What a week it’s been. The training plan is going as best as it can though this week has been a sod ME-wise. The fatigue has been immense and I’ve been in a lot of pain. Just getting to work and concentrating on the job at hand uses everything I’ve got. By the time I get home, eat some food and make lunches for the following day it’s time for bed to try to recoup. Occasionally I get to see my lovely wife.
That aside, part of the old brain had been looking froward to the Nuclear Fallout Obstacle Race. It’s one of my favourite OCRs (Obstacle Course Races) as the obstacles are a fantastic mix, there are no stupid electric shocks, and the marshals are always friendly and helpful. I’ve certainty been to some races where the marshals are sullen and even non-existent.
As I’ve mentioned before having these races booked in really helps with my ME as it gives targets to aim for. If I didn’t do these I think I’d go downhill quickly as there’d be nothing to keep pushing toward.
So it was with great glee and a healthy dose of trepidation that I set off in the car to the Nuclear Fallout 12km race (officially this year closer to 13km). I have done it before but the route and obstacles change and improve each year. @TheNucleaRaces are really good at winding you up via social media too by posting snippets of new obstacles that’ll be waiting for you. Always good for getting the adrenalin going.
Parking was interesting as the car was sliding on the wet grass getting. I was worried about getting back out at the end but it was fine.
It was then a quick walk with a brolly cos of heavy rain to register, get my timing chip and my race number penned on to my forehead (1710 this time). Nothing can be as bad as when I was number 69!!! Boy did I get some comments on that one!
I went back to the car to get the last layers on, along with my knee and elbow pads; and my trusty gloves. Then back to the event village to join the enormous queue for the bag drop. All I had was my car keys but it was the same queue. After that it was a quick warm up and ready for the off.
The start was as epic as ever with a massive explosion (enough to set off a car alarm somewhere close). As ever 30 yards from the start you get shoved through a couple of good muddy ditches to get your trainers good and wet for the rest of the race.
The rest of the race was the then great mix of slippery and muddy running across fields and through woodland with obstacles including wooden walls, ditch climbs, monkey bars, swims, the death slide, zip line, log climbs, crawls, and this time a great upside down cargo net (this was suspended so you had to climb under the net by hanging on to it and not hitting the water underneath, very technical) Hard to describe, once the official photos are out I’ll try to find a good shot of it and add this to this blog. A few places, unfortunately because I caught up to the slower people in previous waves, the queues at some of the obstacles were large. Not only is this a tad annoying as I was going for a time this time, but it also means you get cold waiting for your turn. Luckily it was only at a few places.
The Quarry obstacle is always tough where you zigzag up and down very steep quarry slopes. This wears already tired legs out and feels relentless. Finally you come out on the the finishing field for the last three obstacles; a nice little cargo net climb and mud crawl, then on to my favourite which is the run up the quarter pipe. Straight up it as ever (what a legend) as I’ve now got the knack of this as an obstacle. I’ve done the Tough Mudder Everest quarter pipe solo and it’s much bigger that this Nuclear one. Then the last obstacle, The Weaver, was a new one and really cunning. Lot’s of horizontal bars rising up and then down in front of you. You had to climb on to the first bar and then weave yourself under and over the consecutive ones without touching the floor. Really enjoyed it as it took some thinking and agility to manage it. Whoever thought of that one has a clever mind. More of those please.
As usual I was shockingly bad on anything that involved monkey bars and hanging rings. Hard enough normally but with slippery and muddy hands my hat goes off to anyone who manages all those. I always give them a go but will generally fall off at some point.
It was good to see my friend Nat Pledger near the finish. He was doing the 6km route with a group of friends.
After all that it was a quick drive home, a bowl of warming soup and a warm up in the bath.
The official results are now in. I came 32nd out of 1464 runners. Sooo chuffed. Even better I came 8th in my Male Veteran class (though being classed as a veteran is just rude!) Official time was 1:51:29.
Thanks to Louise Neville for my training plan and support. This was a small step toward my Rat Race Adventure Sports Coast to Coast race next September but I felt stronger than I ever have and was able to keep running at all times despite the mud (albeit slowly in places). I’ve always had to walk sections before. I went in to Fallout wanting to race it for a change rather than just get round so I am really pleased with my placing. Problem is I want to go again now to see if I can beat that time. I’ll never win a race overall but I’d love to win in my old codgers class.