Tag Archives: trail running

Loving to Love the Trail!!

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WHERE DID IT START??

Back on the 9th of June I blogged about a run called otmoor challenge which saw me making the bold statement that “I was NEVER running off road again”. Not long after that I was asked by the running club to be part of the ladies relay at the Tring ridgeway! I went and practiced my leg with an amazing runner from club and I almost cried 2 miles into the 6. I Hated off road running! But what shocked me was that I HATED that I hated it! Everyone is almost talking about how beautiful trails are, how much quicker the run passes by and just generally about how much more awesome it was and I longed to LOVE it!

LOVING TO HATE

Not long after that practice I did the ridge way – with NO tears!!! I even ran the mile long hill at the end without stopping!

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Since then I have completed Standish Woodland chase – in the most awful down pour of rain and 1000ft of elevation in the first mile, The thunder run 24 hour relay and Tring Ridgway 9(ish) miler with so many ups and downs I was almost sick but even managed a smile at the top of the hill!!

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Photo courtesy of Barry Cornelius

As much as I was starting to get the post run buzz and could see the beauty of these runs I still was not enjoying the actual run … but my opinion was slowly changing to LOVING to HATE them!!

HOWEVER ………

Bring on Rugged Radnage 10K!! I got up this morning thinking “I might just get back into bed”… bed just seemed the better option against mud, hills, sweat and quite possibly tears and tantrums!! But I had paid for it and I knew I would regret it later!!

3Km in and my mind was made up … I had been converted !! The mud, the hills, the downs, the trees, the views, the people … everything about it I loved and halfway round for some strange reason I wanted to know what defined trail running!!

DEFINITION …….

Search for a definition of trail running and you get Wikipedia describing running over trails but I prefer Rapid ascent’s description of “leaving the noise, pollution and bitumen characteristics of road running far behind in favour of nature such as forests, parkland, valleys and mountains” (found at http://www.rapidascent.com.au). HOWEVER today I came up with my own definition. “Trail running is the only type of running that it is acceptable to have a 12 minute mile followed by an 8:30 minute mile”. I never understood the mentality of trail running isn’t about pace! I was always a “go and smash it” kinda girl!! But today I felt comfortable not being a crazed Garmin checker to make sure I’m on for that PB …. Today I didn’t check my watch at all!! I didn’t care that I walked up the hill … it was the size of everest after all and I was more out of breath walking up it than I was running the rest of the run!!

CONCLUSION ……

I think I have gave so much effort to my recent trail experiences that I have made myself Love to Love the trail. It took time to realise that its harder and I can’t keep an 8:30 min mile when I need to think about tree roots, mud, hills, gravel, ground, weather etc etc etc! But one thing is for sure …. I’m more knackered tonight that I am after running a road 10k! Will I be running more trails …. most definitely …… my next one is already booked!!!

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Happy Running

Sandie

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OTMOOR CHALLENGE – JUNE 7th

Well what can I say …. this race was in our running club champs so I signed up! I obviously didn’t take note of the name …. Otmoor CHALLENGE!! A off road half marathon …. what could be so bad!! Its always hot they said …. it was forecast torrential rain!! Its a hilly course they said ….. its a local race and I know of no hills!!

COULD I BE MORE WRONG!!!

Yes it was forecast rain … in the morning. By the time 2pm came I had to borrow sun cream and I was sweating before I even started. No hills near me … yeah right … I had a heart attack just looking at the gradient spike in my garmin when I uploaded it!!

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So it was hot … That hill killed me … the torrential down pour in the morning made the route ankle deep in mud and I found myself muttering along the whole 13.1 miles that I was never running off road again!!  So lets review …

Organisation …..

The race is brilliantly planned.  It is in a local village and has a real community feel to it!  There is a fete, BBQ, beer tent … and people can do the walk or the run.  It was well signposted, great parking (Army cadets marshalling the car park) and it was easy to pick up race numbers.  You could also register on the day which a few friends did.

The route …

Although i state this was my first “off road” race … I have to say that around 50% is actually on the road.  I wore trail shoes which I was thank for in the muddy parts but the mud then made them really heavy for the road parts.  I would probably opt for trail shoes again though!

The route was beautiful …. mixture of fields, villages, trails, lanes … it was stunning.

Support ….

Although not many marshals on route … it was extremely well sign posted and all the villages had great support out.  Plenty of water stations … my favourite of which was Halfway up that stupid hill where a man asked if I was OK to continue as I grabbed 2 cups of squash out his hand and downed them before desperately scrambling to the hose pipe to be sprayed down.

My time ….

I finished in 2;18;10 …. a time I was extremely pleased with.  I went in with aspirations of sub 2.30 as I knew the new terrain would be tough.  Considering I walked through drinks station (and maybe walked a little bit of the hill) I was pleased with my overall pace …. AND …. I got some bling at the end.

Did I enjoy it???

The answer … NO I HATED EVERY STEP!!!  But this week I learnt my own lesson.  My sister JaIme has started couch to 5k … and I am extremely proud of her for doing so!  She asked me this week …. when does it get easier and my answer was …. “it never gets easier …. you get better … but always push harder”.  So what i am trying to say is that I hated every step of the way but the sense of achievement when I finished was amazing.  Later as I posted on Facebook that I was never running off road again ….. I was reminded “until next week” when I have a 7.9 mile leg of an off road relay to run!!!

I think my off road adventures have just begun.

HIGHLIGHT of the race …….

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PIMMS AT THE FINISH!!!!!

Love Sandie xx