Dirty weekends

Warning – if you’ve come to this post on the basis of the title expecting a *particular* kind of content you may be disappointed.

I haven’t really run more than a couple of miles at a time since May. Mainly due to my hip taking a really long time to heal up but also because I’ve been busy doing other kinds of training. But since my hip is now pretty much better and I’m thinking about a spring half marathon next year I thought it was about time to lace up the trainers and get back to the running.

To ease myself back in again I’ve taken part in two completely different types of events over the last two weekends. Different but with a similar outcome –  I got very very dirty!

Last Saturday saw me take part in the 5K Run or Dye at Excel in London Docklands. Billed as the most colourful event on the planet the 5K course had a number of dye stations on route where we runners had different coloured dyes thrown on us as we ran. I had mixed feelings on my way to the event bright and early on a Saturday morning. I was hoping for a carnival of colour but was slightly concerned that I’d paid a reasonable amount of money to get up very very early on a Saturday to just get covered in paint.

The reality was somewhere in between. Having met Mollie, Bethan and Tessa at the DLR stop we made our way to pick up our race packs. As well as a white T-shirt and temporary tattoo we were also given two bags of dye each. Once we’d all changed into our race tops the fun began as we chucked the paint around and got suitably covered in colour. I’m not going to deny that it was pretty fun.

Once the run started I was a bit disappointed if I’m honest. I’d expected music and atmosphere as well as the advertised dye stations but what we got in reality was a 5K run around the Excel with a couple of areas where volunteers chucked paint over us. I don’t know why but I’d expected paint cannons and sound systems –  a party of paint. The reality was people scooping handfuls of dye and chucking them in our faces. It was a laugh overall but I couldn’t help feeling a bit ‘was that it then?’ and I don’t know that I’d pay to do it again.

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Yesterday Buckley’s Battalion re-formed to take on the Major Series South in Tunbridge Wells. The team made up of Julia’s fat loss clients was a of a different line up to last year but the team spirit and camaraderie were just as strong as we made our way around the 10K cross country course.

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It took us nearly three hours to complete the course which included mud, muddy water, bogs, ice pits, electric fences, barbed wire, mud, more mud and just when you thought you couldn’t get any more dirty a bit more mud thrown in for good measure. Teammates were essential to lend a hand getting out of ditches or freeing people who had literally got stuck in the mud.

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The atmosphere here was brilliant – friend or stranger if you saw someone in need of a push or a pull that’s what happened.  There was a fair bit of queuing for some of the obstacles but no-one seemed to care – it wasn’t the sort of event you ran for time – it was all about the taking part and getting round as a team. Oh and the mud.

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This was always going to be a bit of a test for me. 5K is one thing but 10K of hilly cross country on no real running training is somewhat more of a challenge. My hip behaved itself impeccably but my calves had other ideas and at just over halfway I started to get cramps. It was pretty frustrating but I kept going, walking when I needed to stretch them out. It meant that I started lagging behind the rest of the team a bit but in true Battalion style someone was always there with me making sure I was OK and the team stopped and waited for us back markers to catch up at regular intervals.

I’ve got to be honest and admit that I was glad once we’d finished – happy to have done it but a wake up call that my running fitness is pretty much shot to bits and needs to be built back up again. If I’m serious about doing Tough Mudder next year I will need to get this sorted!

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Of my two dirty weekends the mud won hands down, even if I did go home with some bruises and scrapes alongside my dog tag style medal and loads of mud. There’s something about getting absolutely soaked to the skin and covered in mud that I really quite enjoy!

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