After a brilliant session at Greenwood Park last Saturday, which you can read about here, we were going back again, with this message from Coach Tony Leary, fresh from watching himself on Fort Boyard, “Hi team – I have second R2W this weekend so will be training on Saturday morning again this week. I plan to go back to Greenwood Park – 7:20 meet for 7:30 start – finish will be 9am. Planning to repeat the session from last week with the addition of rope – rope (X4) traverse across a goal post included in the circuit.”
The weather was not too bad when I left my house to get a lift with Rebecca Cohen, but in the short time it took us to reach the car park at Greenwood Park it had really started to rain, and as soon as I got out of the car I regretted my decision to not bring my gloves because it was so cold. At least there was no wind. Steven Lamb was already there, and very soon we were joined by Robert Boarder, Daniel Spears and Tony. Tony got the kit out of his car, and while he took the ropes over to one of the goalposts, we carried the kit for the carries over to the bottom of the slope on the other side of the big red climbing frame – 2 sandbags, 2 jerry cans, and 1 very heavy beer keg. I took the very heavy beer keg, but Tony would not let me record that effort for Strava and 200 Kudos, so I only started my watch when we set off for the first run of 3 laps. I was pleased that I was able to run all of the 3 laps this week, and then we stopped to stretch before going over the obstacle circuit for the first time – climbing under the first picnic table without touching the ground, then going over the climbing frame, picking up one of the carries on the other side (I took a sandbag this first time around), going over the slope and down the other side to the fence before coming back (although Robert and I only went to the top this first time, to keep the group together), walking over the seesaw before heading over to the swings to move over them from one end to the other, making sure to climb over the metal barriers at each side, before adding in a climb over a park bench which we had not done last week. Next came the Bridge of Doom, a quick jump over a park bench, then over to more picnic tables, to go under the first one and over the second, before climbing on to the sliding part of the zipline so that we could reach up to touch the line itself. A small, low set of goalposts were perfect for a traverse before running over to another set to go over the top of them.
We would now run 4 laps then do an obstacle circuit, 3 laps and a circuit, 2 laps and a circuit, and finally 1 lap and a circuit, and on the final lap of each run we would stop off at the goalposts about three quarters of the way round to do a traverse using the 4 hanging ropes Tony had attached to them. My hands were already frozen, so I had a feeling this was not going to be the best fun ever. I did quite well running the 4 laps, but when I got to the ropes all I could manage was holding on to the first rope for dear life before moving on. My hands were frozen and they hurt. After going over the big red climbing frame, I took the jerry cans for a farmer’s carry over the slope and back, slipping and losing my footing on the way back down, but my bum cushioned my fall and I was straight back up. My right arm hurt after using it to hook on while I struggled to climb under the second picnic table, and together with my frozen hands, that made the low goalposts traverse impossible. My running was suffering from my fatigue by the time I set out on my 3 laps, but I got good encouragement from Daniel every time he passed me. When I got to the ropes this time around I spent some time working on the J-lock. It still seems less stable than it should be, which most likely means I am not doing it properly. I took one of the sandbags over the slope and back this time around. I knew I was getting slower going over the obstacles so pushed on, making my best attempt at each of them, determined to complete as many circuit laps as possible before everything was brought to a close. I almost lost my footing on the Bridge of Doom, and holding on to the ropes saved me. My 2 laps running were a struggle, and as I came through the gate to begin another circuits lap I saw Tony had finished. I carried on, really feeling it in my right arm as I went under the picnic table, but still able to make good time going over the big red climbing frame, before pushing it over the slope and back with a sandbag. It seemed to me to be the easiest piece of kit to manage, and I wanted to be as efficient as possible this time around. As I was finishing the circuit I saw Tony, Robert, Daniel and Steven heading off to retrieve the ropes, so decided to run the final running lap, even if I would not be able to complete the final circuit lap. I caught up with them just as they were rounding the corner after taking down the ropes, and I made the comment, “It’s all right, I’m used to the course being dismantled before I have finished,” as I headed into the playground area to get the jerry cans, while Tony took the ropes back to his car and the others collected up the other bits of kit.
It had been a brilliant session, with us covering anywhere between almost 7 kilometres and 9 kilometres, and doing more than a few obstacles each lap, in cold and wet conditions. I am not entirely joking when I say we should get a medal and technical tshirt for the Greenwood Rush Sprint Winter Challenge, and it was all done and dusted by 0900.