Written by Michelle Yates
Where do I start? Brutal Events, thank you for yet another surreal experience.
I have just completed 10 Marathons in 10 Days at Dorney Lake and Brutal Events certainly exceeded all expectations. Saying that, I didn’t really know what to expect or what I was letting myself in for. What Claire, the boss at Brutal, doesn’t know about endurance is not worth knowing. The whole team has been supportive and encouraging throughout this whole adventure.
The main event was the Deca, 10 Iron Distance Triathlons in Ten Days and ‘real athletes’ aka the Deca guys, were such an inspiration. I was truly honoured to share the course with them. It was amazing to be included in the team during the ten days despite ‘only’ participating in the run at the end of the day which could be described as a cool down for them. I was fascinated by their capabilities and wanted to know everything. How they felt, what they were eating, how they prepared… and they all had incredible stories to tell. I think I needed to read the rule book though because I passed one of them on Day Six at around ten o’clock at night, he was lying on the grass to the side of the path. My heart started thumping as I ran over to check if he was ok. My Army Medic training came flooding back as he pulled a hood from over his face and looked at me replying, “yes I’m fine, I am having a nap”. Apparently, this is completely normal.
The first two days were the most difficult for me. After Day One, I felt like a marathon novice, which was a weird experience as that is far from the truth. On Day Two, my body started to realise what I had signed up for and from then on, it was a mental challenge. Every day, the Deca athletes asked me how I was and noticed when I wasn’t moving quite as well. This always made me laugh in a completely surreal way as I could only imagine how they felt. That, and all the support I received from home, especially from the awesome Gosport Road Runners, kept me going and made sure I continued to put one foot in front of the other.
Days Three and Four were my best days, running wise, although during Day Four my ankle doubled in size. I wasn’t able to get the inflammation down enough to continue running all of the way so as the challenge continued, I was forced to return the good old military way of making progress and found myself tabbing to the finish line.
Obviously, training is essential, but I didn’t feel like I could really prepare myself mentally for the challenge. It quickly got to the point where it was simply mind over matter. That’s another benefit of my military training; no excuses. I was going to finish.
It was clear that a significant key to success was going to be the nutrition plan. For me, that meant real food, regularly. I needed to ensure that I wasn’t hungry or craving anything. It was all about the jam sandwiches and, of course, Jaffa Cakes. As well as being delicious, they became the only way I could count laps. With twelves laps and twelve Jaffa Cakes in a packet, as long as I remembered to only take one at a time, I knew how many laps I had completed. It’s surprising how quickly you can lose count between one and twelve.
Regardless of how tired I was, how sore my ankles were or how often I wondered why I had started the challenge in the first place, I focused on the charity I was raising money for. Combat Stress do an incredible job for servicemen and women and it’s an honour to have played a small part in helping them offer their services. I am happy, relived and grateful to have completed the ten days and I am inspired by all the athletes that I had the privilege of meeting.
A special thank you goes to Claire and the Brutal Team for my fabulous ten day holiday.
For more information on Michelle’s story, please click here.