January 24th, 2015 saw me compete in my very first Obstacle Course Race (OCR) – the Brutal10 Women’s only 5K.
I had signed up a few months before with Hayley from Simply Hayley as it was for her birthday, but as the time got nearer I was panicking that there was no way I could do it. I was chickening out, big time – and it was easy to as I was possibly going to have to drive there on my own.
Then Hayley said there was a space for me in her dads car. I accepted and knew there was no way I could back out now!
On the Thursday before I checked with Hayley what I needed to wear and what I needed to take. Having never competed in a race before, let alone a OCR, I had no idea what I had to bring along. Thankfully Hayley is a pro and sent me a list.
There were a few things on the list that I didn’t have, like base layers and trail shoes – so I quickly hopped online and bought myself some from Sports Direct and paying the extra shipping to get them delivered the following day.
I could quite easily have just worn my old running trainers, but with the weather being so cold and icy, I knew that everything would be extra wet and slippy. Add in hills, and I just didn’t want to risk losing my footing, so I thought trail shoes would be a more sensible idea as they have thicker souls for gripping.
I didn’t sleep particularly well on the Friday night. I kept waking and panicking that I had missed my alarm go off!
Soon enough it was time to get up. I had to be at Hayley’s for 7:55am and I needed to stop off beforehand to get some water and snacks for after (jelly babies to be exact!).
At around 7:20am I was dressed, armed with my cup of black coffee and headed out the door to brace the cold!
The Brutal10K was at an army training ground in Longcross, Aldershot.
Once we arrived, we met up with the other girls that were doing it with us, and we went off to registration where we received our numbers and chip timers, which we wore on our wrist. It was then just a case of waiting until we could set off at 10:00am.
The waiting around was nerve-wracking. It was so cold and I felt sick to my stomach. I had no idea what was to confront me on the course. I knew there was going to be water and mud, but no idea how much or how steep the hills would be.
It was soon time to arm Hayley with her chicken hat (which she donned for charity) and her GoPro to film the race. We then set off to complete the warm up – which was a good work out in itself!
Then we were off. We started with a bit of running. There were a few little puddles to start with. We took the approach that it was best to just go straight through them. We were going to get wet anyway, so may as well start as we mean to go on.
The mud came next – and lots of it.
It really wasn’t as bad as I was expecting.
Then we hit a hill.
We ran up. And up. And up.
Then up again.
I heard screaming from the other side.
Then we saw it! The huge mud puddle at the bottom.
There was no way to go round it. You had to go through it.
Hayley handed me her GoPro and asked if I would film her going through.
So I did.
Then I got my foot stuck.
Flat on my face in to the pile of mud!
I tried to get up and got stuck again.
And fell again!
I gave up and crawled out of the mud.
Then I laughed!
Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one who fell – and the mud bath was quickly followed by a rather long walk in a stream about knee height!
More water, mud and hills followed.
It was hard work.
There was a succession of water to go through and it got to the stage where I couldn’t even feel the coldness on my legs anymore. They were just numb to it.
Then the heaviness on my legs began to set it and I had to give it my all to not stop moving. I knew if I were to stop moving then I would get colder more quickly.
We finally knew we were reaching the end because spectators starting appearing and cheering everyone on. That really helped – to be told what a great job you were doing. It gave you that bit of encouragement to carry on.
We had stuck together as a team of 9 throughout the race and we decided to cross the finish line as a team of 9.
We did a little conga through the last puddle, then we made a line, joined hands and ran! We ran to the finish line giving it all we could, with all we had left!
We completed the race in 1hr 14 minutes.
It was such an amazing experience. Yes, it was hard work, but do you have to be super fit to do it? No way! There were ladies of all shapes, sizes and ages taking part.
With something like this, you have to go in to it as just being a bit of fun. It’s not a race. You need to be able to laugh – a lot!
It also helps to have support. I really don’t know if I would have made it through without Hayley and the girls there.
Would I do it again? You bet I would!
If you would like to take a look at our footage from the day, then here is Hayley’s GoPro video…. you may even get to see the footage I filmed as I fell flat in the mud 🙂