TL;DR: It was cold. It was windy. We wore gladiator dresses. Don’t repeat our mistake. 🙂
TIME TO READ: 5mins
This is the first of a two-part blog post of the Spartan Windsor weekend I did on October 6 and 7. There’s some very important lessons to learn from our mistakes at the Spartan Beast that I feel it would be better to write separately about the Spartan Super which we ran the next day.
Anyways, onto the report! 🕺🏻
TOP 5 LESSONS LEARNED:
- If the forecast is for cold (13C) and rain, don’t wear gladiator dresses to the race.
- Foil blankets pack next to nothing. Stash one away, even if you’re just wearing fancy dress. You never know when you’ll need one.
- Listen to your gut. I had a feeling I should bring an extra layer and my waterproof jacket before I left the house. But I did not.
- Cheering people on keeps you surprisingly warm. So do squats.
- If you’re at a carry obstacle, don’t just take the sandbag/log/bucket from someone else. Wait for them to drop it on the ground because someone’s foot could be in perilous danger. (Same goes if you’re the one returning from a carry).
- Date: October 6, 2018
- Venue: Rapley Farm, Bagshot, U.K.
- Official time: 5h 13min
- Distance: 15mi / 24km
- Elevation: 1055ft
- Obstacles: Plenty. And doing all of this in a dress.
Gummies and sweets at the aid stations.
- The gladiator dress of suffering and hypothermia. Lesson learned.
- The bog that devours all. I would have drowned in at least one of them, but I am quite tiny.
- Running with my dream team – always different when you race with friends.
- The cold and rain, which taught us a lesson or two about underestimating the weather (classic).
- As per usual, I didn’t have my dryrobe when I needed it the most. *Regrets all over the place.*
- The log carry which almost doomed my foot.
- Amazing race staff (Dom) who handed us foil blankets.
- The volunteers- they encouraged us to keep going!
- Saw some of my favourite faces in the OCR world and met new people (yay, new friends to drag to races! :D). Never underestimate the importance of a familiar face in a tough race.
I wasn’t actually planning on doing Windsor this year, but I got talked into doing it. I figured since I’ve done a Spartan Beast before, I could do it again.
I haven’t been training for OCRs in the last few months and had been really focused on running long distance instead. So that was my first mistake, turning up to the race unprepared, training-wise.
The second mistake came in the form of a gladiator dress, which I have mentioned plenty of times in this blog post. In my first Spartan race of this season, which was a few weeks or so ago in Scotland, I raced with my friend Agata (go check her out on Instagram, and her account of this race here), and we both wore gladiator dresses. Which really added to the fun to be honest, and at the time it was fairly appropriate for the weather.
Unfortunately, the same could not be said for Windsor. It was too cold, and it rained incessantly.
As for the race itself, I think if I hadn’t felt like I was going hypothermic I’d have enjoyed the race (proved by the Super on the next day). I ran with Agata and my Spartan-in-crime Andre, who I had met in Spartan Race Greece last year. We flew through the first part of the race, running through an amazing trail that wound through fields and forests. There were definitely dips in the bog, but it was part of the fun. We even ran parts of the first sandbag carry, though to be fair that sandbag was fairly light compared to the killer sandbag carry towards the end.
I’m surprised to admit that my favourite obstacles for this race were the walls. I was pretty chuffed I could climb them myself, though I needed some assist coming down (broken ankle anyone?!). Least favourite obstacle was the log carry. It was long route, the log was pretty heavy, and towards the end another runner tried to take the log from me, couldn’t take the weight and dropped it on my foot…. DON’T DO THIS, PEOPLE!!
Around halfway through the race, Agata’s knee acted up, so we all ended up walking most of the way. It got even harder to keep warm, so every now and then I sprinted ahead, cheering/dancing/doing squats and whatever I could to try and keep warm. I knew I could keep running and finish the race, and at one point I was genuinely torn between staying or running because it got too cold. But I figured the finish wasn’t too far out, and I wouldn’t want to be left behind were I in her place; I have been before, though I was running solo and it wasn’t a great place to be.
There came a point where the volunteers looked at us and just told us to skip the obstacles and keep going to stay warm. You know it’s pretty bad when that happens. Luckily, we came across one of the staff who kindly handed us foil blankets and may have just saved us from DNF.
Towards the finish, we had to make our way up a slip wall. The volunteers relentlessly encouraged us to at least try. By this point, I’d been burrito running with the foil blanket though it wasn’t keeping me warm as much anymore. So I braced myself, decided to face this slip wall and miraculously managed to come through. I was genuinely surprised, despite frozen hands (frozen everything, to be fair), I was able to climb up and over. Thank you, race volunteers! Adrenaline shot up over being able to beat this obstacle given the circumstances, and we legged it to the finish.
We threw our layers on, huddled around a fire in the festival and danced to keep warm. There were burgers sold in the venue so we had a snack before the big dinner back at our accommodation.
Dinner was yum.
OCR races to me are always such a social event, and Windsor did not fail in that respect. I had an amazing time with my friends, and met lots of new people, some of whom I only knew through Instagram. It was great to see lots of familiar faces as well; OCRs are almost always like a reunion!
Ran with my dream team, though we helped (and were helped) by others on course.
Savanna Cider was giving away shades, buffs and ponchos at the venue so I helped myself :D.
Thank you for reading!