Not A Good Day At The Office
After a solid weekend at Spartan I went into Ram Run with high hopes of a good performance. I had recovered well and was raring to go.
Lining up against some strong competitors I was in confident mood with the plan of taking the first of the two 8KM laps steady then pushing on. As it turned out I did go steady on lap one but it felt a lot harder than it should of done.
Right from the off I was struggling. I felt heavy legged and tight armed. I tried not to worry about this and hoped that I would improve as the race went on but that never really happened.
Eddie Whetton took up the early pace and I some how found myself in 2nd. Unlike most OCR’s there were lots of obstacles early on in this one so I put my lack of energy down to the fact that I was having to exert myself a lot sooner than usual.
We soon reached the water where Jason Brunnock, someone I’ve had several close races with in the past, came alongside me and then overtook. After a pretty long wade I was back on dry land and tried to give chase but I felt like I had nothing in the tank. A succession of hills followed which didn’t help my tiredness. Jason took the lead and pulled away but Eddie was still within catching distance.
After lots of varied wall climbs and many surprisingly energy sapping hurdle jumps we reached Ram Run’s piece de resistance, ‘The Bridge of Despair’. On the approaching swim I managed to draw close with Eddie before climbing the rope that lead to the bridge itself. This obstacle was once awarded the UK’s toughest by the sport’s leading media source Mudstacle and it’s easy to see why. I did the hard bit then struggled to clambered through the bridge’s supporting structure to begin running again. That allowed Eddie to gain back all the lead I’d closed down but I certainly wasn’t giving up yet.
Next up we entered the woods and with several cut backs I was able to see that I was right back in contention for 2nd spot. A long hill drag followed and although I wasn’t by any means up to my normal speed I was finally beginning to feel a little better.
Running alongside the lake I got level with Eddie at which point he told me he was stopping at the end of the first lap. As I passed him with the knowledge that the leader Jason had said at the start that he was also only likely to do one lap with the OCR World Champs next weekend in mind the win suddenly opened up for me but there was still a long way to go and a lot could still change as I was about to find out.
It was time for the challenge of the Cliff Lakes permanent course section. This was a gauntlet of technical obstacles which elaborated to me that today just wasn’t going to be me day. As I swag across the long line of hanging rings I began to feel faint. I had to take a moment before moving on to the flying monkey bars then another before the rope traverse as my head began to pound. I felt horrid going across the bar slide and as I went up the inverted monkey bars my arms started to burn and my fingers tighten.
My grip strength was fading fast as I laboured through some more hanging rings and another set on monkey bars. Then came the final section of this intense and testing set up in the form on some V shaped bars that you had to clamber down, go under the bottom and climb back up. As I reached close to the end my energy levels were now at zero and I couldn’t hold on a single second longer. Although this was a very tough series of obstacles I know on almost any other day I would have been able to cope with it a lot better but it wasn’t any other day so I had 10 burpees to do before progressing on the the final few hundred meters of the lap.
I still had another small water crossing to negotiate, some more walls and a weaver but I managed to muster up some strength to complete them all before the final run and jump over the hay bale to signify the half way point.
Eddie had now stopped but Jason, how was flying, had carried on meaning I was still in 2nd place. I started lap two but in all honestly didn’t have a whole lot of desire to finish it and the combination of the chasing pack closing in, my body seemingly shutting down on me and then cramp setting in resulted in me calling it a day mid way through the rig at roughly 9KM. I wasn’t going to gain anything from carrying on and was in danger of causing myself some damage.
I can’t really put my finger on anything in particular that caused the way I felt and I know I’m in good shape from my efforts the previous weekend. I hadn’t done anything differently to normal so I think I’ll just have to put this one down to being one of those days. As competitive athletes we have good ones and bad ones and luckily I’ve had a lot more good days so I’m not going to dwell on this one, just hope it remains a rarity.