We were heading back to Aldenham, with the promise from Tony Leary of “hills, cold water, bridge climbing etc.” and the passing comment, “think it might actually be cold this week.” We had another good turn out this morning with myself, Ray Fletcher, Robert Boarder, Neil Rainbow, Peter Williams, Daniel Spears and Rebecca Cohen joining Tony for a session which was absolutely bound to include some cold water stuff with only 2 weeks to go until Tough Guy.
It was a very cold morning as we set off down a wet and muddy track, continuing all the way down until we turned right at the crossroads, and by the time I got to the junction Tony had taken the group up some steps to the side of the main track, keeping that going for a few repeats. I have still not got round to getting my Garmin Fenix 2 back up and running since it died over Christmas, and my borrowed Garmin finally started working some couple of kilometres into the session, and now Tony took us across to the other side of a ditch, down through a very low brick tunnel, which we had to at least crouch down to get through, before we started to zigzag across the ditch and back to take us along the main track to the start of the hill repeats. It had been a more than effective warm up. We were going to run A (the longest route) in reverse a few times, and after the first lap I cut that down to a B so as not to keep the others waiting for me for quite so long a period of time, and then continued with three Cs. At the end of each lap we did a press-up before going over the gate at the bottom, doing another press-up and coming back, keeping that going until everyone had got back, which was why I decided I needed to run the shorter laps. I have to say the laps also definitely felt harder in reverse ! We had finished the hill repeats, but had certainly not finished the session.
We continued running along the track to the gingerbread house, turned left and I added in an extra gate climb because I could not find the latch to open the gate. My training has really suffered this January because of my workload eating into far too much time, and my running has taken a knock as a result, so I was some way behind the others at this stage, to the extent that Ray and Robert added some extra distance to their morning distance by doubling back to me so we could run in together to where the others had stopped by a bridge over the river. Tony told me I had to run through the river as everyone else had done, so, of course, I went in. Once I was in he told me I had to do a burpee (and I knew doing burpees in rivers was certainly a ‘thing’, because it had happened at the bridge further up the river the last time we were here), so I fell down into a plank position to almost universal cries of “no !!!!” so did not actually complete the burpee. Despite my gloves, my hands were now as cold and wet as my feet.
We followed a track on the other side of the river up to the gate, and I passed the others as they were coming back down that track to repeat it, before we turned left and ran to another field, crossing half of it before falling to the ground to do a monkey crawl.
Continuing across the field brought us round to the bridge we usually came to during these Aldenham sessions, and that meant more river work. This morning that had us running to the other side of the field (Tony had said to run to halfway, but his definition of halfway is obviously different to mine…) and back to warm up (I did not warm up, not even slightly), then we would go through the river, climb up and over the bridge before climbing down into the river again, coming out the other side and running to the other side of the field again, repeating that a few times. After all that, Tony, Ray, Robert, Peter and Daniel also did double burpees in the freezing cold water. Absolutely mad. Totally awesome. Tony and Ray were also doing it with their tops off. Nutters ! The run back was definitely needed to keep some element of warmth before a change of clothes could take place. In fact, the whole morning had been so cold that the moment I got back online I was asking for recommendations for gloves and socks suitable for OCRs featuring cold water.
We noticed parking restriction signs when we got back to the starting point, which could cause some issues in the future, even though everyone parks off the road and we are there before most other people have woken up on a Sunday morning, so that is a pity. We are a resourceful lot, so I am sure we will find a way around any issues. We enjoyed our morning picnic of bacon sandwiches from Rebecca and hard boiled eggs from Peter, and then were on our way after a very cold and wet, excellent Sunday morning session. I had covered 5.9 kilometres from the time my Garmin finally decided to locate a satellite, and Robert had covered 10.4 kilometres, so everybody else had covered a distance somewhere in between.