This run was different, this run was not what either I nor Enda expected and this run was tough!
Things I have learnt following todays run:-
Don’t plan a run on or near to the longest (and hottest) day of the year. We believed as this was a forest run it would be covered. Only about 40% was and for the rest we baked. There was one water station which was just after the 4K marker and this wasn’t enough for those who hadn’t taken their own water (thankfully I did).
Don’t run a trail run in a yellow/green top – I was covered in bugs for most of the run and at one stage I inhaled one. They seemed to love my top and I had this constant cloud of small bugs flying around me for most of the time. Next time I wear that top on a trail (next time!) I am taking plenty of insect repellent!
Don’t got out for a large meal the night before a run – well not a run friendly one at least! This was Endas first trip to Colchester so we had a leisurely afternoon in the garden (afternoon tea with Irish tea cake) and then we went to a lovely restaurant outside of Colchester. We’d not been there before but the Lion was stunning – the food was absolutely lovely.
I ended up having three courses (more than I should have) and enjoyed root vegetable soup, local beef burger and triple dipped chips and lemon tart – all very nice but all a lot to digest and to be honest I don’t think I did digest it properly which meant I was sluggish this morning.
Don’t drink the night before a run! – I hardly every drink but fancied a glass of wine with dinner – Enda and I ended up having a bottle of Pinot. Not content with blowing the pre run plan we came back to the house around 10:30 (it really was a lovely evening) and sat in the garden in candle light. We had a toasted the run with a lovely bottle of pink champagne Enda kindly gave us and I think we turned in just before midnight.
The booze in my system gave me a restless night. I was up at 3 for a drink and a loo break and I spent the next 3 hours trying to get back to sleep. I eventually got up around 6:20 to shower and get breakfast ready ahead of the drive to the run.
I was feeling fine considering but the combination of the heat and a tummy fully of part digested rich food meant at the 3KM markers I had to stop as I thought I was going to throw up!
The debauchery was self-inflicted but the course turned out to be a real bitch.
We were warned at the start that some places were uneven and to watch the first sharp corner from the start as it was a mixed of baked churned up mud, cow pats and some wet mud. I managed to negotiate my way around the corner in amongst the crowd of runners ok but the guy in front of me lost his shoe and had to go back to retrieve it from the mud!
From there we encountered our first hill over long grass and pasture and the race seemed to continuously head uphill from that point.
I thought I had found a good pace but it was clear when I paused at 3K to catch my breath that I was running too fast – especially in the heat.
Once past the 5K marker I got into a rhythm and found my normal training pace which was good enough for the course today. I wasn’t planning on breaking any records, I would have liked to run a sub 1 hour but this was not the course on which to do it.
There were so many twists and turns, uneven surfaces, cow pats, mud, trees, horses etc to manoeuvre it was hard to find a steady rhythm throughout the race.
The best section was just after 6K which was a completely shaded avenue of trees – of course I didn’t realise this was the longest single section and the sneakiest and craftiest hill. Getting to the top was a great achievement but we were immediately plunged straight into the sun and heat once more.
I didn’t seem to worry about the KMs once I passed 6 (I used to stress myself out at 8K). My training hasn’t really gone past 7K but that didn’t deter me. I just found a pace and kept going – willing myself to continue running (knowing if I stopped or had to walk it would be in the heat).
7K turned out to be my fastest lap and 8 came up really quickly.
However this wasn’t that great as I realised around 6K that the markers were out and my Garmin was beeping after each marker – sometimes way after each marker. This is probably why I didn’t think about the 7K marker as I past the sign way before my watch beeped and was closer to 8K when it had.
6,7 and 8 also worried me as I lost the feeling in the toes on my right foot. Pins and needles in my little toe spread across my foot and I could not feel my toes for most of this segment. This was bloody uncomfortable and I had to stop a couple of times to try to loosen my right shoe. I don’t know if I tied them too tight, if the shoes were not right for the course or whether I have something odd going on with my right foot but it hurt. In fact it didn’t. At one point I stumbled in the grass and kicked the ground hard – I remember saying “ow” but it didn’t hurt – I honestly could not feel anything.
This confused and annoyed me (and other runners) as you could not truly gauge how far or fast you had to run.
Turns out the course was actually 10.3K long and the 10K beep on my watch was at the marker – I was very annoyed at this stage though as I had no idea how far I had to go as I could not see the finish.
9K was fast too but the early segment was annoying as I was so focussed on avoiding a massive cow pat that I banged my head into a low branch of a tree – that woke me up!
I was really pleased to finish this race and as you can see from the photos very relieved to finish too. There are pics of Enda finishing but I won’t share them as he looks rather hacked off at how hard the race was.
I was so pleased Richard came along to support us – I am not sure I would have had the energy to drive back – my ankle was killing me when I finished.
Stretching, using the foam roller, a hot shower to clean up and cold shower to take away the aches all helped and I feel ok now – ok I am tired but much better than I was.
The races raised money for a local children’s hospice and I take my hat off to one runner who ran the 5K race with his severely disabled son in a specially adapted wheelchair which he pushed around the entire course. He was raising money for the hospice as they look after his son and he was a true inspiration.
The runners were lovely too and all really friendly – when the guy lost his shoe at the start of the race another run retrieved it from the mud and gave it to him. There was a team of teenage boys running to raise money for a friend whose brother died of a brain tumour and one of the guys got separated from the pack – he looked tired and scared and I tried to give him some encouragement mid run which I hope helped.
I also got to meet a fellow Running Bug member today who happened to be running – he stopped to say hello and wish me well. Lovely to meet you Baz – glad to hear you found the course as hot and hard as we did 😉
Enda completed the race in 53 minutes and I finished the Hatfield Forest 10+K in 1:08:39 – it’s not my fastest 10K time but given it was longer than 10K, was a horrible course and a blistering hot day I am more than happy with my time.