This is only my second post, so I apologise to the blogging world for being a bit rubbish at this!
So, what is my title about?
Two things. First the good:
I ran three records! I ran my first ever 10k and first ever trail race, and my first ever 10k trail race! (OK, so the last one is a bit of a cheat…)
I ran the very pretty, but very hilly Shoreham Woods 10k Trail Run last Saturday. Prior to this my furthest run distance was 5.5 miles (5 miles as a race – the Harvel5, and 5.5 on a wet Sunday morning many weeks ago). I really enjoyed these previous distances; the Harvel5 because it was pretty and my first ‘real’ race, and the training run as it was cool (thanks to the rain) and at a nice gentle pace (I don’t like to push myself and get all hot and sweaty – eeewww). So, I wanted to try my hand at a 10k to go that bit further, and I wanted a medal, so I looked for an event.
I had the choice of two local runs which matched the rough date I was looking at – a nice, flat, coastal path, or a trail run. I opted for the latter (I don’t remember why), and started some training, which I promptly gave up after three weeks of the eight week plan. Not great, but I did get a few runs in those other weeks, mainly to be doing something while Adam was out as well (BTW check out his blog – much more running-relevant and far funnier to read!). So I didn’t lay the best foundation for what was to come.
Since I started running ‘properly’ (i.e. with a running watch) I have always prided myself on having run all the races/events I have entered, be that a Saturday parkrun or races. I always take them that bit slower so that I can save myself for the harder aspects of a route. That was all I really had going for me, as I am not fast or elegant, or…. anything else a runner can be! So I hoped the same for this 10k trail. I was also hoping for sub-80 minutes.
On race day, I got the nerves – the butterflies, the random goose-bumps, the can’t-keep-stills. Adam, was very calming (as an experienced racer) and was giving me lots of soothing, supportive words etc. But it didn’t help when I couldn’t get my watch to connect only a few minutes before the start. But then maybe that was a good thing as it kept me distracted for a bit before the off.
Anyway, long story short, I started well – I ran the first 5k reasonably happily: a tad ahead of my target time, but actually my slowest 5k ever!, and I kept moving up all the hills that showed themselves, passing all those that sprinted past me earlier on (some would later catch me up, but many wouldn’t). Until I reached that 5k mark. It was actually on the way up a hill, and I was attacking it with all I could – keeping the pace slow, but still up on toes, making progress, but it seemed never ending… I could see what I thought was the top, and still tried to keep going, but I couldn’t. I swore (hoping the lady next to me agreed with my comment) and started walking. Even that was harder than I expected. I was rewarded for my choice to walk though as I neared what I thought was the top and found that it actually went up more just around the corner, and knew I would never have been able to conquer that, so it was best I gave up early.
From then on it was better – flatter for a while and with some gorgeous views across the valley, but also some steep down-hills over fields and some less long, but still steep, hills towards the end.
Having watched a video of the first time the race was run, there is a down followed by an up over some fields. At 2km to go, I hadn’t seen this come up and so was thinking they had changed the course route. I was wrong – it was there, 1km from the end and was a pain in the arse. I ran what I could, but again gave it up and walked, again, for the right reasons as it got much steeper once you entered the woods.
Then it ended – there was a count down of the last 400m on signs, and I tried to pick it up for the last 200m, but it was on a hill, so more walking occurred. Then I saw the end – a nice flat bit of path running across a bridge over the M25, so I picked it up, started running, then (my version of) sprinting to the finish line to complete in 1:20:56 to the sound of Adam and some strangers shouting my name! Slightly over my goal time, but with those hills, I am surprised I wasn’t slower! (Adam finished in just under 48 minutes and in 14th place. Again – read his blog, it is a great read.)
Annoyingly, the watch recorded it as 6.17 miles, so no 10k time, but still a longest distance, and it appears as though a few people lost signal in the woods, so I think it was the full distance. Something I should be able to beat next time anyway!
So the ‘up and up’ was the hills. The never-ending, muddy, slippy, evil hills.
Next to the bad:
My weight has gone up. A lot. By a stone in about 6 weeks maybe.
Not great. Need to shift it ASAP as have a holiday to Turkey booked for first week of October and I don’t want to be this fat again while on holiday. This is the stone I had lost previously. I can’t remember how, but I don’t want it back – it can sod off. I know why I have it back, I have been eating piles of rubbish for ages, and have enjoyed doing so, but it needs to stop. So am watching what I eat now, and plan to get back on with the running, which has got off to a good start as I pushed myself out of the house last night for a 2 mile jog, and not even because Adam was going out… Though he wasn’t home as he was running back from work in London to Bromley, then getting the train the rest of the way. Just a trivial 11 miles!