Little Runner Gal

Running, eating, sleeping and all the bits in between

The Dirty Double

on November 10, 2013

After a long, hideous week at work I could have done with a lazy weekend. The old me would have had a couple of lie ins and some sofa time. But instead I was looking forward to a weekend of running, of course!

Saturday morning was a training session for the Brutal event that my cousin and I are taking part in next Saturday. The Brutal 10 is a 10k natural obstacle course off road. So with the driving rain and winds we’ve been having we knew this was going to be a muddy one…and we weren’t wrong!

Even with the layers, waterproofs and headgear I was soaked to the skin before we left the car park, but I couldn’t get any wetter, so that was a bonus! Beth and I set off with the 30 or so other ‘Brutaleers’ through the mud, puddles, up hills, up more hills, through waist deep water, up more hills and through more mud. And just as we thought we were done, we were sent through some more water to do push ups, sit ups and mountain climbers in marsh grass!! Brutaleers

It was a good laugh and for a free training event it was a fantastic run. Most of all it was great to be running with my cousin again, and great to be doing some more off road running. With all the marathon training the roads can get a bit tedious, so I’d really recommend mixing it up with something different. My calves weren’t thanking me after all the hills and water though. Brutal Training

So the sensible thing to do was obviously to take part in my first Cross country event for my running club the day after!!

In contrast, the weather was glorious. Cold with clear blue skies and an abundance of sunshine. A group of us travelled to Windsor together for the first of the Thames Valley series of Cross Country runs this winter. I had no idea what to expect, so it was good to chat on the way about what would happen. Reaching the site we saw our team flag and headed over to the rest of the group. Our club had a really good turn out, being that it’s only our second season and the first of the series. At that moment I felt really proud to be with this group of people. The ‘real runner’ feeling came back to me…in my head I think it’s definitely a ‘club’ thing. We posed for club photos and moved to the start line for the Remembrance Day silence. WVR Shortly after, the starter shouted GO and we were off!

I hadn’t prepared myself for how muddy the route would be (first error!) or how much my calves were still suffering from yesterday (second error….oh, there are more!) but I kept a good pace round the first field and along the water’s edge. I could see various members of our team bobbing off in the distance and I felt another wave of pride to be in with such a good bunch.

The course got sloppier and my trainers were caked in mud and grass. It felt like I was running in 10lb shoes at one point! Luckily I’ve shaken off any ounce of girliness I ever had when it comes to running, and I knew running through the huge puddles would clean my shoes…a key lesson learnt from Brutal training. About half way through the almost 6 miles course I realised I hadn’t warmed up at all (third and daftest error)! In the excitement, uncertainty and desire to keep my layers on for as long as possible (it was about 5 or 6 decrees Celsius) I’d done about half a stretch. I wouldn’t be making the mistake again but there was nothing I could do about it now so I had to ignore my burning claves, screaming at me for the abuse I was giving them, yet again, and carry on.

A steady stream of people ahead of me in multi-coloured vests, I was keeping up with the masses in single file along the tracks. As we reached the final mile the tow path became familiar and I knew the end wasn’t far. I’d kept a bit in the bag to try and bust out a sprint around the final field, and managed it! Crossing the finish line, lungs and calves burning, it was great to be greeted by team members and cheer the rest of them in.

We’re still waiting for the results but I’m really pleased with my efforts. I ran at an average pace of 8’33” per mile, which is about 45-50 seconds per mile quicker than my average. Proving that I really can push myself at these events if I try….well we’ve all got a competitive streak when it comes to it, haven’t we!

Great weekend of running with some fantastic people. The running community really are a great bunch. I’m looking forward to the Brutal 10 next Saturday and the next of the Thames Valley XC series the following Sunday. Meanwhile my calves have politely requested some flat training runs this week!

So now I’m off to wash my trainers…I know, the glamour! Soggy and muddy but they serve me well! Trainers

Hope you’ve enjoyed a lovely weekend too.



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