On Sunday 7th July I took part in the Lakeland Trails ½ Marathon in Coniston.
Originally I was just going to spectate whilst hubby took on the Marathon race, but I had been running over 10 miles in one outing comfortably for the past few weeks, and felt I could tackle my second half marathon.
Ok, so I completely forgot about the whole trail aspect of the run, and the fact that I would probably walk quite a bit of it, but I felt ready.
Trail running is difficult, ok we all know that, but what I mean it’s difficult to gauge how well you’ll do (or not, in some cases), as you can’t just compare your times to road running. This was my problem when I was trying to work out what time would be good for me to finish in, what was my target time and when did I have to get a wiggle on to make sure I wasn’t disappointed?
I had only done one trail run before and this was only 18km (Cartmel Sticky Toffee Trail), I had also only ever done one road half marathon before (Paddock Wood Half), so I decided to pluck a time out of thin air and guess that the trail half would take me at least an hour longer, so anything under 3hrs would be good. I had signed up for the Challenge rather than the race so there wasn’t too much pressure.
As the day approached we were conscious of how warm the weather was getting, and we weren’t relishing the thought of running through 24-degree midday heat. I hydrated myself well, and ate a lovely lunch at Jamie’s Italian in Manchester the day before. My lovely mother-in-law organised a BBQ for the evening before, but we weren’t convinced steak was the best pre-run meal, but we didn’t want to disappoint and ate it happily, plus there was cake. Cake’s ok right?
The Beecroft household was up early for the 2hr drive over to the lakes, and we arrived in plenty of time to register, hydrate & wee! (Toilet queues were massive!)
We worked out with the in-laws a spectating plan and where we would see them on the course.
The set up for the race was fantastic and the location by the lake was great (I’m sure the lake will come in handy later!).
The marathon challenge had already set off at 7.30am as they had a longer period in which to complete, next off were Hubby and the marathon race. Loads of serious runners, and good to see some other southerners, including a couple of local rivals from Dulwich Runners.
Once the marathon had set off I had an hour to hang out before I started. Stretched, hydrated, checked GPS, chatted, checked GPS, tied laces, one last stretch and I was off…
The course was lovely, nowhere near as tough as my 1st trail run experience, mainly due to most of the course being on bridleways and decent paths. There was a decent spread of water stations. Although one was getting dangerously low when I went through and we still had the Half marathon racers to come through after us. There was also one feed station which was nice to have.
I didn’t find the climbs too bad, and managed to run up at least two of them. The lap around a tarn was a little monotonous, but a gorgeous setting that I just had to take a snap.
I was so lifted by my surroundings I went way too fast for the 1st half, which I did find easy, but really should have paced myself better.
I spotted MIL at 15KM, and bless her she got her spray mist out to cool me down, as at this point it was VERY hot. This spurred me on and I went for it through a forest section.
Then I hit a wall.
My GPS had stopped working half way round the tarn so had to restart my watch, so didn’t really have an idea of how long was left or how long I had taken – good or bad?
When I saw the 15KM marker I was quite confident as this meant only 6KM left and that shouldn’t take me long right? The last two miles were tough, which was sad because this was the relatively flat bit. I had to walk much of it! We then entered the area where we had started and then found they were making us do a loop of the campsite – ARGHH!
As I approached the finish line I gave a little sprint. They called out my name, it was wrong! Then I heard the Mother in Law correct them.
I finished with a flourish, but was it enough? Hell yeah 2hr 47mins!
I was pleased!
What was even more pleasing (or not depending on how you look at it) I did this time and they actually made us do a whole extra mile! The course was over 14 miles, so no need for that last lap around the camp site. No wonder the last 2 miles was tough, should have just been one! Glad my GPS stopped working. What you don’t know doesn’t hurt you right? Tell that to my thighs, still aching three days later!
I think my 1st half speed was due to the fact that I run a lot of 10k, so need to work on my longer distance, and of course my pacing is non existant and needs a lot of practice!
The trail half marathon was gruelling but fun and really glad I did it. It will make my half marathon in September seem like a walk in the park – can’t wait!