Happiness personal trainer and fitness blogger in London, UK. Let me help you find a balance between work, life, fitness, food and run. This blog offers race reports, product reviews, free workouts, training updates and more.
Saturday, August 22, 2015
24 hours in a Spitfire Scramble Relay Race
Last weekend, I was lucky enough to be part of the UK Fitness Bloggers Spitfire Scramble relay team. There is so much to talk about in regards to the whole experience, so expect a few more blog posts on the topic. For now, here is a break down of the race, which takes place just over 24 hours.
7.30am: Carrying a load of stuff I leave my house, headed for Hornchurch County Park, which is just outside London in Essex.
9am: Arrive at campsite and meet my teammates who didn't go to a nearby Parkrun (as if what we were about to do wasn't going to be hard!).
11:30am: Race briefing from the organizers, followed by team meeting. James and Oldland arrive for a short visit as my first lap isn't until later in day. My team is very excited for the race to begin!
11:55am: One minute silence to honour RAF veterans.
1:09pm: Helen is back. Cassie sets off, and we are briefed on the course from Helen, who has been sunburned.
I sit around and eat continuously it seems.
6.30pm: Kat hands off to me and I set out on 5.9 mile route with a full tummy. (Note: Need to learn self control when it comes to having a full buffet of food sitting in front of me). It takes me just under an hour to run the course. I get back to the start/finish line and I hand off that baton (aka slap bracelet) to Andrew.
8.30pm: Head to bed as my next run is at 3.30am. I want to get up 2 hours ahead of time to fuel, use the loo, and wake up. I have trouble falling asleep because the rest of campsite is still buzzing after midnight. It is also so cold I am shivering in my sleeping bag* while trying to figure out how to use the hood without suffocating myself. Doze on and off
1.30am: I get up, use the now smelly port-a-loos and order a bacon and egg buttie. After walking back to camp, I also have a banana. No one else on my team is awake and it is still so cold out, I can almost see my breath. As I have such a long time before my run and no blanket to keep my legs warm, I go back to sleep for an hour.
3.30am: Kat returns to handover the baton after her 2 laps (half marathon) in the dark. I am worried 1) if I will be warm enough in just my leggings and a merino wool Icebreaker top, 2) how I will be able to see where I am going in the pitch black even though I have a head torch, and 3) if strangers will jump out of the bushes and attack me.
It is actually a relief that the stars are out and the woods are peacefully still. I see occasional walkers, most of whom are recovering solo runners. After the water station, I roll my ankle in a field and walk for a bit to make sure I am ok. It scared me more than anything else so after a minute I start running again but try to keep a light and eye on the path. Luckily, I have the Trespass Flasher head torch in my hand so I can direct it on the path in front of me.
The last mile is in the woods is incredibly dark as the head torch I bright from home has decided to fade (due to old battery) and I now have 0 depth perception. I again slow down and take it easy. When I return to the last bit around the campsite, I try to pick up pace but am met by undulating grounds which throws off my stride. I hand off to Andrew, have a baby wipe bath and go back to bed.
9.30am: I emerge from my tent and into the sunshine. My pillow was crap, I am still cold and camp started to stir hours ago,so I am not really well-rested. My legs feel surprisingly ok and I change back into the clothes from my first run. This was a t-shirt from Trespass (Recover Women's Quick Dry Active t-shirt), my BU lacrosse shorts, and Salomon trail shoes. I had hung these to dry overnight and they didn't smell too bad. The shirt was still soft and I found the zippered pocket a great place to stash a gel for emergencies. The day is starting to warm up so I reluctantly skip compression socks and get myself another buttie and banana.
On our first set of laps, we were a bit ahead from estimated finish times. However, night running plus a few mishaps (wrong turns, forgetting race bibs) slowed us down. We didn't know if there would be time for both Andrew and I to do our 3rd laps. We were on edge as each team member went out, recalculating estimated finish times in our heads.
10am: Andrew kindly offers to pace me for the last lap as an unofficial runner. Sabine is due back about 11am. If she is back by 11:05am, Andrew could probably run the lap fast enough to get me out on the course by midday cutoff. Sabine is limping a bit as she crosses the finish line at 11:10am. Andrew and I head off.
Midday we are in a cornfield as the Spitfire plane flies overhead. It is pretty cool to see it fly by.
12.05pm: My team (except Andrew as he is still wearing his timing chip) jump into the finishing pen and cross the finish line with me. I turn in my chip and proudly receive my medal which is shaped like an airplane. Race done!
I hope you enjoyed the look into what the racing part of the weekend was like. Lots of hurry up and waiting, and of course, eating.
Here is a breakdown of the 24+ hours by runner and lap. I am so proud of my team for being dedicated and amazing.
*On Monday, James and I looked up what the temperature was and it was only 16 degrees but I thought it felt much colder. James pointed out I am always cold in our heated bedroom with extra blankets so I should have known better and brought my RODS hoodie. Will post an amended packing list in a later post. Trespass kindly gave each of our team members a complimentary Flasher head torch and Dry Active t-shirt for review. All opinions are honest and my own.