Here we are again. Sunday’s once again means it’s time to get out to run a 5k. However this week it is something new. Not at my Great Run Local this morning but out at Guisborough Woods for my first 5k trail run since 2016! If you are new to the blog feel free to visit the 2016 archives to have a look at my earlier 5k adventures including the Muddy Roads Winter Trail Series. When I tentatively set new 5k goals a month ago, today was my first target. Completing a couple of 5k runs in the park isn’t a patch on the joy of running through the mud on a drizzly Sunday morning. Here’s how I got on.
I’ll be honest, when the alarm went off at 6am this morning I wasn’t that enthusiastic. Every run is met with in trepidation these days after the injury disaster of 2017. The anxious part of my brain will always be there saying “stay home safe in the warm. Who cares if it makes you miserable and sad?” Well it turns out I do care!
In anticipation of such thoughts I have taken to making public declarations of my running intentions again. Once you have said it out loud the other part of your brain, that doesn’t want to feel a fool, will take over and push your anxious self out the door, and into an old train carriage in the woods in today’s case.
Friendly faces in the woods
Once welcomed, paid for and officially entered, barcode secured to my t-shirt, it was off to find the start line. Three shrieking monkeys, a husband and an excitable labradoodle in tow. Against all odds and historical form we had managed to arrived a good 45 minutes early. This allowed ample time to follow the make shift orange markers up the enormous hill to the start line. At this point it wasn’t raining but it was freezing. 6 degrees was the temperature at the top. A little anxiety crept back in but I shoved it to the back of my mind when I saw an old friend. Ged of running t-shirt fame (http://littlemummyrunning.co.uk/race-8-tale-running-t-shirt/). Having just got out of his car a warm cuddle gave my shivering bones a boost.
Back at the start line the monkey jabbering and excitable labradoodle whimpering had reached fever pitch. I’ll be honest when the starting hooter went I was ready to run away through the woods. Music on, Garmin set, I got my race underway with no time in mind. The race was tipped as mostly fire track and I had unfortunately overheard someone comment “not an easy one to start on” at the start line. Therefore I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I set off downhill at a steady pace which was quickly slowed to snail pace as the first hill loomed. Not sure about gradient or elevation or stuff that fast runners care about, it was just very, very steep! As I passed a couple of marshals I gave them a thumbs up and remarked “going up must mean coming down”. After the first major incline the course levelled out only to turn into a further, shorter incline. After a while though my first down hill appeared like a water slide on a hot day. The rain had started and the desire to throw my hands up and shout “wheee” was overwhelming. Luckily was alone as I had taken a central position in the back runners and there was no chance of being lapped by the speedier front runners on this course. However in my excitement I had failed to hear three mountain bikers who suddenly sped past me nearly causing me to leap in the muddy ditch trackside.
The declines continued for much of the rest of the race, at one point becoming so steep and muddy I nearly lost my feet. I had picked up the pace by this point I was loving the freedom, good tunes on my headphones, body scans confirming a few aches but nothing to worry about. At points I was flying. By the time I past the “keep going, it is only pain. The finish is just around the corner” sign I was elated. The familiar track loomed into view, one giant muddy puddle lay between me and the finish line. I knew what I had to do. I was going straight through the middle.
From woods to pyjamas
I picked up pace, giant smile on my face. Monkeys in sight, labradoodle going mental with his barks echoing through the woods as he spotted me running in. Then across the line to cheers of those finished ahead of me.
How do I feel? I loved it. Achieving this first goal was perfect. Back on the trails, trainers muddy beyond recognition, face as red as a ripe tomato, endorphins pumping through my brain. A clamour of monkeys throwing arms around me and kisses on my face and a great big muddy paw print on my chest from the doodle. Set those goals fellow mummy runners it really is worth it. Maybe I’ll see some of you in the woods for another muddy adventure away from the monkeys in the future.
For now you will find me legitimately in my pyjamas for the rest of the day.