>Another 3 weeks of loosey-goosey, run-for-fun fun …
Saturday October 10th we organised a race on our farm for the WWFOR – the Lincolnshire Lollop. A whole bunch of bloggers who have been meeting on a more or less yearly basis for the WWFOR and the White Peak half were joined by other friends and family and we ran 5Ks, 10Ks, halves and full marathons in 1.4 mile loops around the farm. Toni summed it all up pretty well in this video:
Can you tell we had a good time?
A week later, another great race – a birthday present to myself. I’ve always wanted to run an off-road, muddy, challenging race and sometime this summer, when I was feeling blue and unmotivated, I signed up for the Salomon Turbo X Sheffield trail race. It was a freezing cold day – 2.5 degrees C when I left and pulling up at the race venue I really started doubting the wisdom of what I was doing. For one thing, everyone looked very fit. For another, they were all wearing trail shoes.. The Salomon gear tent had a sale on and I was very quickly convinced to buy my first pair of trail running shoes.
relaxing in the car before the race
race banners at the start – it was cold!
For the first time in – well, ever? – I warmed up before a race because I didn’t want to do the race in too many layers (I knew I would get filthy) and I also knew there wouldn’t be anywhere to leave my layers. As soon as the race kicked off, I realised I was doing something entirely new. The race started off downhill through a field and before we knew it were in the woods. I did not have my Garmin on – it’s a bit too precious for this! – but for about 60/70 minutes we were running on roads and narow trails through woods. Then came the first steep incline. Like so steep that you could not run up it, you just had to slowly walk your way up and occasionally pull yourself up by a tree or a root. A flat bit at the top to catch your breath, and then it was down again – equally carefully. A flat bit at the bottom, and then up again a similar incline. And down again. I could begin to feel my legs taking a beating. We then ran on through the woods again and by this stage I had made a new friend, Marie. We were running at a similar pace and she was the one who advised me not to run the hills – wise advice this proved. She’s a sports therapist and we ran on for quite a way talking about life, love, kids, work, running. We were wondering where the “real mud” was going to start as we went into what was advertised as the Turbo Zone. For the first part this was still just trail running through the woods and then – all of a sudden – the mud started. For some time – I have no idea how long but maybe about 30 minutes?- we just went through one muddy trench after the other. In the water, out of the water. Up a hillside, down a hillside, back into the water. The water was freezing but I can’t tell you what fun we were all having. Everyone was trying to get through without falling over – not very succesfully – and it was the most wonderful atmosphere. There was NO competition, just people helping each other and laughing.
After about a mile or so of this, we came out of the zone and by then my legs were truly trashed. I had gone into this race thinking 10 miles were piece of cake. Although I knew the race had trails and mud in it, I had not counted on waist-deep trenches filled with cold mud. And so, by this stage, I was wet, cold and exhausted. And the race was still not over! Had Marie not been my new best friend by this stage I would have given up completely and just laid myself down in a sunny grassy spot. But on we went, walking up the hills, running down them, through the woods, past lying race marshalls (only 1K to go – yeah right!) until we finally saw the finish which we crossed hand in hand. Followed by a big hug!
Look at my new shoes! Thankfully they cleaned up nicely..
There were no showers so I stripped down to my underwear (everyone was doing it, honest!) and quickly changed into some dry clothes and drove home.
This is what I looked like when I got home – it took some showering to get rid of all of that mud!
Recovery took longer than I had thought – Monday morning I had speedwork on the books but there was no way – I could barely walk down the stairs. Instead, I took my bike out for a very leisurely 15 miler. I made it all the way to the treadmill on Tuesday but after 3K it became very clear that I wasn’t going to get those fast mile repeats in on that day either. It was also my birthday, and I had a new iPad charging up on my desk at home, so I decided my decision was made and went home.
Then on Wednesday it was a drive down to London again – one day earlier than normal – to meet up with Portland running and yoga blogger Emily and her friend Cyndi who were in London for a few days. We met up with BFF Dawn and went out to Wahaca for margaritas and burritos, and generally had a great time. Sightseeing / shopping Thursday and Thursday evening I went to my Interior Design course at Central Saint Martins, the official reason for my weekly trips to London. Then Friday morning I whizzed back home again to start the weekend and my kids’ autumn break. To be greeted by this:
Which, as you all know is a big deal. It’s a big deal because man, this year it was no easy feat. And it’s a big deal because I didn’t get to run it this April. And it’s a big deal because man! It’s Boston! I have some thoughts on Boston filling up so early, and all that might be done to change that, but they’re nowhere near crystallised enough. I’ll tell you what I think when I know what I think..
The next post will follow shortly – I’m writing it right now – but I’m going to finish this one up and take a breather because there is SO much to talk about!