Hatfield Broad Oak  – “It’s Only 10K”

On the May bank holiday i took part in the Hatfield Broad Oak 10K Road Race for the second year running. I was particularly excited about this one as in 2015, after years of no running I took part and got a PB of 62 minutes. This year I was hoping because I had run it before and I had just completed a Half Marathon, the race would be a piece of cake.

Maybe I had got a little cocky thinking “it’s only 10k” and therefore I didn’t focus in the week leading up to the race. But I know for certain I got a number of things wrong this time round.

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Drinking the night before! In the run up to Hackney Half Marathon I was very sensible. I stopped drinking. Even though some nights, when the sun was shining and all i craved was a glass of wine in the garden – I stopped myself. I had self control. In the lead up to HBO it was the Bank Holiday weekend with some rather satisfying weather. So, i drank on the Friday night, the Saturday night and even on the Sunday night. The night before the race, I had two big glasses of wine. Yes “My Name is Gemma and i’m a Wino.”

Dehydration – a big issue for any runner. Safe to say due to my lovely wine the night before and having less water than I normally would over the whole weekend, I was rather dehydrated come Monday morning. Instead of hydrating before the race I had sips of water – paranoid that I would need the toilet 50 times. I also did away with my hydration belt. I think my words were (again) “It’s only 10k – I’ll be fine.” How wrong I was. That first 5k without water and having to run up the hill into the village to get the water, was a killer. I was gasping by the time I reached the water station and barely able to drink it.

Breakfast the most important meal of the day. In recent months I have managed to get the pre run breakfast almost right; mixing up between Bagels with Peanut Butter, Porridge or Greek Yoghurt with honey depending on how long I would be running for. On the morning of HBO, everything went out the window. My breakfast was a glass of orange juice – I couldn’t stomach anything else. Big error, no wonder I felt that the tank was empty very soon after we set off!

Over Training! It has always been a big problem of mine. I tend to go for quantity over quality which results in me being over tired and not being able to give the job at hand 100%. The day before this race not only did I complete a Boot Camp session but I also went out for a run in the evening too. Now, I did run the day before the half marathon – which was more about stretching my legs and getting rid of any nerves. It definitely helped, so running before the HBO 10k wasn’t the issue. The problem was Boot Camp. After running round doing such exercises as Jerry Can pushes and burpees (to name a few) one is bound to feel that in the legs the next day.

So as you can see, I had a fair idea of how the race was going to pan out. My mind was not in it and my body clearly wasn’t ready for it. But you live and learn. I know for a fact that I can run this one faster – I did it in 2015. So, I cannot say I can’t run that fast. And I know I made a number of mistakes which led to poor performance.

I need to take this as a lesson to myself and learn from my mistakes, listen to my body and just be sensible in the run up to these events.

So, this Sunday (19th June) I have another 10k race at Hatfield Forest, which will be slightly more undulating as it is a trail run. Something I have not done before – unless it involves obstacles. I don’t expect to see a PB. But what I am expecting to see is a significant improvement in myself. Not just speed, but also mind set and preparation.

I need to bring back the positive mental attitude and strength I had this time last year. Once it returns I know I could up my game. The only issue is the mind is the hardest muscle to train……

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Regiment Fitness Adventure Weekend

I’ve never been one for Camping. The idea of lying in a tent in the middle of a field has never really held much appeal. However, when Regiment Fitness first advertised an Adventure Weekend which involved “Glamping” I thought, let’s give it a go. To be honest my mind by passed the Glamping element when I saw the list of activities we would likely be taking part in.

Packing for this adventure was particularly difficult. Not knowing what to expect I did not really know what I should bring. Packed in three bags was my hair dryer, straighteners, multiple fluffy blankets and socks and a whole range of Boot Camp gear and outfits. Safe to say, the majority went un-used – no chance of straightening my hair when there was not a plug socket in sight!

Three days had been planned out from Friday to Sunday. Early Friday morning we set off in a Mini-Bus, for the trip down to Swanage, Dorset. The small intimate group of us (ten in total) arrived at Herston Camp site (not without getting lost of course) shortly after lunch. After a quick stop we were off to our first activity, Coasteering!

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Coasteering was the activity I was most terrified of, after researching and watching videos. However, the instructors at Land and Wave, were very experienced in their field and immediately put all of us at ease. Climbing down the rocks to the coast at “Dancing Ledge” was a challenge, but with expert instructions we all managed it without any injuries. Our first jump was tamer than I expected, but I learnt later that they were building us up to the big one. To be honest, my concern was how cold the water was going to be rather than the first jump itself. And it was, so shockingly cold.

Once we were over the shock of jumping in we were off, with the instructors ensuring we were sticking together. Due to low tide they were able to guide us through many caves, some dark and scary and others open to the waves. Everyone in the group had smiles on their faces throughout. The grand finale for the session was the big jump. Under guidance we all climbed the cliff edge to the biggest jump of the day. Standing on the edge, spending too much time thinking about jumping – I chickened out. However, most of the group were brave enough to throw themselves of the ledge.

All high on adrenaline we made the climb and walk back to the mini bus to head back to camp, where our caterers – Crab Apple – were waiting with dinner. The evening was spent drinking round the camp fire until the early hours of the morning.

Day two saw us head up to the woods for Bush Craft; learning to make fires, spears and general knife skills. After a lovely picnic lunch, from Crab Apple, we spent the afternoon making spears, Axe Throwing and Archery.

After we mastered new skills we were on our merry way back to camp, taking time to stop at the local Corfe Castle for a walk around and drink. After which we headed out into Swanage town to hit the night life. Lots of drinking and dancing into the early hours, followed by more time round the campfire.

On Sunday, the final day of adventure, we made our way down to the beach – sore heads a plenty – for our final activity, Paddle Boarding. Within moments of being on the boards many of the group were up on our feet – must be down to our super strong cores from Boot Camp! I personally managed to paddle board on my feet numerous times, before falling dramatically into the water.

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In no time at all our session was over and it was almost time to head back to blighty, not before a cheeky fish and chips on the sea front mind!

The weekend as a whole was an incredible rush for me. I was, as were many others, were still buzzing the next day. But it’s not just the adrenaline I was buzzing from but also the fact that I had spent a weekend in such amazing company, 90% of who I had not met before. My abs were aching more from laughing than they would on an Ab session.

This is another occasion, for me, where Regiment Fitness has led me meet some incredible people and all of which I would keep in contact. Some of us had so much fun we are already eagerly anticipating the next one.

The activities were great, the food was fantastic and the company even better. Would I go again? Without question! If Regiment Fitness decide to run this again I strongly advise you not to miss this opportunity. Life is all about experiences and this was definitely that.

Just one word of advice – don’t leave the Go Pro at home!