For those not in the know, NUTS is kindof a big deal. I’m not sure how much I appreciated this fact before I signed up for NUTS, but then I got a big attack of the terrifieds and signed up to a course-specific training day. Thank GOD (and Michael Midgley, who might actually be a god, I’m not sure), that I did.
The NUTS course is like no other – it’s extremely obstacle heavy and purpose built on a permanent basis. Winter NUTS is notoriously cold, difficult and testing of both physical and mental strength. It’s based in clay-type mud, which is slippy and really clogs you trainers. This sounds like I’m complaining, I’m not – because it was fantastic.
The team have been at it for a long time, and it’s a slick, well established course with unique, relentless obstacles that give you a full body workout…and then you’ve got to go round and do it all again. With the choice of 1 7k lap, or 2, 3 or 4, the course appeals to both the elite and the fun-runner, with those on 3 or 4 laps taking priority in any traffic jams. They also get the dubious honour of doing several extra obstacles with failure penalties. No way, Pedro.
Content with my two laps, I crashed through the first part of the my first lap like an ungainly hippo, only not as fast. I cursed my stupid legs as I trundled through the forest with all the speed of an egg rolling up a hill. Eventually though, it was like they didn’t exist, as they were frozen into submission by the many dips in to freezing water. When I eventually hit my stride, I was catapulted into an obstacle heavy area (as always happens. Like, every time). This is where I became very grateful that I had attended a training day, as I’m quite certain I would have freaked the actual fuck out if I’d never seen the fireman’s pole before (no, it’s not a euphemism, there’s literally a pole there, and it’s scary). Thankfully I could potter through the obstacle field without much of a problem, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. In fact, I’d wager that anyone who didn’t enjoy it has some sort of fun-deficiency that can only be remedied by an immediate trip to Alton Towers. Of course my sense of fun and carefree joviality was somewhat dented by the appearance of bloody hills that I had to run up and down, sometimes accompanied by a tyre, but this did signify that it was almost the end of the lap, so it wasn’t all bad.
I think that if I had stopped after 7k, I would have felt disappointed, because I certainly wasn’t tanking it around, and I felt like I had a lot more to give. As luck and design would have it, I was signed on to 14k, so I had a quick pitstop for a drink and a truly terrible flapjack, and tootled on past into my second lap. I’m pleased to say that this lap was faster and easier, and gave me the opportunity to give some legups to tiring elite racers on their fourth lap and making me look like a lazy lump of half eaten bacon. This made me feel all inspired but also important, because there aren’t many sports in which ordinary humans like me get to knock about with the top three types in the country, even if it is just to pull them out of knee deep clay and send them on their way.
In the end, I finished a respectable 8th female, and I’m pretty chuffed with that. It gives me a great basis for next year and some targets to beat.
After this course, I momentarily misplaced my brain and signed up for three laps in September.
Tech tee, wrist band (no, I don’t know what they’re for either), and nifty medal. Also some hot squash, which made me want to marry the lady who gave it to me.
- Salomon Fellraisers (Maiden voyage)
- Nike Anti-blister socks
- Decathlon neoprene socks
- Under Armour heatgear tights
- Inov8 merino baselayer
- Nike Pro Hyperwarm baselayer
- Decathlon neoprene rash vest
- O’Neill neoprene gloves
- Merino Buff / ORM wrag
Yeah, I took my kit pretty seriously here. It was cold in the water, but the air was more ambient than usual, so I’m told. But because I’m a sap, the kit was spot on for me. The gloves were particularly phenomenal, and are my new best friends. Neoprene socks were also totally necessary, as when I tried the course without them the week before, I couldn’t feel my feet and left them in a cargo net.
This course is fucking brilliant and I want to do it every year until I die.