Thursday, September 26, 2013

Yorkshire Tough Mudder 2013

 Yorkshire Tough Mudder 2013

The wall we climbed to GET to the start!
My game face

My "OMG, what am I doing?!" face
Clean and smiling :-) I kept smiling, but definitely did not stay clean long
    The Yorkshire Tough Mudder was a blast! I won’t do a blow by blow of each obstacle, since you can easily Google images and descriptions for each one, but I will say that, despite the difficulty of some of them, the hardest part was the mental aspects of talking myself into continuing on when I was cold, wet, exhausted, and spent.
Ice being added to the water for Arctic Enema,
the second obstacle of the morning

My "OMG that was cold!" face

  I know it sounds crazy to voluntarily put yourself though something like this, but it is one of the many ways to test your metal in a non-threatening, and fun atmosphere! Knowing you can quit at any time and be picked up and driven to the finish (minus the t-shirt and head band,) give you a safety net that can be good and bad. Good because if you truly can’t go on, you have an exit, but bad because you have any easy way to quit.

    Even though I was a lone runner, I had plenty of help when I needed it and everyone was wonderful. That being said, I don’t know that I will do it again alone. Listening to the banter of the teams made me feel a bit lonely at times, wishing I had a team of my own, but it is tough to get involved when you register from half a world away! I was invited to join a couple of teams, but they had very different start times. So nice of them to invite me though :-)
Another lone runner that I teamed up with for the "Buddy Carry"
Yes, I carried this guy piggy-back for a good 25 yards!

  As for doing a Tough Mudder with RA, I won’t lie to you, it was not easy. Cold makes my joints ache and I spent a lot of time in icy water. Plus, I was covered in bruises by then end. Bruised elbows from pulling myself along on them through pipes, bruised knees and thighs from climbing over walls, and other assorted bruises that I can’t even guess the origin. I don’t know how it could all have been worth it, but it absolutely was. I supposed proving to myself that RA does not stop me from joining in on the fun stuff is the big draw. I like scaring myself with new challenges and some of the obstacles were definitely scary!  I have not jumped off a high dive in years and I have certainly never pulled myself along a horizontal fence with just inches between it and muddy water!  I only really failed at one obstacle, the monkey bars. I was just too cold, numb, and tired to grip the bars and hold myself up, so I fell off the second rung and swam across. Hey, at least I tried! I also only made it to about the second block on the one where there are floating squares, strung across water on a rope. It did not occur to me to climb back up and try again, probably because I was so shocked when I went straight in the water and never touched the bottom, with a huge rush of mud up my sinuses.

  How this company makes being totally miserable so much fun is beyond me, but they have definitely found a gold mine! While I’m at it, I should point out that my husband, who is specializes in logistics in the Air Force, said it was incredibly well organized and operated, and he is a tough guy to impress!

Getting zapped

Finished at last!

"You are the first woman across the finish line"

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Northumberland Coast Marathon, UK

Northumberland Coast Marathon
      The minute we found out we were moving to England, I started looking for marathons. In my search, I managed to stumble across the Northumberland Coast Marathon, which was a small club race put on by The Northeast Marathon Club. The race was billed as the most scenic in England and was capped at 100 runners. I signed up immediately since the fee was small and I was afraid it would fill up. It was a smart move since it definitely filled up quickly.
     This was my first trail marathon and since my mileage had been paltry at best during the move from South Korea to England I didn't have high hopes, but I figured I could finish inside the 6 hour cut off.
     I won’t type much about the race, I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves:

The start and finish area

3 - 2 - 1 GO!
All 72 of us :-)

It was a muddy start

Down the first of many beaches

Dunstan Castle 

The ridges in the sand were deep and brutal, I turned my ankle on every step

     I don't have any finish line photos since my husband was in the pub enjoying a pint (phone reception was terrible so he missed my 1 mile out text.) It was a fabulous race though, and it truly was one of the most beautiful races I have ever run. I’m so glad I didn't blow it off when my training had shriveled so badly. Despite the terrain and poor preparation, I managed a 5:15 finish so I had maintained at least a little of my conditioning.

  Also in the area is the Alnwick Castle where several movies have been filmed, including the scenes where Harry Potter learns to ride his broom. We decided to have a go at it ourselves.
Pick up your broom...

  It was a wonderful introduction to England and running through the English country side. I can't wait for my next trail marathon, Anglesey at Holyhead in January! In the mean time, I have several road races planned and next up is my Tough Mudder race report!