Saturday, October 23, 2010

Catching up with myself..

Another 3 weeks of loosey-goosey, run-for-fun fun ...

Saturday October 10th we organised a race on our farm for the WWFOR - the Lincolnshire Lollop. A whole bunch of bloggers who have been meeting on a more or less yearly basis for the WWFOR and the White Peak half were joined by other friends and family and we ran 5Ks, 10Ks, halves and full marathons in 1.4 mile loops around the farm. Toni summed it all up pretty well in this video:

Can you tell we had a good time?

A week later, another great race - a birthday present to myself. I've always wanted to run an off-road, muddy, challenging race and sometime this summer, when I was feeling blue and unmotivated, I signed up for the Salomon Turbo X Sheffield trail race. It was a freezing cold day - 2.5 degrees C when I left and pulling up at the race venue I really started doubting the wisdom of what I was doing. For one thing, everyone looked very fit. For another, they were all wearing trail shoes.. The Salomon gear tent had a sale on and I was very quickly convinced to buy my first pair of trail running shoes.

relaxing in the car before the race
race banners at the start - it was cold!

For the first time in - well, ever? - I warmed up before a race because I didn't want to do the race in too many layers (I knew I would get filthy) and I also knew there wouldn't be anywhere to leave my layers. As soon as the race kicked off, I realised I was doing something entirely new. The race started off downhill through a field and before we knew it were in the woods. I did not have my Garmin on - it's a bit too precious for this! - but for about 60/70 minutes we were running on roads and narow trails through woods. Then came the first steep incline. Like so steep that you could not run up it, you just had to slowly walk your way up and occasionally pull yourself up by a tree or a root. A flat bit at the top to catch your breath, and then it was down again - equally carefully. A flat bit at the bottom, and then up again a similar incline. And down again. I could begin to feel my legs taking a beating. We then ran on through the woods again and by this stage I had made a new friend, Marie. We were running at a similar pace and she was the one who advised me not to run the hills - wise advice this proved. She's a sports therapist and we ran on for quite a way talking about life, love, kids, work, running. We were wondering where the "real mud" was going to start as we went into what was advertised as the Turbo Zone. For the first part this was still just trail running through the woods and then - all of a sudden - the mud started. For some time - I have no idea how long but maybe about 30 minutes?- we just went through one muddy trench after the other. In the water, out of the water. Up a hillside, down a hillside, back into the water. The water was freezing but I can't tell you what fun we were all having. Everyone was trying to get through without falling over - not very succesfully - and it was the most wonderful atmosphere. There was NO competition, just people helping each other and laughing.


After about a mile or so of this, we came out of the zone and by then my legs were truly trashed. I had gone into this race thinking 10 miles were piece of cake. Although I knew the race had trails and mud in it, I had not counted on waist-deep trenches filled with cold mud. And so, by this stage, I was wet, cold and exhausted. And the race was still not over! Had Marie not been my new best friend by this stage I would have given up completely and just laid myself down in a sunny grassy spot. But on we went, walking up the hills, running down them, through the woods, past lying race marshalls (only 1K to go - yeah right!) until we finally saw the finish which we crossed hand in hand. Followed by a big hug!
Look at my new shoes! Thankfully they cleaned up nicely..

There were no showers so I stripped down to my underwear (everyone was doing it, honest!) and quickly changed into some dry clothes and drove home.
This is what I looked like when I got home - it took some showering to get rid of all of that mud!

Recovery took longer than I had thought - Monday morning I had speedwork on the books but there was no way - I could barely walk down the stairs. Instead, I took my bike out for a very leisurely 15 miler. I made it all the way to the treadmill on Tuesday but after 3K it became very clear that I wasn't going to get those fast mile repeats in on that day either. It was also my birthday, and I had a new iPad charging up on my desk at home, so I decided my decision was made and went home.

Then on Wednesday it was a drive down to London again - one day earlier than normal - to meet up with Portland running and yoga blogger Emily and her friend Cyndi who were in London for a few days. We met up with BFF Dawn and went out to Wahaca for margaritas and burritos, and generally had a great time. Sightseeing / shopping Thursday and Thursday evening I went to my Interior Design course at Central Saint Martins, the official reason for my weekly trips to London. Then Friday morning I whizzed back home again to start the weekend and my kids' autumn break. To be greeted by this:
Which, as you all know is a big deal. It's a big deal because man, this year it was no easy feat. And it's a big deal because I didn't get to run it this April. And it's a big deal because man! It's Boston! I have some thoughts on Boston filling up so early, and all that might be done to change that, but they're nowhere near crystallised enough. I'll tell you what I think when I know what I think..

The next post will follow shortly - I'm writing it right now - but I'm going to finish this one up and take a breather because there is SO much to talk about!


Unknown said...

Hi Beauty!
I love the mud speckles, so hard core! My husband and I watched you video and had runners envy. The roads and trails look like so much fun! I especially liked the dog running around at the beginning and the little kids cheering you on. Smiles all around!
It sounds like things are going so well for you! I'm excited you'll be going to Boston, let's meet for hugs if we can. Attempt #2 will be successful!
Happy Belated Birthday!

misszippy said...

I love that you bought your shoes at the race! Looks like SO much fun. It also reminded me of the trail race I did in Australia last summer..similar experience, I was a fish out of water. And I think that race trashed my legs like no other has.

Fran said...

What a great idea that run on your farm, I watched the video and yes you were all having fun.

The other race sounds like a lot of fun too.

Congrats on Boston, I'm sure you will make it this time.

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

Looks like some great runs recently. Excited for your Boston trip in 2011. You will love it!

Anonymous said...

That run looks like a lot of fun!
So glad you're "in" for Boston in 2011. When I heard it sold out the first day, I immediately thought of you knowing you HAD to get another chance this year. Yay!

Tina Mickelson said...

That race looks like (you had) a lot of fun! That kind of race is definitely one I'd like to try. Good job listening to your body and taking the time you needed to recover. I didn't run any speed work after my half last weekend either. I'd say that makes us smart runners. :)

Someday I'll make it to the UK and meet you too.

Glad you had a good birthday!

Running and living said...

I love, love, love your farm. Looks amazing, the house, the trail! So fun! And that race looks awesome! You look so hard core and like you had a blast. So happy about Boston! Yay, it's your year!

Emz said...


Look at you in the muddy water.

MY NEW FAVORITE PHOTO of you. Could you possibly look ANY happier?! I LOVE IT!

lizzie lee said...

How awesome... Who ran the marathon??? How brave...

Your muddy race was a fantastic gift...and for Boston, what else to say that hasn't been said?? You are now a stronger woman...that's what we get when we have to surrender to the universe...

Much love across the Atlantic

Marathon Maritza said...

What an AWESOME run! Both around your farm and the mud run! I had a fabulous time when I did that one mud run as well and I think it's an experience everyone should enjoy. Looks like a barrel of fun!

I am so excited that you will be going to Boston and I can't wait to track your well-earned race!


Anonymous said...

mud runs are SO SO SO much fun! I really need to do another one next year! YAAAAAAYYYY for Boston!!!!!

Anonymous said...

belated birthday greetings, petra. that sheffield off-road event looked like loads of fun. well done for getting stuck into that and congrats on getting accepted for boston. i'll be crossing everything in the hope that there are no strikes, natural events etc. 2010 has indeed been a strange year for the weary traveller.

Jill said...

I am dying to read this...I just got home from a short trip to New Mexico and dying to know what's up with you (sorry for my short email last week ....) but I'm soo so soooo tired from my long drive home so going to read this tomorrow when I can sponge up every single word!! I see Meg's comment and see that you did sign up for Boston...that's been at the forefront of my head lately. I'm so sad I won't be there.... ok, more later!!

keen said...

congrats on the race..looks like you have a great time..

LMC said...

Hi Petra! I am so happy that you got into Boston. It just had to turn out that way for you!

I love the video, the runners, the dog, the kids. Everyone looks so happy and friendly. Such fun. Oh, and I really enjoyed the song too.

You are pretty brave doing that 10 miler through steep hills and all that mud. Good for you!

Can't wait to hear what else you are up to. All good, I hope!

Aka Alice said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the photos and you do look like you are having so much fun! It almost makes me think of doing a mud run, but I'm such a diva that I'd never tolerate being that dirty :-)

Yay for Boston! I'm so happy for you!

Jill said...

Ok, had time to read every.single.word finally. What happiness you had radiating out of every pore in your body - that was a great adventure for you, Sweetie - just what your heart, and your head, needed!!

You totally crack me up, I was either smiling or laughing the entire post!! Whenever I make it to England (let's hope soon!!) I want to do some crazy race like this with you, whether it's in the mud or running lap around that monster-sized estate (is that your house???). Ok? Yay, ok!

Love ya tons!!!

The video

Jill said...

Oh, and I meant to comment about Boston...I am so glad you got in and are all set to go. You know it's with a very heavy heart that I didn't sign up - mostly b/c we became connected last April when you weren't able to go and I so badly wanted to see you. But I will be there in spirit and toasting your victory at the end...and planning our adventure together elsewhere!!

Unknown said...

Wow! That looks like so much fun. What a beautiful, serene place to run. Just watching it lowered my heart rate and made me feel at peace. And the other race, the complete opposite! Talk about hard-core woman! Good for you.