The one where I get a awesome medal
Only 4 days after Pretty Muddy (and 10 days after London) I took on my next challenge. My first trail half marathon.
I had entered with a friend, but he sold his place a week before (he said he was working but I think he bottled it as he hadn’t trained) so I prepared myself to run on my own.
It was one of those days where I’m not quite sure what to wear … It had been raining and was quite chilly but the sun kept peeping through the clouds. I also read the instructions plenty of times and decided I would need a base layer, vest, long running leggings, a waterproof jacket and belt to hold a bottle of water. Within 10 minutes of setting off I realised I had made a dreadful mistake. The belt was uncomfortable (bought in haste from Sports Direct the night before), the bottle moved about and the water sloshed around, the waterproof was unnecessary and remained tied around my waist and my base layer was making me too hot.
The start was uphill and at the top of the first hill there was an even bigger one to go up. But the views were amazing. I made a decision early one that I would ‘power walk’ the hills and run the flat and downhill.
The sun shone and I plodded on. I was nowhere near the front but I wasn’t right at the back. But there was a big gap between me and the runners ahead and those behind. For about 20 minutes I didn’t see anyone else and had a panic that I had gone the wrong way … And with no mobile reception or map I had no clue where I was.
Fortunately the trail stopped and I was running on a lane … And I could see people ahead. It was at this point I was cursing the base layer and long leggings … It was far to warm and I was running low on water. I swallowed a gel and even managed to overtake the group ahead.
The next challenge was choosing which way to go. I had got to a bit of a junction and saw a few people running up a hill. But reading the instructions I wasn’t so sure that was the right direction … But my confidence in my own ability to map read isn’t that great. But, after a few minutes of checking and checking again I went in the opposite direction and followed a flatter route along the river. Luckily other people then came this way too … And one guy with a fancy GPS overtook me so at least I had someone to follow!!!
After more hills and more trails I was half a mile from the end … and another decision to make. Follow the lady that had gone to the right and seemed very confident that it was the right way, or follow my instincts and go left. Knowing I was close to the end (my watch showed me I had covered 13 miles) I wanted to be sure I was going the right way.
It was tough going and took me over 3 hours but I finished with a smile on my face and was awarded an awesome medal.
Race 28 complete!