The husband and I signed up for our first trail race on the way back from Tough Mudder. One the girls helping organise it was on the bus and she was talking about it so we decided to give it a go. She kept saying it was really really tough but honestly, I’d just completed Tough Mudder, come on.
The race was scheduled for the day after we got back from holiday (and for those of you following my blog you will realise that’s the day after run or dye). The weather wasn’t looking great but the rain looked like it was holding off so could have been worse. We arrived at Moncreiff Hill to find only 2 other cars there – this didn’t look right. Turns out there were 2 car parks and we were at the wrong one! A quick dash round (and 2 more cars joining the convoy) and we found the start. There were a few from my work helping out at the event and another doing it – ha had also done Tough Mudder with us. He was saying he didn’t feel too great though and nearly pulled out but he was here and he was doing it. We collected our bibs and raving chips and as I looked around all I could see were people from proper running clubs – everywhere! Yeah, I was definitely coming in last on this one. I had prepared myself for it though as I knew I was going to find it tough so I had read lots and lots about how it feels and I had gotten myself in to a place where I was ok with it. I wasn’t a trail runner, I was doing this as a challenge. After checking what the time limit was (there wasn’t one phew) it was off the to the start line and away we went.
Uphill, up, hill, uphill. That’s pretty much how the first few kilometres went! And when I say uphill I mean practically vertical! The husband stayed with me for about 100yards then casually said he might try and go on – fine with me, I knew where I was ending up on this one. I tried to keep pace with the guy from my work who wasn’t feeling great but I lost him after about 2km, ah well. I did find that I was keeping pace with another gentleman though and we occasionally exchanged chit chat going round. Mainly along the lines of ‘have you done much of this before?’ Me – no, just road running, Him – I ran about 2 weeks ago. There were quite a few ‘holy crap’ expressions coming from me as soon as we hit the downhills, as steep as it was uphill the down hill was crazy! There were marshals everywhere on the course which was fantastic but the one they had there to warn you of the sharp decline and sharp rocks – not going to lie – made me question what I was doing!
Still, after the steep down hill was the water station but I declined a drink and kept going, still kind of hoping I might catch up with the work guy. Back up hill and I reached a part of the course called ‘Lucy’s Lane’. This was named after a very young girl who had had meningitis and was fighting it. Now, I am told not a single soul managed to run up that lane, it was near impossible. As difficult as it was though I really feel it was a very poignant part of the course that reminded you just how hard and difficult it is when someone has meningitis – it really reminded me of why we were doing this.
Finally one of the marshals said ‘last hill then it’s the home stretch’. There seemed to be quite a gap in front of me and I was thinking there can’t be many behind me if anyone at this point, the gentleman I had kept pace with was now out of sight in front. I was fine with this, I knew it was going to be a struggle. I managed to pick up the pace going down the hills and even managed a smile for the cameras, crossing the line at just over an hour with my husband cheering me on.
After some much needed water and a chat to see how the other half had done I went over to the mini van that gave me a read out of where I placed. I knew by then I wasn’t last as others were still coming in so to me this was success! When the read out told me I was 72nd out of 120 I was very pleased – and when it said 6th in my category I was ecstatic! Couldn’t have predicted that!
For their first Trail Race the organisers did superb! They warned it was a tough route (and my god it was!), they had loads of marshals everywhere, plenty of water and a great medal and goody bag. I already have the date for next years entries in my diary so we can sign up.
The whole event inspired my husband and I that much that we are now raising money for the Alexis Rose Meningitis Memorial Fund when we do our half marathon in September.