I have been very lucky with my running routes during the week so far and have not had much experience with off-road running or even hill running at that. So I knew this was gonna be tough for me, I just didn't realize how much.
The announcer at the start of the race said that there was only 1 hill at the beginning of the run so I went into the run with the idea to go as powerful as I could to get the hill out the way and then find a running pace to settle into. However, this did not go to plan as the hills didn't seem to end. 1 after another they kept coming and I could tell from the 2k mark that I had already pushed myself more than I have done before. My thighs were tightening and on fire but I pushed through to the 3k mark where I took a moment to have a drop of water and slow my pace. Well, this is what I thought I had done, but now looking back at my Strava tracker I can see that I didn't slow my pace until the last 5k.
For another context, my usual pace for the Park runs has been between 6.00 and 6.20 so to find myself sticking below the 6.00 mark for this first 4 km was a great shock.
So what was the time? Going into the race my best run since starting running in January has been 32 minutes at an Ashford Park Run, so I was hoping to beat this and try to hit the 30 minute mark.
The Official chip time at the end of the race was 30:13 minutes. I was so close to dipping below that 30-minute mark and the worse part was I could see the clock as I ran towards running towards the finish getting closer to that 30 and knowing that I could not give my legs anymore was horrible. I had no power left in them and could not do a sprint finish which I have been trying to do. I do however feel that back at the next Park Run on the flat course I can hit that target with no problem, so lets see how it goes.
Overall It was a fantastic day out and a big thank you to the individuals who drove me there and back. I am so happy to have found a running family that keeps me on track and building a new thing in my life that I love to do. My plan is to return next year but do 2 laps for that magic 10k. Watch this space.
Here are some pictures of the day. The smile stayed from the beginning to the end, even if my thighs felt like they were on fire and wobbly at the end. A clear sign I had pushed myself for all I had.
What a sea of green club shirts :P