Run With H(e)art
Today was the first of 12 half marathons that I am hoping to run in 2016 in support of the charity, Mind. More details on which races I am entered for or entering and why I have chosen Mind as my charity can be found here.
Up at 06:30; coffee, porridge w/ blueberries, shower and out on my way to meet my car ride at Woodford Station. I had connected with fellow runners Rob and Anna via the organisers Trailscape so we could all travel down in 1 car. Was nice to meet new people and we spent the 60 minute journey to Ashurst (near Royal Tunbridge Wells) chatting, mostly about running.
Upon arrival at Trailscape HQ we registered and picked up our numbers and timing dibber. A short briefing followed which basically told us what we already knew, the course was muddy.
10:15 and we were off, a short section of road before a sharp left into the first field. Early going was good and I probably went too quickly because of it. My ill advised pace had taken me ahead of Anna (Rob was way ahead chasing a victory) but as the mud started to zap my energy she passed me at about mile 3.
Eventually the route moved away from the boggy fields and we joined a trail that was once a railway line, so nice and flat and most importantly dry. With the change in terrain I was able to pick up my pace and get into a nice rhythm that meant I caught up with Anna. We ran together until the first water station at almost 7 miles; took opportunity to have one of my energy gels, grabbed some jelly beans and we were off again.
The next key terrain change was a wide concrete path that inclined steeply. With the surface water the blades on my trail shoes could not grip and I fell back once more as Anna climbed comfortably.
From wide tarmac paths we moved to fields again and this time they were lumpy, boggy and hungry for my shoes. A mile of this completely drained me and I was beginning to wonder why I was putting my body through this.
With around 4.5 miles left I dug deep and ran when I could and walked when it hurt too much. I got encouragement from fellow runners and returned it right back. There was one more water station at about mile 10 (or was it 11?) and then back on the old railway line trail signalling the end was near.
There was still time for more boggy fields and most of the last mile essentially all uphill.
Finally we were back on the road we started on and I crossed the finish line just in time for cramp to strike in both quad muscles.
Medal, Tshirt and final time sheet collected it was time to head home.
Will I run another trail half? Maybe, but not in the immediate future.
Very honorable mention to Rob who finished 3rd! His time of 01:41 is 9 mins faster than my PB for a road based half. Amazing.
Oh, I didn't mention the myriad styles we had to traverse. Death traps pure and simple.
The title of this post refers to how I hope I ran today but also a nod to a Nike sponsored event happening tomorrow where 1000 runners will be joining American comedian Kevin Hart for a 5K in Battersea Park. Unfortunately I am working so was unable to sign up. Oh well, next time.