Had me a blast! Unfortunately this time referring to ‘blast’ as in the destructive sense. Throughout April and May I was feeling inspired, energised and actually getting on with running a consistent schedule achieving slightly ahead of plan. The excitement of this and an upcoming event, the Maverick Race Gloucestershire on 30th June, encouraged me to dream up the additional challenges of running a total of 100 miles during June and doing the Kinetic Revolution 30 Day Challenge which I then (foolishly?) committed to Instagram.
What I hadn’t factored in while deciding ‘now’ was the time to try these goals was that I had already agreed, saved in my diary and everything, to a mindfulness workshop, a wedding, a festival weekend, oh and my birthday, all in the early part of the month.
Let’s reflect on the positive first… I more or less managed to keep following the training plan all the way through the month and added in a couple of extra short runs to try and build up the mileage to the magic 100. However, I missed a long run of 11 miles the day after the wedding (hello, hangover!) and was about that distance short of 100 by the end of June, so not too disappointed with that one. This challenge is on again for August – one week in I’m at 35 miles so looking more hopeful this time! I started the 30 day challenge and managed to get a weeks worth done then ended up forgetting one day and it fell apart from there. I’d expected to find this one hard to maintain and perhaps that thought pattern was setting myself up for failure. I could have been more organised I think and set a specific time for when I would get it done each day rather than just assuming I would fit it in somehow. The other thing I started wondering was how much of it I needed to do given that I cross-train anyway through teaching classes.
The final one, the FUN one, the Maverick Race Gloucestershire. I was so excited about this race, getting to go out on the hills, I had my parents there for support, feeling confident about the distance, beautiful sunny day, but then it all ended up working out very differently than I had expected. There’s a possibility I may have had one to many cups of coffee during the morning leading up to the start and that, combined with nervous excitement, worry about how hot it would get (seriously hot), and not going to the loo enough beforehand, all contributed to let’s say feeling ‘uncomfortable’ almost all the way around which seriously affected my pace (but did keep me moving forward). Starting at Sudeley Castle main car park we set off from the beautiful stately home grounds then quickly out to the surrounding roads and onto the fields. There were a few stiles to navigate and narrow sections where we had to go single file so more walking pace than I would have liked, but, that did give time to take in the beautiful views and catch my breath. Most of my training does not involve any elevation at all so even a gentle slope made itself felt. About an hour in, past the turning off for the shorter route I followed the middle route I’d signed up for, past the first aid station, feeling alright even with the high summer sun heating things up, had found somewhere to duck out for a wee, then reached the main hill. I saw everyone else walking, I decided to march/run as much as possible. This was my biggest mistake I think. I heard my inner voice saying ‘I feel sick’ quite a few times but kept going at it.
Eventually decided an energy bar might help although I probably needed water more I wasn’t enjoying it when I did try to drink. The rest of the run from here was damage limitation, run/walk much slower than I’m used but as fast as I could manage, another couple of energy bars from the next aid station and managing to get some water down, some friendly support from another runner I kept meeting and passing, and even more beautiful views. I didn’t really think about the possibility of not finishing until very near the end when the quickest way to get back was actually just to get round. I finished. Medal and goodies. Toilet. Refuelling in the shade. Immense amount of gratitude for having mum and dad there to get me home (unfortunately with an emergency stop, my inner voice was right). Full of determination to go back next year and do it again and see if I can improve. Physical discomfort aside, which is not unusual when running even at the best of times, it was totally worth it. Check out the views… such a beautiful summer day!