Hmmm but I wasn't as quick as I wanted or should have been. I have been thinking about this a lot today during my drive to Worcester and back! The conclusion I have come to is I am like the child at school who is great in class, answers every question, work all completed to a high standard but put an exam paper in front of them and they go to pieces. That's me on race day! I do the training, it goes well and then race day comes around and the nerves and doubts begin and I am convinced it affects performance. My goal is to overcome this, I don't know how yet but I will do it...
Anyway back to St Peters Way, 45 miles from Chipping Ongar to Bradwell-on-sea, I knew it was going to be muddy and I was prepared. I wasn't prepared to be running on day 1 of my period (sorry to any guys reading but I have to mention this!) it wasn't due, I wasn't expecting it and I wasn't impressed!! Popping behind a tree for a wee is one thing having to sort out other bits isn't so much fun, a more secluded spot is needed! As it turned out it didn't really give me any extra problems on race day but was an extra stress I didn't need!
Registration, kit check and race brief done and we were off, it took me two whole legs to settle into the race and get my head into navigation mode, made some silly errors (how I suddenly didn't know my left from right I don't know!) I slipped in the mud about five miles in and had a horrible moment where I thought I had seriously hurt my left hamstring and ankle, but a stretch and a gentle run forwards and nothing felt too bad. My hamstring did twinge and niggle throughout the day and slowed my running down but I could still move forwards so just kept going at the best speed I could.
After very brief stops at checkpoints one and two I decided to have a minute longer at three to regroup make sure I'd eaten enough and made the decision to see if a couple of paracetamol would get me moving a bit quicker.
After leaving checkpoint three I did some maths and knew what speed I needed to stick at if I was going to better last years time it was going to be close. Even though I can't say my left leg was properly injured the earlier slip had obviously pulled things and power walking was proving less painful and quicker than the shuffly run I could manage. So a power walk to the finish it was going to be, I was always walking at four and a half miles an hour or quicker during the last two legs and even managed to overtake someone still running! I had enough food and drink to see me to the end so chose not to stop at checkpoint four. I shouted them my race number and said I'm not stopping, Vicky a friend who was at that CP said she needed a photo, so I paused very, very briefly and got on my way.
I haven't mentioned the mud much, but there was lots and lots and lots, who knew there were so many different types of mud! I was running in shorts and was caked in it when I got to the end, I'm not sure what was in the mud but when I washed it off (it took two baths!) I was left with a burning, red rash all over my lower legs!
Anyway back to the last leg, I was determined to finish before needing my headtorch but as it was getting colder I got it out at the same time as putting on an extra layer, this I managed without stopping, Lindley's advice of no matter what just keep moving was in my head and I was not going to slow down or stop for anything! I did a little (early) victory dance as the chapel came in to view and I knew I was nearly finished. I had about 30 minutes to get to the finish in the same time as last year. So I tried running 100 steps then walking 100 it seemed to work and the counting kept my head occupied! I was so pleased to see Maxine and Brian as I crossed the line, along with Richard, Rob and Len who had come to see myself and Lorraine finish, well done Lorraine on second female finisher, awesome running. My final time was 10:06 seven minutes quicker than last year. It is a great feeling to have friends at the finish line so thank you all for coming out to support and for driving me home, possibly not an offer I will get again after repeating last years post race vomiting!
I'm not hugely disappointed, I had a fantastic day but am frustrated that I don't perform as well as I know I could and should on race day. This is something I will conquer and hopefully some day out on the trails the final piece of the puzzle will fall into place and I will achieve my full potential. Until then I will keep running, keep training and most importantly keep enjoying it!! I still get excited when I get my new training plan each month, I love long Sunday morning runs, and I love going to races. I guess when it stops being fun that's the time for a rethink...
Thank you to Lindley, Maxine and all the volunteers at Challenge Running for all the support and an awesome event.
Happy running all xx