11/06/14: 1 hr Dance Class, paying for classes in advance means no matter how busy you are in work or how low the energy levels are you’re more likely to go and make it a consistent part of your training. I tend to sign up for 6-8 week training sessions, whether it be Bootcamp, martial arts, gym membership, dance etc mixing it up every couple of months keeps training fresh and interesting and there’s usually good deals on Living Social and Dealrush.
12/06/14: Rest,hectic week in work so only got a chance to workout on Wednesday but don’t mind at least I’ll be well rested for Saturday.
13/06/14: Getting the pack ready, decided to wear a long sleeved compression top with my 3Ts charity dri-fit vest top, 3/4 length running tights, twin layer socks and old Brooks trainers that I’m happy to discard after the race and a pair of fingerless weightlifting gloves (that have never lifted a weight in their short lived lives). We’ve been warned we can’t use duct tape this year so thanks to the suggestion of a former Hellraiser I’m using a spare pair of laces wrapped under the shoe and taken through the loop holes for extra security, also triple tying the laces. Have my trusty body glide, and anti blister spray at the ready too.
14/06/14: D-day, no going back now! Definitely take the advice of arriving with 90 mins to spare, the time goes quickly. We were 30 mins queuing for the shuttle bus to take us to Kilruddery House. Luckily for us and all of this weekends Hellraisers we were blessed with perfect weather conditions. Once we arrived at ‘The Gates of Hell’ we were impressed, the place was well set up, we quickly left our valuables in, dropped our gear into the changing rooms and had our faces painted to get into the spirit of it all. Despite arriving 90 mins early we found ourselves running to the warm up area with 5 mins to spare. We got to see the first person hurtle themselves across the finish line in an impressive 1 hr 15 mins. The atmosphere was electric and then we were off…
Alot of the obstacles are designed with teamwork in mind and there are other Hellraiser’s there helping you through it. My tactic for getting through Sniper Alley was to go in a pack but I got restless waiting on the pack behind me to catch up so I just went for it and sprinted through as fast as I could, got hit about 10 times, hitting the deck half way through the woods didn’t help as it temporarily made me a sitting duck. Crawling through the tunnels I was glad I had the long sleeves, my friend’s arms got scratched up in a short sleeved top. The Jaffa cakes at the water stations were a nice touch as were the motivational signs along the route. The marshals were entertaining in their own sadistic way.
I was worrying about H&B since I signed up in December 2013, that’s a long time to build it up in my head, hear all the horror stories and imagine the worst case scenarios. I have to say it earns its tagline as Ireland’s Toughest Mental and Physical Endurance race but it is great fun.
If you’re reading this and thinking of registering for one of the Hell and Back events, I’d say ‘do it!‘, the interactive map on the H&B website will show you exactly what you’re letting yourself in for, but don’t worry too much. Just make sure you’ve a good base level of fitness and endurance and you’ll be fine. I thought when I finished I would be be telling myself I should have done weight training or TRX but I have to say I wouldn’t change a thing, my cardio felt great the whole way through and I was very comfortable in what I chose to wear. Whatever calories I burnt up during the race were quickly replaced when I finally got home and after 8 weeks of training I went on a Ricky Hatton post fight style binge…chocolate, ice-cream, popcorn, vino…told myself I earned it and I have to say guilt free never tasted so good!
15/06/14: A much needed recovery day! I’m a little scratched up, bruised and sore but it was worth it, feeling invincible now what’s next to tick off the bucket list…Ironman 70.3 Dublin 2015?? Who’s with me 🙂