Sunday, 22 May 2016

Event 19 of #fortyb4forty

I'm not going to lie. This was one of the toughest events I have ever done - physically and mentally.

Let me take y back 4 weeks. I had completed the Southampton Half-marathon and had enjoyed the experience. Within two days I had signed up for another half-marathon - the Ox Half.

Yesterday:  I arrived  with a friend from running club (thanks for the lift Linda!!) and, in the pouring rain, pitched my tent. Got utterly soaked but in the end got it up and all my things in. Having done that we went to see the start of the Light Ox, a 10k race. We hung around waiting for the spouse of another  club member finish his race. In that time I collected my run number for the next day, sampled the chips on offer (gluten free), and enjoyed a nice hot cup of tea. After that we went back to our tents to wile away some time until the Dark Ox race, of which Linda, Tiggy and Mike were taking part. Thankfully the rain has eased considerably by this time. Whilst waiting for them we were treated to this wonderful view:

So once they were successfully back it was bedtime.

Nice 6.30 view on opening my tent doors:
However after a trip to the loo I went back to sleep.

By the time I got up my nerves had started kicking in and I was seriously doubting my decision to take part. White Star Running, who organises these events, has a reputation for hilly trail runs. I didn't fully appreciate how hilly they would be, and the endurance I would need to complete the course. They also have a reputation for well organised and enjoyable events.

By the first hill, the steepness of that hill had installed a panic in me, and I really started to struggle. The downhills were fabulous, but each hill that we encountered seemed to get steeper and longer. We were even caught in a very heavy shower at one point also. One hill, known as Garlic Hill (wild garlic grows in these forests), was one of the worse. I was struggling knowing that I had a blister on one heel, my hip and thigh on the other leg were quite sore, and made anymore running quite hard. This hill I found particularly hard, mentally and physically. The 'path' was just a strip of sticky thick mud in which my feet slipped and slid in all directions, nearly landing me in the bushes in several occasions. The hill was steep and seemed endless. Mentally, I really was not coping with this and it was purely one foot in front of the other that kept me moving forward, plus the fact that I had to carry on. It really was a test of my endurance, both physically and mentally. My feet were slipping in thickly sticky mud along the route, I struggled with the narrowness of walking paths. Tears and panic did make an appearance on several occasions, particularly the last hill. 

On the upside, the views were spectacular. Here's one we were treated to:

The final hill led to the finish. How I stayed on my feet was a miracle, and it was the longest 400m I have done to the end of a race. I had nothing left in me and couldn't even quicken up to a jog to the finish the last 50 metres. But ultimately I did it. I got around within the time limit allowed (just!!!) Although some one had assured me the organisers were fairly flexible with the times had I been a little slower. 

So here are the elevations and I've circled with what I recall was Garlic Hill:
Looking down Garlic Hill (picture borrowed from a friend) and still had a while to the top: 

So, I finished it. I felt broken mentally and physically. The hugs from running club members were much welcome. This really was a tough challenge. I then had to pack up my tent and belongings to go home!! I think that nearly broke me altogether when the wind suddenly picked up, the rain started and the thought of taking my tent down was nearly too much for me. 

So, another event done. Despite the difficulties encountered I am glad that it is done, and I didn't give up when I could have easily done so at a food station. 

Monday, 16 May 2016

Event 18 of #fortyb4forty

Before any smart people notice yes, my last event I blogged about was number 15. That's because I have done two parkruns, in the company of my daughter since number 15.

So, yesterday I did the Moors Valley 10k run. It was lovely weather, if a little hot, which made it hard to run. Moors Valley Country Park is a beautiful location with lots of paths, although having to do two loops of one area was a little disheartening. The second loop was much better. 

So armed with the same running buddy as the Eastleigh 10k, we set off. The course was undulating, but not hilly. There is a difference!! The course was a mix of Tarmac and gravel paths. Ultimately we completed it, and came away with a medal. The event did start later than advertised, which made me a little antsy as I just wanted to get going, but eventually we were off.

Much to the amusement and bemusement of Becky, I got a few comments of 'Run Mummy Run' and she just couldn't figure out why to begin with. I was wearing this which still gave her no clues:
I then explained that the kit came from a running community group called 'Run Mummy Run' on Facebook. They also  have their own shop for clothing. I have to say that I love my socks. They have made running so much more comfortable. They were definitely worth investing in. The Skort was also from the same company, and sadly is being discontinued. But these items do define a community that has a common cause - running. Hence, the comments from complete strangers.

What I also did by wearing the Skort was to expose the unsuspecting public to my milk bottle legs. I have fully accepted that I don't tan as my skin is quite fair thanks to be being a redhead. But, it was going to be hot. Sadly though the shorts under the skirt did ride up and cause a little soreness, so I need to find some silicone tape stuff to sew on and hopefully prevent that happening again. Either that or find my body glide I had bought when I went open water swimming last year - once. 

So, the next event is next Sunday. Another half marathon. I had vowed to my husband that after Southampton Half Marathon I wouldn't do another half marathon. So I'm off to Wiltshire to do the Ox Half including some camping as well with some friends too. Because sleep is really going to happen!

must check the tent!!!! 

This week is also PSP awareness week. I really hope that through my challenge I can raise money for a cause that can help more families who struggle with the day to day of Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. 

Only 22 more events to go before next February.