Date/Time: Saturday 30th – Sunday 31st August
Location: Hornchurch Country Park
Distance: As many 10km laps as possible in 24hours
When Leah asked whether anyone would be interested in entering a competition to win a place in a 24 hour race weekend I, of course, jumped at the chance and put my name down and then forgot about it. Then a couple of weeks ago we got an extremely surprising email confirming that we had won! Team Naturally Run would be the VIP team at the first Spitfire Scramble, 2014!
The Spitfire Scramble is a multi-terrain race where, as a team or as a solo runner (!?), you attempt to complete as many (roughly 10km) laps as possible over 24-hours! So on what started out as a very rainy Saturday morning (thankfully the weather got a lot better the further East we went) Jen, Leah, Katy, Becs, Becki, Emma Nikki and I made our way, along with roughly 200 other runners, to Hornchurch, Essex to set up camp!
Kitted out in predominately BLACK (personally the brighter the better for me when it comes to kit), BUT extremely comfortable Crewroom kit we had a quick photo shoot (and a costume change) and then got down to business deciding the order in which we would run … roughly thinking that each lap would be around an hour …
First out was Becs, a tactical move as she is easily one of the fastest women I know and so would put us in a good place for the race!
Following Becs, Nikki headed out and then before I knew it I was being called up!
When my first lap came around I have to admit I was pretty nervous. Hearing that I was going to have to climb over things was definitely going to be a new experience for me during a run, and well this obviously wasn’t your typical race, start – run – finish and then go out for celebratory food, but I wanted to do well for my team so I set off and settled into a relatively steady pace.
The route took you through various terrains, uneven field track, gravel paths, muddy paths, around lovely lakes and then my favourite, woodland paths!
I was loving the off road route! It was definitely a little different for my legs who had a few wobbles, but it was just so much fun, though having to stop to climb over things and then start running again is not the easiest! On seeing the finish line I sprinted to the finish, passing on the illumious slapband! Yes a slapband! Checking my watch I was over the moon and ridiculously surprised, my first lap was sub 50!!! Literally beaming!
Whilst all the other girls one by one went out for their laps the rest of us just chilled out around our tents, eating, catching up, eating more and just enjoying spending some time together.
We were extremely lucky to have some of the other TNR girls pop by for support too. A huge thank you to Lucy and Glen who made this gorgeous sign …
The lovely Laura who brought homemade cheese straws! Err amazing! And then of course …. LISSY!!!! The most amazing friend in the world for bringing my favourite thing ever, her DARK CHOCOLATE BANANA BREAD (if you want to make someone’s day head to her site for the recipe! (Seriously it’s a game changer)
My second lap came at 21:30. At this point I was nervous, it was dark, and I mean reallydark. I am super conscious about walking alone at night due to boring events when I first same to London and now I was about to run for 6miles by myself with just a headtorch through fields, parkland and woods!!!!! WTF! This is where I have to give a HUGE mention Lissy (again) and the RDC team who gave me an amazing pep talk and assured me all would be fine!
With my amazingly strong headtorch (courtesy of LED Lenser) switched on, blinding everyone in the process, I plugged my headphones in and got going. It was dark, the route was empty and my headtorch was my only source of light but this my friends was one of the most amazing running experiences I have EVER had. There is something quite incredible about being alone in the countryside with just a headtorch and the stars, plus running in the dark meant that the hills, and there were a few sneaky ones along the route, were over before you knew it! I loved it, I absolutely loved it and I obviously had so much fun even the Marshall’s were laughing about how much of a runners high I was on as I bounded across the finish line!
My third lap however was tough. Orignally due to happen around 3:30 ish by about midnight I settled into my tent for a few hours sleep but at 1:30 I was woken up to hear the sad news that Jen was out due to a poorly leg and asked whether I could run sooner than planned … in 30 minutes! Now this race was all about the team and well there was no way I was going to let the team down so I quickly got dressed and joined Emma at the change over point and then with very little sleep and fuelled by half a Mars Bar – thank you so much Emma I still owe you for that – I ran from roughly 2:15-3:15 and I definitely felt my legs falling asleep whilst going down the hills!
When I got back Beki was there ready to go and explained that if I could would I be able to go again when she got back as both Jen and Leah were now officially out due to injury 😦 and Emma and Bex were catching up on some seriously well deserved zzz. I figured as I was up why not and it would mean I could get a solid couple of hours once I was done so I headed to the food tent for some slightly better post run / pre race fuelling, a Nuun and my Bounce Ball whilst enjoying late night ramblings with some of the other runners!
The fourth lap was a bit of a blur to be honest, somewhere around 4:30, the sun was definitely on it’s way and once again it was just me, my headtorch and Ronnie Herel’s old skool mix. I was pleased to see I got through it quicker than my third lap but by the time I crossed the line I was ready for sleep and so after a very sorry looking little bowl of oats and raisins I tucked myself in for a snooze.
Now originally we had all planned to do 3 – 4 laps each but due to some of the team being injured plans had gone a little awry. When I woke up after a couple of hours sleep the team incredibly were still running but had said that there was no pressure to so anymore. We had all gone way above expectations and we had all done each other proud but well … I wondered if my legs could do any more….
Doing a fifth lap would mean doing just shy of 30 miles, the furthest I have never run, it would mean getting another lap in for the team, and it would mean I could eat even more food! My team were incredible and without hesitation told me if my legs were up for it I could do it! So I did.
It was tough, I was tired, I was smelly, it was hot and the hills felt steeper in the daylight (hence the worn out face) BUT I did it and well I felt AMAZING! I would not have got through that lap without knowing I had my teams’ support so thank you so so much ladies!
Incredibly Nikki was there at the finish line ready to go! It was 11am ish and we had achieved our 24 laps but determined to get a 25th in Nikki set off to walk the final lap alongside Emma who on realising what she was up to ran to catch her up. (It’s worth noting here as long as you cross the start line before 12 the lap would count.)
On seeing the girls coming round the corner towards the finish line we of course joined them to cross the final line as a team …
This race was such an amazing experience for me. It was the Spitfire Scramble’s first year and I will definitely be signing up for next year! It attracted a really lovely mix of people and the atmosphere throughout was extremely supportive and friendly! The marshals along the route were smiley and the organiser himself, Danny, was extremely personable and made you feel very welcome! A word of warning the catering wasn’t exactly ideal (unless you love salty bacon (which will repeat on you whilst running) and jacket potatoes for every meal over 24 hours) but fueling for this sort of thing was always going to be tricky! Overall however it was fantastic and an experience I am so grateful to have shared with 7 other incredible running ladies :D. We even came in the top 50% out of all the teams that took part!
Oh and it’s worth mentioning that we actually came first in our division “All female team of 8”! That’s right we won trophies as well as medals!!!
So of course we used these to drink our celebratory fizz out of on the way home ;D!
A HUGE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE INVOLVED IN SPITFIRE SCRAMBLE! Us TNR ladies had a truly fantastic 24 hours!
As always a bit of running, a bit of weight lifting and one random workout ;D Just how I like it!!!
3 rounds of full body circuits followed by 30 minutes on the x trainer
Morning – All about upper body weights in the morning! Very excitingly (to me) I know I am getting closer to doing an unassisted pull up … small goal for this year … me and my snowman twig arms have got a way to go yet but we are getting there!
Evening – First run back with my Run Dem family after two weeks away! This time we went loooonnnng running to the Olympic Park and back! I loved it, EVERY SINGLE MINUTE! Always so good to catch up with everyone and regardless of the day I have had I always finish these runs with the biggest smile on my face. Casual, unplanned 9 miles … whoops!
Intervals. Horrible, horrible intervals! 10 minute warm up, 10 x 1 minute efforts followed by a 10 minute cool down. It was hard, it was sweaty but hey I got it done and the reward was 100% WORTH IT ;D! These legs WILL get used to speed!
3 rounds of full body circuits and a lovely 30 minute jog in the sunshine. Nothing like getting up early and having a relaxed run in the sunshine!
REST DAY!! Actually enjoyed today’s rest day, well my legs did that’s for sure! And instead of getting sweaty I chucked on my dress and heels and enjoyed some gin at the Gin Joint with some very gorgeous ladies …
Oh you know, casually became a fully qualified indoor cycling (or spin as we know it) instructor ;D!
A good few hours of spinning, shouting, more spinning and eating!! More to come on this shortly!
A WET RUN. Yep the lovely Alice and I said we would go on a little run to catch up and then have a HUGE brunch afterwards. I think the run was our excuse to have more brunch HOWEVER, the English weather had other plans! So I set out in the pouring rain (thank god for my uber stylish visor!) and ran the 18minutes to Alice’s door. I love the running community, on my way to Alice’s house I passed a good few other crazy runners also braving the rain and every single one I passed gave me a knowing smile “YES we are MAD”! I picked up Alice and we braved the outdoors, planning to do a 30 minute loop around Highbury. It was wet, and when I say wet I mean WET. The paths were flooded, the park waterlogged and we, well we were wet to the bone, quickly discovering that our trainers were not “flood proof”. So 5 minutes in we gave up, turned round grabbed a towel and went to Lululemon Islington to enjoy a yoga class instead. By the time we had finished our busy day of run, yoga, brunch and bed dismantling/ripping apart the sun showed up so YES we did go back out for a glorious 30 minute run! HA! Take that English weather ;D we got ya in the end! 48 minutes of running, 1 hour of flow yoga, 2 hours of brunching and 2 hours of ripping wood to shreds! It was a good day!
The world’s sweatiest run! Whilst in Valencia it was only right that we tried out a run or two in the gorgeous green path created by the old Turia riverbed. So setting out nice and early (to beat the 35 degree heat?!?) Harry and I made our way to the park and did enough of a stretch to make it a nice 3 miler and then headed back. I love running in new cities, it’s just a great way to see the place BUT by the time we got back we were both a complete sweaty mess! I have done HOT yoga before and definitely needed a towel during it but nothing competes with how we felt after this run!
Flexing our muscles in an attempt to keep calm with delay after delay after delay getting back to the UK ;D!
3 rounds of full body circuits followed by a HIIT workout on the stepper! Definitely not on holiday anymore! Ha!
Making my track! Inspired by some of my incredibly speedy friends I decided to get out and do some interval training. Now I don’t have a track outside my door but the lovely Laura had mentioned that she had used the Emirates Stadium as a track in the past … so off I went! A nice 1.2 mile warm up followed by 6 x 400 “sprints” with a 1.2 mile cool down home. I will be doing a lot more of these sorts of runs as my legs are not built for speed. Not one bit! Ask me to run and I’ll go and go and go, ask me to go fast and it’s another story … maybe if you put a piece of carrot cake on a stick I might be more tempted ;D!
Weights day! Yay! There is something really satisfying about lifting! So a few rope pulls, pull ups, shoulder presses, bent over presses and pull over presses later I was a very happy lady!
Hungover circuits followed by a horrendous 3 miler on the treadmill. There isn’t much to be said about this run. The cocktails from the night before definitely did not enhance my run, but hey I still got a 2minute plank in!
Back in Christmas 2013 I contacted Leah, a lovely blogger I had had the pleasure of meeting at a few races/NTC sessions, after seeing her post a picture out on a run with a couple of other girls all in the name of marathon training! Having just agreed to do my first marathon, and with no idea where to start, I asked Leah if I could join them on their next run. So one VERY cold winter morning I went and met a load of strangers and went for a run. 8 months later, with numerous shared races, training weekends, RUNcations and of course celebratory meals & drinks I now call those strangers some of my closest friends and this Sunday I met up with Harry & Steph and ran a glorious 8.8mile route around Hyde park retracing that original route I did in winter! It was absolutely gorgeous! Running, chatting and taking some stunning scenery, plus we did a bit of celeb spotting Adele!
I LOVE running!
So I think I am finally getting into a nice little routine … almost … nearly
Bit of ab work but otherwise “cool down” after the seriously sweaty race that was “The British 10km”
Morning – Upper body stuff, kicking off with interval rowing! This was then followed by pull ups, skull crushers, curls and presses. As mentioned last week I went with my list of moves and also started to note down the weight I use so I can monitor my progress!
Evening – RUN DEM aka speed session! This week I decided to go to the next level after figuring that I really need to start pushing myself and so I opted for #CheetahElites but somehow got asked to lead! It was an AWESOME 5 mile run and absolutely amazing to have the opportunity to lead such strong crew of people! Down to City Hall, across to Blackfriars and along past St Paul’s this SPEEDY run left me buzzing for days!!!
A great 7 mile run to an awesome soundtrack. During all my races now I chose to go without music and just enjoy the sights and sounds around me but when I am running on my own I love being able to catch up with musics/mixes! It’s awesome running to some serious tunes and I would definitely recommend listening back to MistaJam’s show at 7pm on 1xtra, it’s a great mixed bag of beats!!
BOOM Cycle and London Duathlon BRICK Training Event
On Thursday I was lucky enough to be invited to an intensive one hour BRICK training alongside London Duathlon 2014 ambassadors, ITUDuathlon Champion, Ryan Ostler and Junior Team GB silver medallist, Charlotte Harris, in a 30 minute spin class mimicking the hills of Richmond Park followed by a 5k run. It definitely provided that “jelly leg” feeling but I actually really enjoying pairing the two disciplines! So much so that I would definitely have signed up for the London Duathlon on 14th September but sadly I am already taking part in another event! However, if you fancy getting involved you can find out lots more on their website – http://www.londonduathlon.com
LEG DAY – I know I keep saying it but I am loving my strengthening sessions at the moment, I just love the idea of making my body stronger! During this session I tried something a little different. After a gentle warm up I did 3 minute bursts on the sweat inducing stepper machine following by squats, lunges and kick backs. I did this little sequence 4 times … and then collapsed! It was AWESOME!
Gardening … lots of gardening! I volunteered through work to help a fix up a school as part of a surprise for the pupils. It was a great thing to be a part of and I definitely think it counted as a full body workout! Even just carrying the wheelbarrow was tough haha!
An absolutely glorious 10 mile run in the sun and when I say glorious I 110% mean glorious! I went with my music, after sourcing a great mix by Kaytranada, and just ran, not for time, not for distance but just to run and it felt amazing!!!! Now I know I am shortly going to start working on my speed which means shorter, more intense runs but this confirmed I just love a long run! I love the feeling of racking up the miles and the glorious satisfaction of that. I could have carried on for hours but I had a brunch to get to…of course ;D
So there we are! Do you prefer a long, chilled run or are you the type that likes short bursts of intensive running?
Yep you got it another mixed bag last week … but I think I am building up a rough routine …
Rest day after ROGA!
Morning – Really looked forward to my upper body work out, starting to feel a lot more relaxed using the weights. Tip here: go prepared! I always write down the four moves I am going to do and how many reps and sets I plan to do giving me the look of confidence whilst surrounded by big, grunting, muscly men!
Evening – RUN DEM aka speed session! 5.5 miles averaging between 7.5 / 8 minute miles! Now granted there were a few traffic light stops but I am still seriously buzzing about those times!
A glorious 7 mile run. After some forward planning, making sure I ate a good meal straight after Run Dem, I woke up feeling fresh and ready to go! However the last mile may have been a little tough….!
BOOM! Love a good Boom class with Lissy! I LOVE that I can get a good work out whilst catching up with friends…very lucky to be able to do both! Nice and sweaty 45 minute spin class busting my ass to the likes of Usher, Prince and Britney!
NTC Abs work out … ouch!
Does shopping along oxford street count? Followed by a huge wardrobe clear out?
The weight sessions are really becoming something I look forward to, though it is definitely getting to the point where more moves, advice would be seriously appreciated! If you want any info on the stuff I am doing at the moment just pop me an email or leave a comment! I am happy to share :D!
So it’s been another week of random workouts … I am sure at some point I will get into a routine!!
Rest, rest and more rest after the sweaty session that was Run Hackney Half Marathon!
Morning – all about the upper body! After an awesome session whilst at at the Nürburgring I was keen to try out things on my own … including pull ups! Yep, I busted out out an assisted pull up or 30 😉 plus some skull crushers (!?), renegade rows, shoulder presses and tricep dips!
Evening – Run Dem Crew – since stepping up two pace groups this is definitely now my speed session. 4.3miles around London … phew!
Morning – Leg day. So, I haven’t fine tuned my workout plan yet and well now I know not to do leg day after RDC, aka the speed session, but it still felt good to get those squats and lunges in!
Evening – Xen Do taster session – Laureen, Charlie and I got to experience a short kick boxing taster session which was brilliant!! We kicked and boxed as hard as we could, whilst learning some great self defense moves! The class was led by Rafael Nieto who took the time to explain the theory behind the moves and then got us working…hard! Really hope to go back for another session soon, I loved it!!!
4mile steady run. Awful, like I said my workouts need tweaking slightly but hey it’s all a learning curve!
I joined Zoe, Charlie and Lissy to test out my new Sweaty Betty swimming costume at the Oasis Outdoor Pool in Covent Garden. Sadly the outdoor pool was closed (which I was a little bit glad about as I am such a whimp in the cold) but this also meant that the indoor was manic and I definitely got splashed a lot more than I wanted to! However, this was a lovely excuse to catch up with the ladies and I managed to swim a nice and relaxed 30 lengths in 25 minutes, so not all bad :D!
Fulham Palace parkrun with Lissy, Leah and Steph, introducing Leah to the world of parkruns! This was a great route, 3 laps around the beautiful Bishop’s Park taking you through the park and along the river! I love parkruns! Free, timed 5km runs where all involved are super friendly, runners and volunteers, and all in a relaxed atmosphere (with the option to push if you really want :D!) This was a great run and Steph and I definitely helped pace each other for a great sub 26 minute 5km time!
Roga! Roga! Roga!
The awesome Lululemon Islington every so often (I am hoping they will become more frequent!) throw a ROGA event… Run + Yoga = ROGA! Led by the awesome Becs (after a nice warm up 2mile run to the studio / Lissy joined me via bike – proof below) we did a gorgeous 6 mile route along the canal to Victoria Park enjoying the sunshine and then headed back to the studio to stretch out with an hours yoga session in a near by park. Honestly I cannot recommend this enough! The run definitely makes yoga a little bit more intense and don’t be surprised if you find yourself falling asleep in the end of the class but it is just such a good way to spend a Sunday! Keep your eyes posted for the next one!