Yesterday was The Chiltern Way Ultra, 133 miles. My second attempt at the race. Well to be completely honest it didn't go well and instead of still being out there running I'm back at home writing this blog. So what went wrong...
Basically it was my head, I had been incredibly nervous to the point of making myself feel unwell all week and it did affect my running. I started off ok but it quickly went wrong. Every time I tried some speed or to power up an incline I felt I couldn't breath, my chest felt tight and it caused me a lot of worry. I got into CP1 a good half an hour behind where I wanted to be and dissolved into tears. I ate had some coke and was convinced by Maxine it was a panic/anxiety type thing and only I could sort it. So with the advice to relax and enjoy the scenery I set off again. I spoke to Richard on the phone, cried a bit and but kept moving forward, it was slow and I wasn't enjoying it. I had countless messages and phone calls from my amazing friends and family, I cried some more, kept moving, cried etc. what I couldn't do was improve my head, I had an overwhelming fear of it getting dark, relived some of my mistakes from last year and panicked some more and cried some more. I eventually made it to Cp2 way off my predicted time and told Emily and Paul I was done. They convinced me to have a rest eat and drink and see how I felt. Maxine arrived shortly afterwards and taped some blisters and hotspots that had started. I eventually and reluctantly left the CP but within a couple of minutes I knew I couldn't carry on so returned to the car park. Emily and Paul live in the same town as I do so drove me home. Do I regret my decision...
No there was no way I had another 100 miles in me, my legs and body felt worse than when I finished Saffron Trail and mentally I was a mess. Now I plan to rest, recover and look at some races for next year.
Running and racing is my escape and needs to be fun, it's what I do to escape the stress of everyday life, it's what I love, I felt none of that yesterday, nobodies fault, it was a tough day out on the trails attempting a tough race, I was one of only 5 competitors and it just wasn't happening for me, no excuses, no regrets. One to put down to experience and move on.
So that's the end of my summer of running and it has been awesome, it started at the beginning of my summer break from work with Saffron Trail which still makes me smile every time I think about it and I then went on to have some amazing runs with great friends, exploring lots of new routes and enjoying some great company.
St Cedds Pilgrimmage
This is a 23 mile figure of eight run starting at Southminster and taking in some of St Peters Way. myself, Rich, Len, Heydon and Otto (Hayden's dog) set off on a Sunday lunchtime to run this, it was my first long run since Saffron and we had a brilliant afternoon, in glorious sunshine, taking it nice and easy. It was Len's longest ever run and we ended with a drink in a pub in the sunshine.
This was another great run, Rich and I set off early to run a route he had done some years before, we took a map and my GPS. Several miles in I said I can navigate this with just the map and put the GPS away in my race vest. Well let's just say maybe I was a little optimistic with my navigation skills and our 10 mile run ended up being 15 miles! It did however make a lovely, circular 15miles run with some gorgeous trails and countryside and is a run I would happily do again!
Lea Valley Walk
This has to be one of my summer favourites, Richard had read about this walk and suggested we run some of it. The whole route starts in Luton and follows the Lea Navigation Canal into London and is 53 miles. We decided to start in Hertford and run to Tower Bridge, where we the. Had an invite to a party. Running 31 miles to a party is fun. It was a good route, easy navigation and in it's way very pretty, starting quite rural and ending in London was amazing and different. We even took a little detour to have a look round the Olympic site at Stratford. It was a good last long run before the Chilterns. We ran slowly, taking in the sites, stopped for a coffee, and had a really good day out. Definitely one to do again maybe next time the whole thing!
The summer has also been filled with parkrun, running and my stint as run director which I always enjoy immensely. Wednesday evenings have become hills night, a now quite large group of us head to Great Notley Country Park and do a hill session combined with some core/upper body exercises and quite often cake!! It is a brilliant evening with good friends and makes hill sessions much more enjoyable.
This is just a snapshot of some of the runs I have done this summer, the blog will be longer that the runs if I list them all! They have all been brilliant.
So even though yesterday didn't go as planned, I won't let it spoil an otherwise brilliant summer of running.
I have many people to thank for making this summer so brilliant, Richard your company, support and encouragement has been amazing and I will always be grateful and look forward to many more runs together while we get ready for St Peters next year!!
Len your support too has been fantastic, John Ray Walk was brilliant and again look forward to helping you prepare for St Peters as well.
Thanks to the rest of Great Notley parkrun core team, all of the hill running gang, Challenge Running for two epic ultra races and my friends and family for supporting and sponsoring.
Running is my life and I am privelaged to be able to train, race and be involved in running. This summer has been a special one that I will always remember. Back to work at the end of the week, happy and knowing that I have made the most of it with enjoyable running, great friends and beautiful trails.
Happy running all xx