I awoke on Saturday morning to a beautiful frosty morning. The plan was to do the Isel Cross, a 5.5 mile multi-terrain run organised by Derwent AC. This would be my third time running in this event and I was determined for it to be the time I conquered the beast of a hill and ran the whole way! The first year I did it, I barely made a dent into it but the second year I think I managed to run halfway up it before throwing in the white flag and walking the rest.
Tristan, having just arrived back from Norway the day before, decided it would be a good one to do as well. The lure of an Easter Egg at the finish was enough to tempt him to enter.
After dropping the girls off with Grandma and Auntie Karen, we headed to Cockermouth. We met up with Ali in the club hut. She was horrified to find out that now, at the grand old age of 35, she’d be running her first race as a veteran. A large ‘V’ was written on to her number just to emphasise this fact. We then headed to the start area to await the start of the race.
As we gathered at the start for the pre-race briefing, snow flakes began to fall. It was bitterly cold and it was a relief once the signal to start came. The first 3 miles of this route are on an undulating road – there are some testing hills here before you even get to the behemoth that starts just after mile 3 once you hit the trail section.
I kept it steady on the road section. I really wanted to have something left to tackle that hill. My main aim of this run was to run all the way to the top; beating last year’s time was secondary to that goal.
Hitting the trail section I felt comfortable and in control. And then the climb began. It seemed to go on and on and on. My legs were screaming and I just wanted to stop. Still, I kept plugging away; one foot in front of the other. Then a quote I’d read on Twitter that very morning came to me. “You can be sore tomorrow, or you can be sorry. You choose.”. How appropriate. I was getting closer to the top with every step. I just needed to keep going forwards. The pain would be over once I reached the top and then it was a mile downhill to the finish. The quote kept going round and round in my head. No way could I wake up tomorrow regretting not making it to the top. Eventually, I could see the summit and this gave me enough motivation to keep plodding on. I made it! I did what I’d thought was impossible for me!! The downhill finish felt good and my tired, sore legs kept turning over, even managing to pick up the pace for the final 400m.
Crossing the line, I was amazed to find I’d beaten last year’s time by 4 seconds, despite holding back more on the road section. The Easter Egg that was handed to me at the finish was well deserved, I believe.
It wasn’t long before Ali finished and, after grabbing coats in an attempt to warm up, we waited for Tristan. It wasn’t long before we saw him tearing up to the finish line in an amazing 55:37. Pretty impressive; especially considering he hadn’t run in almost a fortnight!
Sunday was another beautiful morning. Before anyone was even out of bed, I headed out the door for a run. I don’t do many back to back runs and I just want to start getting my body used to them in preparation for the start of my marathon training.
My legs felt surprisingly good but I was mindful to keep the pace steady. There were a lot of people out making the most of a gorgeously sunny Easter morning. There was a chill in the air but it was perfect running weather.
It felt good to get out and I was pleased to discover that I can run for two days in a row without too much discomfort. It was then that I decided to do what I have never done before and run for 3 days in a row! Luckily, mum agreed to look after the girls so that I could get out for a steady run with Tristan the following day.
It was another cold, dry morning when we set off for our run round Waterside. For the first 3 miles, my legs did feel quite tight but once they loosened off I felt great. Having Tristan there spurred me on but we didn’t stay at as steady a pace as I’d have liked! Still, it felt brilliant to be out enjoying this together and making the most of having this almost spring-like weather!
We dug in for the last mile and took over two minutes off Tristan’s previous best time for this route! Good progress! At the finish we had a good stretch and I was pleased to note that I had no aches or pains after 3 days of decent running.
I will incorporate more back to back runs as my marathon training progresses so that I get used to running on tired legs. However, this is not something that I will overdo as it is all too easy to edge over into over training and that’s when injuries are more likely to happen.
So, all in all, it’s been a good week for running. With all the other exercises that I do to complement the running, I feel like I’m finally making progress and getting fitter and stronger.