The Year of OCR… My Next Tough Challenge

Paid partnership with Black Tower Wine


This year has seen the return of OCR for me… I did my first Obstacle Course Race, Men’s Health Survival, back in 2011 and again the following year and I loved both, even though I’d done them solo. I also took on a local OCR called WAR with some friends and had the BEST time. But then I didn’t do another one until this year where so far I’ve completed 6 Spartan races! I also plan to hit up Nuclear Races sometime, but OCR season just couldn’t be complete without taking on a Tough Mudder, right?

To be honest, I don’t know how I’ve gone so long without having done a Tough Mudder – it’s the first race people think of when you mention OCR, with its infamous electric shock therapy obstacle. But so far Tough Mudder has escaped me… until now!

Joining the Tribe… Cheers To Me!

Black Tower wine, the official wine sponsor of Tough Mudder, invited me to be a part of their Black Tower Tough Mudder Tribe, conquering the Tough Mudder race and, of course, celebrating with some wine afterwards… #cheerstome! I’m a big believer in “no food (or drink) barred” and wine is absolutely in my diet and something I enjoy to wind down after a long day, or celebrate with when I achieve something, so I was absolutely on board.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Ian and I have both signed up for the London South Half course on Saturday 29th September. With Ian still recovering from his ankle injury in March, and me currently suffering a double whammy of plantar fasciitis and peroneal tendonitis, we will definitely be treading carefully while charging headfirst through the obstacles. I can’t wait!

The official Black Tower obstacle this year is the Kiss of Mud – this involves crawling under barbed wire, but actually we’ve found from previous OCRs that the quickest way to get through is to roll… a great excuse to roll around in mud with my boyfriend!

Tough Mudder Prep

OCRs may seem a little intimidating, but with our history of running and CrossFit, I’d like to think we’re pretty well prepared for whatever Tough Mudder can throw at us! CrossFit is such great training for OCR, with exercises like pull-ups and toes to bar transferring well to monkey bars (although will someone please tell my body that as I KEEP failing them!) and deadlifts/cleans transferring well to pulling tasks. I’ve definitely found I need less help at obstacles than I used to before starting CrossFit. Although OCR, and especially Tough Mudder, is also about teamwork so I’m looking forward to taking this on with Ian by my side and meeting other runners to tackle the obstacles together.

Not really knowing what to expect with Tough Mudder specifically, my main focus for getting prepared is to get my mud smile on and my teamwork helping hand ready. I’ve also heard I need to get ready for an ice bath dip… I wonder if I can bring a couple of bottles of Black Tower in there with me?! Tough Mudder – here we come!

The Power of Home – Thoughts From My Sofa

This is a paid advertorial with DFS.

When my husband and I bought our first home together, the first piece of furniture we bought was our sofa. The sofa was the most important piece to us, along with our dining table; both were places for us to sit together, relax after a long day, talk, laugh and spend quality time together. We even had our first Valentine’s meal in the house (four days after moving in!) perched on our sofa, surrounded by boxes.

To celebrate their sponsorship of Team GB, DFS have been working with the team to highlight the “power of home” in rest and relaxation in the run up to the Rio Olympics. Being able to switch off and let the body and mind recover is extremely important to Olympic athletes, such as Laura Trott, who apparently likes to relax on the sofa while watching EastEnders.

But rest is also important to us more ordinary “athletes”, so I thought I’d share how I relax and recover on my sofa at home.

How I Recover at Home

Socialising

My husband and I spend a lot of time together on the sofa; talking, watching films, enjoying a glass of wine (occasionally champagne!) or just doing our own thing, together. Like Laura Trott, we actually got engaged at home too – there was no place I’d rather have been in that moment than in our own home. We tend to get our most stressful conversations out of the way standing up, saving the sofa for relaxation, which also helps to keep those rant moments to a minimum!

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Blogging

This might be an obvious one, but you’ll often see me sitting on my sofa with my laptop out, tapping away – believe it or not, writing is relaxing for me! But, locking myself away at my desk when I get home from work means I don’t get as much time with my husband when we both already work busy jobs, so the sofa makes it easier for us to catch up while I write. I also find it easier to pull myself away when I’m in our joint living space, which helps prevent me overworking and keeps writing as a relaxation activity.

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Reading

On that same Valentine’s day that we had our first sofa-meal together, my husband bought me a kindle and I’ve had the same one for over four years now. Sometimes I’ll indulge and spend an hour or so sprawled across my sofa reading, but otherwise I steal blocks of time here and there to have a read; like while our dinner is cooking. The great thing about kindles* is they remember your page so you can dip in and out of books when you have time. I love to read personal development books, but also fiction.

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Colouring In

I’ve had colouring books for years now, since a close friend got one, and I remember people laughing when I first got one! Now they seem to have grown in popularity and I love that it’s more of an acceptable thing to sit with your coloured pens/pencils and relax. Colouring is great for relaxation and stress-reduction. Like The Wind (the quarterly running magazine) even have a colour-in cover for their 9th edition, which I love!

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Pampering

Another way I relax on my sofa is by giving myself a mani-pedi. My hands can get pretty beaten up in CrossFit, so I give them a little TLC and then paint my nails. Sports and fitness can be seen as quite masculine things to do sometimes, so I like to feel like a girl again with some nail polish every now and then… even if it does get chipped by a barbell again very quickly! I’m loving all the summer colours coming out.

The Power of Home

Home life is important to everyone, athlete or otherwise. How you choose to spend your time, and having the right support system in place, can be the key to rest and recovery that helps you always feel ready to take on the next challenge. For Laura Trott, being at home means the support of her friends and family – the power of home in its truest form.

How do you get your rest and relaxation at home? Does your sofa have any special memories for you?

As well as celebrating the power of home, DFS have also launched The Britannia, a specially designed, limited edition sofa that celebrates Team GB and provides a centre piece to British House: the home of Team GB in Rio. You can follow DFS on Twitter and Instagram.

Photos taken using my Olympus PEN E-PL7* and M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 45mm 1:1.8 Lens*.

* Affiliate link. Affiliate links do not affect the price that you pay, but any commission earned helps me to pay the costs of running this site. To find out more about my policy on this and other matters, see my Disclosure page.