Saturday, 14 February 2015

2014 The Year of the Spartan for Jemma

2014 Was a Big Year- The Year of the Spartan Trifecta

Sometimes in life you have to 'Take the Bull by the horns' to achieve something. Our journey into 2014 began in September 2013 at the Yorkshire Spartan Sprint. We'd never done anything quite like it before. A run/ race with obstacles to really challenge the body and mind. We had entered as part of Jemma's drive to get herself fit and lose weight and it was a real achievement for her to get through it from being hardly able to run 6 months prior to being able to walk/ hobble/ run the course and then tackle the obstacles. As soon as we'd finished Jemma's words were "I want to do the Spartan Trifecta next year". She's never been one to settle for where she's currently at.

Spartan Race Yorkshire 2013- Ellington Banks Ripon
So we started working out what Jemma needed to be able to do from that point onwards to achieve her Trifecta.

Jemma- Ready for the Edinburgh Spartan Race 2014

Jemma's 2014 Events

February 2014- The Beast Run (Melton Mowbray)
A 5 or 10 mile muddy cross country run at the fantastic Aylesford Cross Country course featuring a selection of water jumps and wades as well as lots of cross country fences. Jemma completed the 5 mile option after tripping on one of the later fences on lap one and deciding not to take a risk for he remaining 5 miles

May 2014- Tough Mudder Midlands with Jelly Fitness
A real test with a 12+ mile course featuring lots of running and Tough Mudder's famous obstacles like Funky Monkey and Arctic Enema.

Starting with a group of around 15 runners from Jelly Fitness Jemma forged ahead with a group of 6 but was suffering by the end with the long distance although she'd always said that Tough Mudder would be a warm up to the Spartan Race series and that it would be a learning race in terms of teamwork and distance. The distance got to her in the end between miles 8-9.

After blacking out on Electric Eel and having real issues with Electroshock Therapy (below) Jemma doesn't see any event with electrocution as the way forward for her with exception to manning up for Tough Guy at some point which has to be on everyone's OCR bucket list.

No more eletrocution for Jemma- Except maybe Tough Guy in future. 

August 2014- Sherwood Pines Trail 10km. 1:02:08
First ever 10km running race and a solid effort despite cold and extremely wet conditions but a great test before Spartan Race series to show running fitness level.

August 2014 Spartan London Sprint and Super
This was the big one we had been preparing for and we would be lying if we said we weren't nervous. An early Saturday morning drive down to Pippinford for a 1PM wave with the pair of us starting together and the intention to run our own races. Getting into a good rhythm Jemma started positively but an unfortunate slip mid way through the race meant she turned her ankle. Whilst she gathered herself together she hobbled on to finish the Super. 
After a night of painkillers and ice packs the ankle was strapped up for support and Jemma pushed herself through to the finish. A tough effort and deserving of the beer at the finish line.
30/08/2014 Pippinford Sprint 1:51:40 329th Female
31/08/2014 Pippinford Super 3:32:39 538th Female

Jemma happy to finish the 2014 London Spartan Sprint
September 2014 Spartan Sprint Cambridge, Edinburgh and Yorkshire

Cambridge Spartan Sprint

When we received the email about the course from Spartan UK Jemma knew someone was trying to test her.  "Shit we need to SWIM" was the whatsapp message that came to my phone. 
Having never been a confident swimmer it filled her with dread but at the same time she was determined that she would get through- and she did.

Her ankle had begun to heal and dropping back to a shorter distance provided some relief. But the anticipation of having to swim was always going to take her well out of her comfort zone. But that's what Spartans do!

Nailing the Chia Charge Hercules Hoist at Cambridge Spartan Race 2014

With a relatively short course at 5km compared to the previous weekend Jemma took the main aspects of the race in her stride in the comfort that she had a good idea now what was going to be thrown at us. The course itself was dry and easy to negotiate as a result making it ideal for newcomers to obstacle racing with the exception for some of the swim. I wonder how many Spartans had a version of exercise Tourette's during those swims. 

Having struggled to pick up an Atlas Stone the previous weekend Jemma was pleased to be handed one at Cambridge  meaning all she needed to do was carry it five metres forwards and back. Job done and confidence enhanced as a result.

07/09/2014 Cambridge Spartan Sprint 1:00:22 48th Female

How many other racers suffered "exercise Tourettes"? Fuck, fuck, fuck.....
Edinburgh Spartan Sprint

Why drive 5+ hours up to Edinburgh for a race when you can make a nice long weekend of it. So on the Friday morning we headed up for a relaxing couple of days including a trip to Edinburgh Zoo (Now those hills would make an awesome event course for sadists) and some time up in Scotland's Capital city with the small matter of a Spartan Race event on the Sunday morning.

2014 Edinburgh Spartan Sprint

Edinburgh was arguably our favourite event of the season. Great venue and a fantastic course. Jemma's improvements were apparent when she managed to pick up an Atlas Stone (See the big smile below) and lifted the men's Hercules Hoist which meant she left Edinburgh with further heightened confidence levels.
These Atlas Stones are pretty light! Spartan Edinburgh 2014

Job done we headed off for a relaxing free trip to the Glenkinchie Distillery a few miles from the event venue for a tour before heading home.

21/09/2014 Edinburgh Spartan Sprint 1:14:34 102nd Female

Yorkshire Spartan Sprint 2014 

Her burgeoning confidence and having completed the 2013 edition Jemma was persuaded to step up to the Elite wave for the Yorkshire Sprint at Ellington Banks near Ripon. She'd been apprehensive at first but the promise that she would be able to find a position within the bunch and that she was capable of running in the elite wave based on her previous performances. It was a scenario she would never have envisaged months before and showcased just how much she had improved in the space of a year since her first Spartan Race in 2013. 

Getting muddy at Spartan Sprint York 2014

28/09/2014 Yorkshire Spartan Sprint 1:06:57 - 45th Female and Jemma's best overall event result of the Spartan season. 

October 2014 Spartan Beast

This was the big one. The Spartan Race events had been a challenge before now but with the tough hilly terrain of Pippinford Park and the additional hardship that the organisation put into place for a Beast we knew we would be in for a tough event. (We have since started calling it "Pussy" Mudder as Spartan Race is leagues above in difficulty as you can't simply walk round an obstacle at any Spartan Race with a penalty of 30 burpees)

We started late in the day having driven down from Nottingham and for this challenge we tackled it as a team. Myself carrying a hydration pack with sports drink, a selection of solid food like flapjacks and a good selection of sports gels. The idea was always to get Jemma to the finish line.

As expected the Beast was tough. It involved a lot of burpees and some real challenges. It took Jemma well out of her comfort zone but she fought all the way to the finish. Another swim was tackled in cold water and the weather planned it's part by alternating between sunshine and the occasional shower.

The Beast took racing to another level. A 1 mile tyre carry/ run, a half mile sandbag carry with dripping wet sandbags which felt like twice the weight they should be and what must have been a 400 metre crawl uphill under barbed wire. 

Having done a Sprint, Super and a Beast we achieved Jemma's 2014 target of the Spartan Trifecta. Aroo!

11/10/2014 Pippinford Spartan Beast 4:50:55 286th Female

Jemma and Liam finishing the 2014 Spartan Race London Beast
October 2014

A last minute invite up to No Ego's Mud Challenge on the edge of the Lake District from Muddy Race gave us the opportunity to try a different mud run. It was a great experience with far more obstacles than we had experienced at other events and it proved a good opportunity to 'wind-down' after the tough race the weekend before. It's well worth a trip if anyone gets the opportunity in future.

November 2014 The Winter Beast

Ending the year as we started at the winter edition of the Beast Run. It's a nice local event and one we're happy to support. It's never going to offer the built up obstacles of many events but we doubt there's an event out there that offers in excess of 40 obstacles per lap to really keep you on your toes. Having just eased back into training after a winter break Jemma completed the 5 mile course with a smile on her face ready to get back into the rigours of training for 2015's events. 

No comments:

Post a Comment