Archive for : June, 2015

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First Time’s the Charm!

Our resident social media lover and general little helper, Sam recently took part in Cancer Research UK’s Pretty Muddy. She tells all about her first OCR experience and has a few tips for first-timers:

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Dudders Does The Fan Dance

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I headed down to the Fan Dance with Christie Wright from FFC Elite, Scott Seefeldt from Raw and Tom Littlewood from Mudstacle. I had no idea how to “run” this race as there are not that many people that can run up a mountain… then back down it along a bumpy bit of path to then turn around and run it all again backwards. The Fan Dance is run by ex military Special Forces. They set up the event in the remembrance of 3 men that died doing the course trying out for selection into the SAS, and have tried to keep the experience as close to the real deal as they can.

There are three different categories available to enter clean fatigue – you go with just yourself, load bearing where you carry 35Lbs or the biggy loadstone 45Lbs both of which consist of a specific military survival kit list. Scott was the only one of us brave enough to take on the Loadbearing challenge.  A few people had used weights to bring their bags up to weight for their categories and were told that this was a silly thing to do! The sensible thing would have been to of added water bottles for extra weight as in a survival situation this would help save a life. A reminder that this was a military event! It was a very respectful event too, with a few minutes silence to remember the men that died, and the event raising money for the charity. The briefing included that our number one priority was not time but each other. Anyone running for time that had stopped to help another person would have allowance made for. It gave you a nice sense of camaraderie and security even amongst strangers.

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The weather forecast has been for a scorcher of a day, but it turned out to be a windy and overcast day which I was quite thankful for. Saying that as it was a bit nippy and when faced with a bit of spare time between the briefing and start, Christie, Tom and I snuck back to the car to keep warm… and ended up missing the start!!

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Luckily it was wasn’t a sprint start, with it being pretty vertical and all, so we set off in pursuit of the pack.

The race itself was amazing, such a brilliant challenge. You can be fit and still not fit for this! The mountains are a different kettle of fish and I was doing this without any additional weight.

The start was incredible being out in such a wide open space, with rolling hills and everyone still very smiley and happily wishing you luck as you swapped position with each other.

We made it to the top of Pen Y Fan with a fantastic view and a quick photo in the wind in good time. Before I knew it we were off again I found running on the not-so-step-like stone steps very hard and technical, something that I had thought I wouldn’t find a problem. I therefore tried to keep to the grass track as much as I could. The descent was good fun though with Christie and I making wee and whiz noises all the way down like little kids- It was still easy to have fun even on such tough event. The wind was very strong almost a bit scary in places, as you could feel it pushing you around. I felt strong all the way to the half way point where we stopped and refuelled…

On the way back I was starting to feel it and when I got back to the base of Pen Y Fan, climbing back up was topping the list of my least favourite thing to have to do that day! As I neared the top I found out something that I had not noticed on my decent- this baby had a fake summit. Oh yes, I was nowhere near the top. I sat down in total protest and had a little sulk. One good thing about this place is it has the most breath-taking views, the kind that make you feel so small on their scale of things and can make you forget what ever pain you are in for that moment. After thinking about the fact there was only one way back which wasn’t on my arse (and the fact that I had the car keys!), I carried on feeling a little more optimistic from the fantastic view that I told myself would look even better from the top.

I also told myself this was the type of experience that I had been looking for, one that made me want to quit and one that wasn’t easy (Note to self no more bright ideas please!). By the time I made it to the top the look on the guy’s face said it all. I was a mess!! In these situation good banter is what you need and luckily that what this guy had!

There had been check points all the way along where you had to stop and give your number Each and everyone was very good at checking to make sure you were still ok and fit to carry on, but luckily this guy, the one I needed the most, had been the best!

One guy had been a bit concerned about me earlier on in the race when I couldn’t tell him what song I was listening too. It wasn’t because I was in trouble but simply outlined my lack of musical knowledge even in my own playlists. God knows what he would have thought of me if he saw me now.  At this point all I wanted was that finish line, but I was a little unsure of the route. I made it though and recognised the final hill which at the top of had the view of the finish line with Scott, Christie and Tom waiting for me and a well earned medal!

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I’m definitely coming back to do this event again. Whether or not I’ll do it with weight or try and beat my time I’m not sure of. One thing is for sure: I would not do this event with weights without some serious training beforehand. This may not be an OCR race but I’d recommend this race to anyone that wants to push themselves and have a challenge. It’s for a great cause, very friendly.

On a fitness side, it’s measurable: Simple but effective. There is no quitting but if you can’t keep pushing yourself hard any more it’s a pretty beautiful place to find yourself having a little rest watching the world go by and ambling back. Such great memories from this race, even the bad ones.