Sunday morning, the wind (again!) is blowing a gale and it’s raining. Yet another storm is beating us but after a good nights sleep I’m feeling rested and ready to run. It’s been a drop back week, and I have really enjoyed/needed it! 13 miles, easy, let’s do this!
I turned up at Peter, my friends house, just before 8am. We jumped into the car and made our way to his friends house, who live opposite the start line, so we were able to keep warm, dry and take full advantage of a nice toilet!!!! The race didn’t start until 10am but I hadn’t registered, so we had to make our way over a little earlier. We ended up hanging around for a bit longer than expected, and I’d wished I’d bought a foil wrap or bin bag as I felt very cold and quite miserable. Nevertheless, we chatted and soon it was time to start.
The race had a whopping 3,000+ runners taking part, and the start line was packed. Not helped by the fact we started on a small footpath and I was wedged on the edge of the grassy slope, trying not to slide down. I’d also missed the chance to use the toilet again, and I really needed to go….with no time, the gun sounded and we slowly started to filter our way over the start line. I felt mentally ready and prepared for this supposedly flat course, and enjoy some easy miles.
With 3 miles under my belt, I came across the first incline, over one of the main roads. It wasn’t too bad, over the top and down the other side, I continued, feeling good but going a little too fast…thankfully the rain had stopped but the wind was still quite strong. Then around mile 5, I had a huge strop. The wind was strong and we were running right into it. I was swearing quite loudly, and I think the guy running next to me was having a good giggle, but he then offered to run in front and shield me from the wind. I’m so thankful for his kindness and around mile 6.5 waved him off. The next 6.5 miles were a mental battle and all I wanted to do was finish.
The course had started to double back now and continuing at a faster than normal pace, my legs felt ok. I did try to slow my pace but I was desperate to get the run over and done with, I carried on and tempted to try and get a PB. That soon went out of the window at mile 12 when I hit one of the last hills over the road bridge and up towards the finish area. Keeping my eyes on the field where everyone was, I kept my mind occupied by watching those running past me, spectators and thinking how close I was to being done. As I turned the corner, I saw Peter, I ran hard and over the finish line. Crossing with a time of 1:53:25, not a PB, but I was damn happy and so glad.
I grabbed my medal, some water and wondered over to a patch of grass to take a breath and register what just happened. I was proud of my perseverance, my battle against a very unhappy mind and legs that felt so jelly like towards the end, I wasn’t sure if they were still with me! I soon found Peter, we grabbed our bags and headed back to the car. As we were passing the finish line, I saw Jez, a fellow Brooks Run Happy Team member crossing as I passed. I shouted his name and was able to snap a quick photo before parting ways! HOW he runs in this stormtrooper outfit, I don’t know, but I take my hat off to him!
Back at the car, we were both glad to be sat down and home we headed. I felt wiped and sore. I won’t lie, I actually hated that race. I did NOT expect the hills and I still can’t get my head around it being a PB course – even though I know a few people who got PB’s….!!!
Although I didn’t enjoy the race, I do want to say a massive thank you to everyone who volunteered and helped run a very smooth and well organised race. The bag drop was extremely well managed, there were constant updates and people around to ask questions.
A massive well done to everyone who ran last weekend in the horrid weather and it looks like we are in for another battering this weekend! Stay positive and good luck!