG squad and catch up with the guys Caine, Mark and Michael!