Monday, 4 November 2013

Super Spartans

On the 6th of October, my sister Laura, best friend Amee, husband Chris and I journeyed out to the Brisbane ranges to run our second Spartan race this year. This will add a pretty blue medal to our red one! It also means we have finished 2 thirds of our trifecta! That was really exciting! And I had missed obstacle racing, since the last one was our true grit course back in May! It was a long time coming for a good mud run!

Of course we first started with some healthy omelettes for breakfast and chopped some orange wedges for our post race pick-me-up.
When we arrived, we were shivering as we walked to the course. Not quite sure if it was shivering from the cold or sheer adrenaline pumping as we approached 14km of torture!
As you can see on the map to the right, we had good reason to. Plenty of mud, sweat and tears (well, for me at the end). We hit a lot of walls, all different heights of 4ft, 5ft, 6ft, 7ft and the big 8 footer!
Among the walls we had huge creek runs through thick mud, water and squishy creek beds. It was treacherous because you would be running along and suddenly become thigh deep in thick mud because you have stepped in a ditch! As you can see in some of the pictures, we had a bit of fun in the mud. Amee lost her shoe in one pit when she jumped in!

While we trekked up and down the rolling hills we balanced over beams, pulled ourselves up walls of mud, climbed ropes, dragged concrete blocks, carried sandbags and all in 5 hours of work!

The picture of this hill just did not do it justice. It was epic, as we approached it our jaws dropped and our hearts pounded. It was just massive.
The picture below gives you an idea of how vertical it is, people have to basically crawl up it! It was really, really tough!

Laura conquered the 8ft wall all on her own!
 I smashed the Hercules hoist! We had to hoist up a 20kg kettle bell to the top of the rope which was maybe 4-5 metres high. I was happy with how easy I found it!

We crawled across cargo nets, slid down muddy hills, even swam through the mud at the bottom of these hills! There was a surprise dead lift challenge where females had to lift a 35kg dead ball and males had to lift a 55kg dead ball. By 2 thirds of the way through the course I was so tired and weak I couldn't even squat down and roll it over my knees to TRY and lift it! It was impossible to do! And so many people copped burpees for it!

Unfortunately I begun to fatigue quite early, my muscles were already sore from running around the CBD of Melbourne the day prior doing the amazing race! I could barely jog any of the flat ground, I felt like my muscles were bruised each time I bounced! I struggled about halfway through the 14km. I was cold and tired and just wanted to push through to finish.

All up I wasn't surprised with the burpees I had to do for missed obstacles. I missed the rope climb, monkey bars, spear throw, dead ball carry and the traverse wall.
Finally, we jumped the fire pit and tackled the gladiators for a spectacular finale!

Was it all worth it in the end? Hell yes!

Can't wait til we get to the 21km to complete our trifecta in Sydney!!!


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

True Grit in the South Australian desert

True Grit: A military inspired 12km obstacle course set out in the desert of South Australia.

The time has finally come! We set off on our road trip to Mildura after the four of us had worked all day (crazy, I know). After a long drive and only just shy of midnight, we got into our jammies and make-shift bedding because yours truly forgot to take bedding for the girls, we got into bed for a good night sleep because D-day.
We got up super early to set off once again to get across the border to the South Australian desert where our 12 km race awaited. It was amazing how the landscape changed to arid, dry looking rolling red hills with dry grasses and emus! 
By the time we arrived, we were about 10 minutes before our race wave started. And then, by the time we parked the car and got out of the car we heard our wave being called... and the cheering was clear evidence that they kicked off without us. We ran to sign in and found out we were ok to start with the next wave. Without even having time to have a drink or void our bladder we lined up at the start, took a quick happy snap of the group, flames fired and we were off! With a short run through the bush and jumping over tree stumps we approached our first big obstacle which was an A-frame cargo net. We all did so well, despite a couple of the group having a fear of heights. We all supported them and cheered them on til the entire group made it over, and off we were through the bush again. Another cargo net was waiting for us next. This time it was free-standing, roped between two trees. It was shorter but more difficult because it moved so much while each person tried to pull themselves up. Again, we all made it over with a bit of help from eachother pulling it tight to make it a bit easier for us who struggled more.
The third obstacle was the rope traverse. I found this so much harder than I ever though (I knew it was going to be tough but not so hard on my arms!). After already having wobbly arms from the cargo nets, by 2/3 of the way across the rope my arms felt like they had seized up and wouldnt bend or stretch any further! I unfortunately couldn't physically make myself go further, so I had to drop but I was proud of how far I had got. With wet, muddy feet I carried on, as I felt the squelch while I ran. It brought back such great memories of the Spartan race, I found myself excited to get muddy!
As we ran through the desert, over the sand dunes and through the vines of the Caudo Winery.

We climbed up rock ledges, ran over hay bales, crawled under nets and ran a lot! It felt like there was so much distance between obstacles. As exhausting as it became, none of us stopped once, we just kept moving, even if it was walking a lot of the time.

We jumped over fire pits and although the flames weren't very tall, it was blisteringly hot as you approached, then it hits you as you fly over them!

We carried huge wooden logs, climbed more sand dunes, scaled an 8 metre wall and ran through even more vines.
The second last obstacle was a long, thick, muddy creek we had to trapse through. In fine form, Mark decided to bomb into the mud and came out looking like a swamp monster with bright white teeth! The mud stunk, it was grey and thick and slippery. It was so hard to climb out of it.

To end it all, we slid down a slide into the cold Murray River as our last hoorah! It felt amazing to have accomplised the entire 12km. Comparing our 7km Spartan race done in 2 hours and 24 minutes, we expected 5 hours was not going to be such a long shot. Proud to say we finished the 12km in 3 hours and 15 minutes. We were so proud of ourselves for our time.

We got some fantastic video of the race, and total calories burnt were off the chart!

Now I am so excited to see how we can smash out our next 5km Greatest Athlete in July! Can't wait to do this one with my dad!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Group workout in beautiful sunny Melbourne

It marks the final efforts of 12 long and exasperating weeks of tough love. It was a balmy 13 degrees Saturday, overcast and the occassional shower or two. Amee, Loz, Laura, Chris and I headed out to Albert Park Stadium for our big group workout with Michelle Bridges.

As freezing as it was, by the time we got moving it was much much easier. Even though we didn't blast out the calories as we had all planned, we still managed to get out and enjoy our exercise in the cold and wet. This is something we would all struggle with normally.
I was so proud of our hard work. I noticed a difference in my fitness between this workout and the one back in February. I was able to put in more effort for more of the duration - whereas last time we went all out in the warm up and then drifted into the background and lagged for the rest. This time I worked hard the entire time and kept up the best I could - not always jumping or kicking as high as I could but always moving.
Look out Adelaide, here we come in 3 months for the next group workout!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

An amazing glow day!

So Saturday was such a busy busy day for me. Pack, Amazing Race and Glow Run.

In the morning I had to pack the big furniture in my house up, along with a whole heap of little things still laying around. We were moving back to mum and dad's that night!

At 11 we set off for the city to compete in the Amazing Race - Great pursuit. It was a 3 hour long race to the finish line to complete all the challenges and tasks set for us.
With a desperate scurry amongst 130 other couples for our clue sheet at the beginning we sat down together to figure out the clues and sort out of route for the afternoon.
First stop Birrurung Marr for a stamp, then onto Rod Laver Arena for some tennis! After getting a little lost and wasting vital energy running up and down a massive flight of stairs, we discovered our entrance to the tennis courts and had a small hit before heading over to the Fitzroy gardens for our "tasty treat".

As expected, we did get lost finding our destination in the gardens, again wasting time and energy but eventually found the group as we raced up the hill. Our tasty treat came in polystyrene cups... not exactly what we were expecting. 3 dead cockroaches was on the menu. Down I popped 2 with a mouthful of grape gatorade, reluctant to keep them down. It was scratchy on the way down, I didn't chew.

A quick sudoku found us with another stamp and with only 20 minutes to spare we raced across to the Melbourne Arts centre for our next stamp.

On the tram up to the Melbourne baths saw Amee and Lozzy bobbing for duckies in their clothes. Soaked but cooler, we ran to the old gaol for another stamp, down through China town for our next stamp and an answer to one of our clues, down to GPO for another answer and last stop Mr Larry Latrobe to count the studs on his collar. We had 15 minutes to spare and decided to take the time penalty instead of running for the last clue and wasting more time and energy. We had to conserve what we could for the run in the evening!

So we didnt win any prizes, nor did we place even close to the start. The winners finished just over an hour early! Meanwhile we touched down at the finish line 2 minutes early having not completed all our challenges!

We did get a stress ball each though! Makes it all worth it though, right?


Next on our agenda was the 5km Glow Run. I was a little nervous about this because I haven't actually ran 5km at once yet. On top of that it was going to be freezing outside and I don't like to exercise in the cold because it hurts my ears and my throat (yeah, I know. Suck it up princess, right?)

Luckily for my ears they gave us a terry-toweling head band which covered my delicate ears nicely. I had brought a bright pink, long-sleeved running top just incase I got frost-bite but didnt end up needing it. The adrenaline and excitement was the fuel for mine and Laura's fire! We were comfortable in the cold temperature in just our tshirts!

So Chris finally arrived and we spent a bit of time in the arena with the glowing and the DJ's and the dancing... then took our place at the start line. Oh how pretty it all looked, in all its glowing splendor! (as you can see to the left!)
There we so many people, so many glow sticks! I can't even begin to imagine how many glow sticks there were everywhere the next day! Even when we ran they already littered the path!

So we made it through the first wave of the first ever Glow Run in Australia. We were pretty chuffed!

As we ran, I couldnt wipe the smile off my face. Not only was I running with two of my favourite people in the world, but I was RUNNING! And enjoying it. I never even imagined I would be doing fun runs in my life. It was not something I even thought about. It was amazing to run with so many people, and it felt good! So many people ran past me, but a lot of them encouraged me if I slowed down. And every time you approached a volunteer, or even just a spectator, they'd high five you and cheer you on which pushed you to push harder! It was a great feeling.

And just having Laura and Chris there to push me on, but also for me to push them on was great too. Sometimes you FEEL like walking but then they tell you you can't so you don't!

As we approached Federation Square we could hear the music and see the lights again. All we had to do was weave our way up the ramp to Birrurung Marr and cross the finish line. I said "after this ramp we run the rest" and Laura said "No, we run the ramp and THEN run the rest". So thats what we did. Exhausted we weaved left, right, left up the ramp and then ran the last 500m to the finish line. We could see the brilliant bright lights, hear the music pumping, and at the finish was the MC for the night, egging us on as we chase down the party!

And here it is! The most amazing sight after running all over the city, approx 20km for the entire day, 2500 calories burnt and some fantastic memories. As I so often do, I teared up as I approached the huge finish line, with the crowd at the side cheering us through. We ran down the "catwalk" and entered the arena with pride. We had done it! What a day, so much accomplished, and I was on top of the world!!!

                    Chris and I before the race...   And then after, my usual red face on