Saturday morning dawned and what a truly beautiful morning it was. Perhaps Spring has finally sprung….
Saturday morning can only mean one thing; parkrun day! The other half, Tristan, wasn’t doing it this morning as he was tackling the Sport In Action Longtown 10 Miler at lunchtime. Instead, he had the more difficult job of entertaining the offspring while I ran.
Arriving at Chances Park, it was actually quite warm and the sun was shining! This was all rather unfamiliar and I even decided that this was going to be my first parkrun wearing a T Shirt!
Following the safety briefing, 118 runners set off on the three lap course. The ground had dried up considerably, which made for good running conditions. As usual, I got caught up in the tide of faster runners and the first mile was one of my quickest miles ever! Following that effort, the next two laps were, quite frankly, grim. I just kept going, though, and the encouragement from Tristan, the girls and the marshalls meant that, despite the pain, I achieved a PB!! I was delighted; crossing the line in a time of 25:17 in position 44 (6th lady).
Following a well needed refueling in the Manor Cafe, it was time for Tristan to start getting prepared for his race. After registration and toilet stops, we left him to get ready and went into Carlisle to place our bets on the Grand National.
I then drove round the latter part of the Longtown 10 course in order to find a decent place to park and offer encouragement to Tristan. We found somewhere just before the halfway point and waited for him. The girls were having great fun playing in a ditch in the Borders but it was a beautiful day and the view was amazing. Then we spotted Tristan coming up, looking very tired but still going. The girls shouted out encouragement and we headed back to the finish area to wait for him there. I drove back over the early part of the route and there were some massive hills! Definitely not a PB course as it had been billed!!
We went home to watch the National and couldn’t believe it when Thea’s horse romped in first! 100-1!! One of my choices, TeaforThree, came home in 3rd.
On Sunday, Tristan and Shannon went out birding and I dropped the younger two off with my mum so that I could go and try my first proper fell race! Organised by Cumberland Fell Runners as part of the Cumbria Fell Fest weekend, it was an introduction to fell running following a flagged route up and round Sale Fell. It was another beautiful day and, after registering, we loitered around enjoying the views until the race began. It was a small turnout but that just made for a more friendly environment and helped ease the nerves.
It wasn’t long before we were off. Within 50 yards my legs were screaming in protest. The previous day’s exertions at parkrun were making themselves evident! Still, I kept plodding away, walking the really steep bits. I tried to keep an eye on the frontrunners, but they were already specks in the distance.
Despite the well flagged route, I did get confused at one point and had to stop and wait until someone came who looked like they knew where they were going! I will need to improve my navigational skills if I do end up punishing myself and doing more proper fell runs. The downhill finish was exhilarating. The grip on my Salomon SpeedCross 3s is exceptional and I trust in them so much. However, I still lack some confidence with the downhills and still find myself holding back.
I’ve always thought that fell runners are a mad bunch, and I still stand by that. However, I want to be part of the madness and I really want to increase the number of fell runs that I do. It’s tough, really tough, but the sense of achievement when you finish is huge.
Once Ali had finished, we headed over to Ling Fell to have a recovery walk/jog. We also took lots of photos but it was nice to do it at a slower pace and enjoy the absolutely breathtaking views. We felt like we were on top of the world and could see for miles. Our legs were sore but it felt so good to be out there, enjoying the Lake District on such a beautiful Spring day.
It was a brutal ascent on our already battered legs (Ali had ran 10 miles the previous day!) but the downhill was fabulous! This is what running is about. Sometimes you have to slow down, enjoy the views and remember why you run.