I'll admit that I was a little nervous heading in to this race - since the marathon I've done very little running bar that 'little' 13.1 miles with the boy in Geneva 3 weeks ago. I had, however, done a 10K training session (with Louise Hazel, no less!), and a few sprint, weight and HIIT circuit sessions, mostly because I could feel that jiggly spare tyre round my middle starting to rear it's ugly head. Toto, we're not in marathon training mode any more: we cannot eat ALL the food. Sad face.
|On yer bike!|
After a grey and all-round miserable Saturday (brightened up only by parkrun volunteering and a lido swim) I was plenty chuffed to wake up to some sunshine bright and early on Sunday morning.
My mate Steph had offered to give me a lift over to Windsor, so I hopped on the bike and pedaled the 5 miles or so over to her pad (wearing my lovely new Lululemon run capris - see left). The ride there was lovely. The way back not so much! Note to self: it is hard to cycle 5 miles over undulating terrain after a half marathon. Lesson learned.
Fortunately, the event organisers seemed pretty laid back about when you started, with waves going form the start line a short walk on the other side of the river every 5 mins from 8.30-9.00.
|Most chilled-out start line EVER!|
Myself, Steph and Steph's mate Liz started in the 8.50 wave and, despite some initial bottle-necking as we all piled on the the narrow trail path, we were cruising along nicely within 10-15 mins.
Most of the race took place along trail paths by the river and it was seriously beautiful. I will definitely be packing my kicks and heading out that way again, race or no race. Be prepared for major house (and boat!) envy though - not sure if I was green with effort or jealousy for most of it.
|Sunshine and trails|
We had settled in to a steady 9.45-10.00min mile pace and I was feeling good. So good that I decided to kick it a bit and see if I could drop down closer to 9.30, which I'd averaged Geneva... Yup, felt good too. So at half way I decided to go all out and aim for sub-2 hours. Why the hell not?! It was perfect running conditions for me - sun on my back but with a cool enough breeze, and lots of beautiful scenery to make you just fall in love with running all over again.
|Just before I went past ALL of these guys :)|
I threw on some tunes and actually started singing aloud at one point in a sheer moment of running love. My fellow runners did not share this love - I am not known for holding a great tune - and so quickly piped down, but continued rocking out in my own head, of course.
Unfortunately, it seems that the laid-back attitude of the organisers came at a cost. They apparently didn't set up the start-line timing mats properly and so all the timings were out and only a gun time could be salvaged if you emailed to give your start time. Cue much enragement on Twitter, but not me: I bloody loved this race, I had my TomTom watch of pace-telling genius on which told me I'd just cut it under 2 hours, and ain't nobody was gonna rain on my trail-running parade.
|Big smiles and jazz hands: what trail running is all about|
Ok, ok, there were a few other not so great things, like the most piss-poor goody bag ever (two leaflets in a plastic bag - say what now?!) and water supplies in low abundance at the finish line. But on the plus side the medal was a beaut!
Despite a few setbacks it had beautiful countryside running, friendly runners, and a flat, beginner trail runner's dream course. If the organisers can iron out the issues for next year then this will definitely be a 10/10 race, and in the immortal words of Arnie: I'll be back!
Katy | City Girl Fit