Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Our Adventure at the Rat Race Dirty Weekend 2015

Jemma and Liam hit the Rat Race Dirty Weekend 2015

The Rat Race season continues for us and this is the second race we have done. Jemma as eager as ever was keen to see just what the main Dirty Weekend event would be like and for Liam it was a case of joining up with the marshaling team for a free weekend.

Jemma at the Dirty Weekend. Ready to be a #ratracer
We also dragged good friend Mark along for the weekend too.

Mark generally looks like this all the time!

For Jemma, she signed up for the "Full Mucker" 20 miles to make this as much of a challenge as possible.  After having been putting in steady longer runs and getting up to 16 miles in training she knew the last half of the race would be hard but if she had to run, walk, run, crawl to finish she was determined it was what she was going to do. 

The start to the weekend was positive as got the tent pitched and camping stuff into it before the rain came down. 
Tent up and getting unpacked for the Dirty Weekend 2015

As a warm up Friday night we had a record attempt for the most people in their underpants in one place.  Followed by a brief jog around a short circuit.  On finishing we got a treat of a free half pint of craft larger.  We found out the next day we didn't beat the record but was a jolly good laugh.
Jemma during the Dirty Undies world record attempt

Jemma's Dirty Weekend- A Tough 20 miles

The next morning I had a lot of waiting to do as was in wave 13 with my season ticket unable to change waves so got lot of waiting after seeing Liam off to go and do his Marshall duties.  Which I found he would be placed around Mile 4 mark and when looped back round mile 13 so had back ups for any gels if I needed them.

Jemma just a little dirty after mile 4 and ready for a refreshing dip in Burleigh House lake.
I noted from watching the earlier waved there was a serious bottle neck for the 1st lot of hay bale steps so knew needed to push myself a bit more than hoped to needed to at the beginning so wouldn't get stuck.  This is exactly what I did and found a comfortable pace till we got to the first wooded section where the nettles had by this point been battered back making a nice route for us to get through a very muddy stream  and subsequent army crawls through a lots of mud. Thankfully we didn't have to carry this mud for long as I got to the point where I saw Liam (4.5 miles in on the River Rat race section) and was told I was making good time which gave me a boost as I made my way across the river section. 

I finally started to get warm again as I came to the Water Wipe-Out section. This area was tough and it didn't help I had a terrible fitting water jacket which didn't do much for me. It basically came over my shoulders making swimming hard and as I struggled through this section a guy helped me through it getting me onto pontoons and through inflated doughnuts and the swim sections were getting to me the water was cold and all energy I had suddenly disappeared. It  wasn't until the end of this section I found that this guy was a scuba diver instructor named Neil. I know I'd have suffered a lot more without Neil's help and if he reads this I'd like to say a great big Thank You.

After getting out of the cold water and getting myself moving again I have to admit I have never seen so many people suffering cramps. (And we weren't even half way yet!) 

Getting warm was the main thing I needed to do now and carry on having a few gels to get my energy up. I got myself going again and was thankful for some running sections and the sun to help me dry out. We then got to a 4x4 section and I've never seen such a back log of people for the tyre wall up and over. This type of wall climbing I am nervous of and the amount of mud now on the tyres and sheer number of people meant that I decided to go past that and the next traverse up a large wall to avoid some of the queues and getting cold again. It was disappointing but I have issues with big heights and believe I'd likely have frozen at the top. I did manage to scale a tough 10ft wall after that. It had wooden foot holes to assist and was then onto more running.

I got through the next construction section without many problems apart from some more bottleneck. Over the next few sections I was making good distance but not as fast as I had hoped. Water Wipe-Out had really sapped my energy and had taken its toll. 

At mile 11 I met up with Becki both of us was starting to flag slightly and when asking her if she was doing the full mucker she was questioning whether to carry on. I reasoned that she would be gutted if she didn't finish the job off and even if its walk, crawl, walk she could do it. She even finished with split trousers!

By the time I got to the Men's Health are I was starting to get pains all down my hips side of my knee to calves but that didn't stop me helping others getting up. I was even shocked that I managed to push a large guy up a wall myself with not much effort. Becki and I's progress by this point was a case of run walk run walk and get excited over the markers to finish (15 miles, Yay!). 

My biggest worry was the Final Furlong section and I was getting concerned that I wasn't getting up and over the steps. As we came up to the first section I could hear both Liam and Mark shouting us and Becki pointed out her other half too. After having a serious moment of worry whether my legs could get me over these steps Liam had helped me and Becki up the first lot of steps and with help of Marshal's and other runners we were now at the top though now getting down would be tricky. The big 10 ft drop to the bottom was scary although with Liam at the bottom again and Becki's other half assisting we managed to get through and run through the 20 mile finish line together. 

What 20 miles of the Dirty Weekend looks like. 
This was the longest event I have done and there is much I can improve on. My hatred of water was the start of my downfall. I am not a strong swimmer and never really had an interest in swimming.  This showed through.

The more I run and for longer my running form will get better.  I know have improved vastly from Tough Mudder last year but still have a lot to improve on. Particularly upper body strength which seriously needs attention as I've attempted monkey bars and failed every one up to now.

Overall the obstacles of the Dirty Weekend I enjoyed the going in and out of cars, the Farmer Giles section (lots of hay bales to jump) , and the woodland construction areas were really good too.  There were few area which saw a lot of bottlenecks where we were queueing for a long time and that detracted from the event in a small way. This wasn't good especially after the water areas where you was starting to get cold and start to suffer.

Starting to feel human again post race with a beer in the tent
With the Obstacle race over with I was ready for that post race beer and getting warm.  The premium camping was a godsend warm showers which thankfully was about empty about time I got to them.  It certainly beats the cold hose you generally get at most races if you're lucky. 

Though the atmosphere for the after party was amazing with no heating in the the main tent what I put myself through I couldn't get and keep warm so in un-Glastonbury style we retired to bed early after a few disappointing numbers from Ash who sounded like they've spent the last few years in a call-centre- Not making music! Mark informed us next morning that Craig Charles' set later on had sounded good from the distance we were but I was dead to the world that night!

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