Why - because today was my 'half-way' point in my training. I chose the HellRunner event as my 'I can run a half-marathon' challenge ...
- I knew it would be tough,
- I knew it would really push me
- I knew it would hurt
So, what's it all about? Well HellRunner is 10-12 miles of rather extreme Trail running over grass, ruts, tracks, rivers, sand and MUD - I cannot over emphasise the mud (see below for 'Bog of Doom').
Before heading out I made sure I had all the running gear set-up and a complete change of clothing into the 'as warm as I can find' section of the wardrobe - I also had the pleasure of my wife Helen and friend Nick's company for the day - they took lots of photos, cheered me on and helped me change at the end of the race as the cold hit me rather hard.
When we arrived we were in the 'cheap' (non-VIP) parking, so the first thing that greeted me was the remains of the previous day ...
|I do hope he/she got home alright|
Then as we walked up the hill the 'Bog of Doom' made it's appearance - it was huge and covered in ice (not the most inspiring).
|Even the sharks were not going in the water it was that cold|
|Bring it on (says Gerald)|
After much swearing I made it to the starting area where killed time with warm-ups and general gorilla-ness. Don't worry there was no chance I was doing he event as a gorilla, but anything to raise interest in my run next year (I have no shame).
|Another Gorilla sighting|
A lot of charity racers were there, with many runners supporting CLIC and a great chat with Katie who was running to support BLISS as she said 'two of her children were premature, and the charity helped her - this is her way of helping them' - which was really nice.
The lead-up to the race felt like the build up on a Roller Coaster ... once you're on it and buckled in - there's no turning back.
5...4...3...2...1 - BANG .... off we go (mmm that smoke was so yummie for the first mile) - it started off as a normal run (almost ParkRun style) .... and then after a few Km the crazy hills started ... 'I should never use the internet when drunk' was the line I heard from one guy as he tried to rationalise why he was running today.
Repeat the 'Hills, ruts, sand' pattern for a while and you get the idea.
About 2 miles from the end was the 'Bog of Doom' ... now the real 'Fun' begins ...
Ok - so I saw a skull and went all Luvvie - what do you expect?
... we all piled into the 'flippin' freezing mud, and plodded on.
I must confess I was the one to start the chant of:
'BOGGIE BOGGIE BOGGIE'
Then after that madness, up a hill (or two) then over a river twice (there and back again) into a giant sandpit which looked like a part-time motor-cross track and then finally back onto the path and back in ...
Did I mention COLD ..... ? to show how deep the mud was check out the 'plimsoll line'.
|Shoulder deep in the Bog of Eternal Stench|
Once I finished (about 1:50 for the race) Helen & Nick caught up with me as I managed about three word sentences due to the fact I was core cold.; they helped me change into the warm clothes and fed me warm coffee until I stopped shivering - Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You, it really helped me return to normal (whatever that is). Then a bite to eat and head back home to 'Wash that Bog right out of my hair' and play hunt the blister plaster.
Now, a few hours later I feel elated that I managed to complete this event - and I now feel that my training is really paying off, and am not scared of taking on a half-marathon ... just not tomorrow.