Saturday 22 October 2011

The Major menace (aka mud and sweat but no gears)

This really was a week of mud and sweat but no gears. Trained relatively hard this week but didn't use my bicycle once. Concentrated all my efforts on running.
Was great to go out for a jog with SJ and Cody at the start of the week. SJ had a lovely new pair of Mizuno kicks to try out (thanks Lin). Lin had also kindly bought me a new pair of Asics kicks too, but they have been returned due to wrong size issues (and will be swapped when correct size comes in). Anyways, this was a great run across the Studley fields, all off-road. We have nic-named this route the 'Handlebar' route because if you were to map the route out it looks like a pair of BMX bars. This route starts at the Studley fields and runs straight down to the river and across it. After the river crossing, the route leads to Studley Castle and returns back to the graveyard. Taking a left at the graveyard, several fields are ran through, a couple bridges crossed over until you follow the river back to the bridge by the Church, then head back to start. A lovely, perfect 5k off-road run.

So great was the Handlebar route that Cody, SJ and I repeated it again the following day. We ran the route this time at a higher intensity and hence quicker speed. SJ is very pleased with her new trainers, she says they have great grip and she loves them.

Cody and I repeated the Handlebar route for a third time in a row. I think this will become a regular route of ours as we train for SJ's marathon. For those that don't know, SJ is running the London 2012 marathon. Please sponsor her here:

All this Handlebar route training was considered good preparation for the event SJ and I completed on Saturday - the Major! The Major is a 10-12k race series, and this is what their website has to say 'The Major is all about character. It's not just a run. It's a major challenge. Smoke. Water. Mud. Obstacles. You mustn't let any of them stand in your way.'
SJ and I met up with 3 of her friends (Karen, Lindsay and Carolyn) at Weston Park in Shropshire, ready to take part in the Major's Midlands challenge. It was initially a cold day, but after a 15 minute warm up, we really were warmed up! Following the warm up, we were off. Over 200 folk competed in this event. SJ, friends and I started off at the back and we treated this event as a challenge and not a race. Within minutes we were wet as we had water crossings to conquer. Then we were muddy as we had to pass through bogs and marshes. Then we were out of puff as we had to run up big hills. Then we were exhausted as obstacles, like fallen tree's and giant hay bales had to be clambered over and under along with muddy netted areas to pass through. The whole challenge followed this patten. One bog was seriously boggy, as soon as it was entered we would drop as far down as our arm pits. A rope was provided to stop us drowning, but even so, SJ and I tasted enough of the stuff. (I found the temptation of pushing SJ a bit further in too difficult to bear). Just before the finish, the last obstacle was like a giant pond. I dived in here and swam across. Then SJ and I ran to the finish, hand in hand and completed the event in 1 hour and 22 minutes. Woo hoo! Karen, Lindsay and Carolyn were right behind and we had great fun completing this event as a team. Though we started out last, by no means did we finish last!
Weekly totals: Ran 15.8 miles.

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