#62 Cheltenham Challenge: Mud vs Hills

MuddyFeet - Web

Why sandals?.

Overview

Event Type: Multi-terrain
Route: Easy to follow markers (although I did miss a couple due to lack of concentration) with a large hill feature and on this occasion some wonderful mud.
Time limit: 9 hours
Weather: 17 degrees C
Goody Bag: Finishers medal; t-shirt and thankfully no plastic bag!
Check Points: @Every 5km
Scenery: Its the cotswold so look up, look out and enjoy the vistas
Date:
19 June 2016
Website: http://www.cheltenhamchallenge.org.uk/

And I sang to the check point at the last 4km mark about Mud. Here is the song in full:

In the days leading up to the event, the rain fall was high with a tropical rainfall pouring down on the Friday evening before the Sunday. The weather prediction thankfully was for a mostly dry Sunday until about 16:00. With all the rain,  there were warnings of a mud bath from the organisers. So now we had a large hill and a muddy trail to tackle.

Which do you think is worse? A large steep hill or a long slippery downward trail of mud?

Two years ago, when I had tackled this event, I had tried to somehow run and drag Reu (a 10kg tyre) up the hill. That killed me for the rest of the event. I crawled up the hill the second time round. This time an 8kg tyre called Drue came with me and what a difference 2 kg makes! Although it is rumoured the organisers had pushed down “the Argh hill” this year. So taking the hill easy on the first lap, made it fine on the second lap.

As for the mud……there was a short muddy section in the first 5km of the event that the overtaking 1/2 marathoners tread cautiously. However the real mud challenge was in the last 5 miles, an approx 400m mud trail on a downward hill incline, that was ankle/shin deep in some parts. On the first lap, Drue had an easy time as we got trapped behind a queue of people taking the muddy path very cautiously. The second time round the aim was to fly thru the mud. I was happily moving quickly thru the muddy section when Drue put on the brakes and embraced a rock burried in the mud. Yes I fell over into the bramble and nettles. When I tried to get going again, Drue did the same trick with another rock strategically placed in the middle of the path. As I lay there in the bramble and nettles, Drue smiled smuggly. (Am sure his treads were turned upwards).

What type of shoes would you wear? 

Commonsense would probably indicate trail shoes. However they  get clogged up with mud so lose their gripping power and become heavy.  Additionally muddy water still pours into the shoe when the mud grabs hold and swollows your foot. Hence your feet would stay wet for the rest of the event risking blisters.

I decided to try out flat sandals. Why because my feet would dry faster and they did. As for the non-grippiness, as long as I thought “Pose running”  and moved confidently then all would be fine….well you know what the cheeky Drue did. Grit did slide underneath, but a sock barrier softened the discomfort until the mud dried up and fell out. So I would say it kinda worked. Kinda worked, because as the feet were drying, the feet rolled in the sandals whilst wet. I think I’ll return with wellingtons next time.

Chronic Sleep Issues

Apparently 1/3 of the population suffers from chronic sleep deprivation. Being within that statistic, it is easy to see how sleep deprivation affects one’s mental ability and moods. And if you suffer from eczema, like I do, the itching becomes increasingly worst. Last year due to stress, anxiety and eczema, that after 5 nights of very low sleep (average 0 to 3 hours), I had to DNF in a skyrunning event. I didn’t want to be on the start line and couldn’t even will myself to run 5K but I switched mode to just enjoying the event and continued until they threw me off for being so slow. I did not have a tyre for an excuse in that event!

Work stress and anxiety do eventually wear me down and I need to learn how to manage this better. Health is more important than work. I am also learning to pre-emptively avoid situations that can put you in a negative mind set. Our past bad experiences are not a burden, but a way of helping us recognise and avoid a re-occurrance.

Marathon events are fantastic for getting my head back into sleep and for detoxing the body to reduce the eczema itch.

I was a little nervous for the Cheltenham Challenge as had 3 nights of very little sleep prior (3-4 hours average) however by the end of it, I was buzzing. I sorted out a situation based on gut feeling, and this turned out to be an excellent decision the next day. The night after the event I fell asleep with nettle prickles tingling over the arm and leg, and happy thoughts of ploughing through mud and singing songs.

Thank you so much to the volunteers for being out there, welcoming me back and kept smiling throughout, to the organisers for praying for weather that was cool for participants and dry for the volunteers, and for reducing the size of Aggi Hill. Thank you also to the people who donated to EarthWatch. Funds raised on the day = £16.

A Plastic Thought: Which is harder? To pull a tyre over Cheltenham Challenge or to change our “throw away” lifestyle?

WaterBottles

In 2015, the UK recycles only 57% of plastic bottles

  • 30% of plastic pots, tubs and trays are recycled.
  • Most families throw away about 40kg of plastic per year, which could otherwise be recycled.
  • 492,623 tonnes of plastic packaging was collected from households in 2014/2015
  • The use of plastic in Western Europe is growing about 4% each year.
  • Plastic can take up to 500 years to decompose.
  • Polystyrene breaks down to small plastic balls that is ingested by small animals
  • “Degradeable plastic” breaks down to micro plastic particles that can be ingested by plankton.

Ref 1: http://www.bpf.co.uk/sustainability/plastics_recycling.aspx

Ref 2: http://www.recycling-guide.org.uk/facts.html

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