It’s been a little while since I blogged, got myself out of the habit before really getting into it! Time to get back on it and see if anyone is still out there!
Winter running for me tends to be more about training runs than races, basically because races are less frequent so it’s a good time to practise some technique or try to build up a bit of strength. Getting into a good routine for me is important as it is all too easy to finish work, close the front door and decide it is too dark/cold/wet/windy/late to get out and run.
Having said that, there have been a few cheeky little races to keep that competitive nature of mine satisfied. New Years Day saw my local and favourite pub the Holly Bush Inn Makeney host it’s annual 2 mile fun run. This has become somewhat of a tradition now and with the lure of beer money to be won it’s worth braving the hangover. This year I was 3rd lady over the line after a terrible start right at the back of the pack but still bagged a £15 beer voucher which went down very well indeed.
Also throughout the winter are various levels of cross country races. My club the Belper Harriers is a member of the Booth Decorators League. There have been 2 races thus far this year to finish off a series of 5, both of which can fairly be described as absolute mud-fests. Always a laugh and with a sprinkling of friendly inter-club rivalry I would recommend these to anyone. As a club we finished 5th overall out of 12 clubs and I, much to my surprise, managed to collect 2nd female overall out of all the races. For the first time I also had a go at one of the Saucony Midlands League Cross Country championship over in Loughborough. Another mud bath, but this was the sticky kind that clagged up your grips and weighed your feet down to the ground. An eye opener for me running against such strong competition. In my local league I feel quite confident, often finishing in the top 5 ladies. Here I was within the top 60 which to be honest was a little demoralising but an experience nonetheless. A lot of the ladies were coached, young teenage athletes heading for greatness so as a 30-something amateur I shouldn’t take it to heart that they left me for standing. One thing I did notice was that there was a real correlation between speed and shortness of shorts. Due to the Baltic weather conditions of the day I was there kitted in full length leggings and long sleeved top whereas what appears to make you faster is the skimpiest of running pants coupled with either a crop-top or vest. Yikes. Lesson learnt for next time, less clothes must mean more speed!
This past weekend saw my first half marathon of the year. An undulating trail race hosted by Nice Work events around my local Carsington Reservoir. This sort of event isn’t my usual type of race being all on footpath but it was a good excuse to get out and get some miles under my belt. Hoorah for a dry (but windy) day the route was once around the lake plus a bit and then a switchback. Some runners were completing a 10k so there was quite a large field at the start leading to a staggered start so it was hard to tell for the first mile or so how well you were doing. I spent the first mile chasing down a lady who I eventually overtook to get into 1st place only to discover she was doing the 10k. However, this set me up nicely for the remaining 7 miles where I maintained the lead despite dropping the pace slightly for the last couple of miles. The switchback was a really handy way to see where the rest of the competition were behind me but also to receive and pass on lots of encouragement to fellow runners. Slight confusion at the finish where my trophy was awarded to a lady who had dropped out and not completed the route but this was soon cleared up.
Now looking ahead to my next big race, the 20 mile Edale Skyline, an event I haven’t done before and distance way further than I am used to on some challenging terrain. I look at this challenge with a certain amount of trepidation but a few recce’s in the run-up should hopefully see me right.
Happy running x