Do you remember in the movie Forrest Gump, when Forrest starts running and just keeps going for about three years? Well, scrap that idea completely and then you come close to my running prowess ;-) I am no endurance runner but I like the idea of running. Minimal equipment, time spent outdoors, moving your body in the way it was intended and a quick way to get fit… Unfortunately, however, my fitness levels are not quite up to the running for three years standard, so I figured I’d start with a straightforward 10k race.
I’ve noticed that running appears to be very much a favoured pursuit of the over 30’s club (although of course those under 30 also take part!), but it definitely does seem to be a sport that many over 30’s turn to in a bid to get fit and why not! Setting oneself personal challenges is a very healthy pastime and gives one’s fitness regime a good focus. I always mean to bring running more into my regular exercise plan so I thought I’d sign myself up for a 10k trail run which would then – in theory – be my motivation to get running! So I just took part in my first ever trail run as part of the Rat Race Trailblazer series in Bedgebury, Kent. Set in Bedgebury National Pinetum in the beautiful Kent countryside, the backdrop was idyllic – a beautiful forest run (or so I thought!)- and a place where I regularly go for walks with my family and know well. I imagined a nice run in the countryside, taking in the scenery while exercising, and with this picture in my mind, I was not prepared for the physical onslaught that ensued!
I did attempt to compile a pre-race training plan although as yoga is the main focus of my fitness regime I only managed to squeeze in a handful of pre-race runs – thankfully 2 of which were outdoors (as opposed to on the treadmill) which went a little way towards preparing my body for the terrain on race day. In any event I was super nervous the evening before the race, realising perhaps a little more preparation might have been in order but at that point, what was done, was done! The morning of the race I was surprisingly excited and decided to just try and enjoy the experience. My partner (who runs twice the speed of me) had also signed up to the race so after dropping the kids off to my parents’ house we made our way to Bedgebury and made it just in time for registration and our respective start waves to begin.
The physical journey that ensued was one I had never anticipated and had never experienced (unless you count childbirth!!). It felt like torture from start to finish!! I felt like the unfittest person in the whole world as other runners kept running past me. Nothing could have prepared me for the amount of inclines that the trail route covered – up, down, up, down, bumpy terrain, fallen trees that you had to climb over or under, and to up the ante still further it was a boiling hot day and there seemed to be no shade, despite it being in a forest!! At the time it felt like I was running a marathon in the desert when in reality it was only 10km!!! I’m sure you can imagine the melodrama going on in my mind at the time ;-) I felt like I would never make it and that I would come last for sure. I swore to myself never again! I started to feel a little better, however, when I passed the 8km marker and there was a brief moment of respite with a downhill stretch but then the race finished on a totally mean steep slope that I could barely walk up at that stage! In any case, I made it and oddly enough managed a fairly respectable time! The sense of personal achievement that followed over the rest of the day and the day after were immense, like conquering my own personal Everest! Clearly nothing like Mount Everest, but I felt so immensely proud of myself for doing it that I can ‘kind of’ see why people get addicted!
Most likely that’s it for me and races for this year but I’ll definitely consider it again next year. I will, however, NEVER do another race without preparing first! Gluttons for punishment aren’t we all!