Summary: I don’t like going off-road so what was I doing running a 10-mile trail race??? Bimble Bumble Summer Edition race report after the rest of my week.

Tuesday – I went to Running Club tonight and it was So. Wet. I wore my (not very) waterproof, it was soggy, I was tired, and Mary Ellen and I decided to just run home when we reached the high street, rather than going through the park and back to the other park then running home. We did tell the tail runner! Then of course we ran in circles to make it up to five miles!

Running in UK June: wet Liz

Running in a UK June

5 miles, 12:46 mins per mile

Wednesday – I was so concerned to get home and dry and fed on Tuesday that I forgot to stretch. And I’ve not been rolling enough. Result? I went to yoga and my hams and bum and back were protesting so much I lay down and stretched, relaxed, then left half-way through (this is the week I kept quitting, it feels. Less quitting later).

Thursday – Managed to get out with Trudie for a run around. I was waiting for a parcel to be delivered for Matthew and we were very pleased that with me checking my phone, I managed to dash back home and catch the Amazon Man on his previous delivery at the end of the road, wait for him, sign for it, put it in the hall and finish my run. Hooray!

Trudie called this run Woman vs. Amazon!

3 miles / 12:00 mins per mile

Saturday – I was leading the club’s beginners’ session, something I always love doing. We had the house measured for blinds first thing then I popped over to the park for 9.50. I had Jenny joining me plus two lovely beginners I’ve run with before – they’d missed a few weeks due to the rain so were pleased with 2.5 miles of run/walk. Jenny and I then walked to the garden centre and she helped me choose some plants.

0.6 miles, 11:12 mins per mile / 2.5 miles, 14:03 mins per mile

Sunday – BIMBLE BUMBLE SUMMER EDITION

I knew I had to do this trail race because although I’ve been on the unpaved canal paths and the bottom of the rugby club where it’s traily, I needed a challenging trail race under my belt before Race to the Stones. A few of us decided to do this 10-miler. But I got scared, esp when we got an email saying the rain had made it quite treacherous underfoot and the farmer hadn’t been able to mow one of the grass fields. I’m scared off road and I didn’t really trust my shoes or myself. But I had said I’d do it, so I did it.

Tara and Matt kindly gave me a lift, along with my rucksack of food and spare socks. I was testing out my Aonjie rucksack (which I did wear for the Canal Canter last year) hoping to make sure it’s OK for RTTS, and I had my pretty new Saucony Peregrines on my feet. We arrived at the race HQ, a pub in Bromsgrove, and collected our numbers and connected with quite a few other KHRC folk, plus I saw Joan and Ian from officiating, which was lovely. We all talked nervously, changed into our gear, and had a good safety talk by the organisers.

This expresses literally exactly how I felt before setting off (photo by Bernice).

I was so scared at this point that I’d given myself a tension headache in my neck.

Off we set, down a grassy slope (eeps mud) and then through a wheat field …

Liz running through a field of wheat (by Bernice)

I did not know Bernice was videoing me aeroplaning along!

I nearly fell (well, gave up) at the first hurdle when we hit a stile. I am so slow climbing over these wooden constructions and was worried I was holding everyone back, offering to stop and go back. I did get more adept at these as we went, fortunately.

We then hit a truly terrifying downhill section through a wood. It was hang onto trees, step carefully, really scary stuff. I felt quite panicky here: I’d imagined the whole race to be a combo of this type of thing and muddy fields, which it wasn’t. Fortunately Tara shouted to me “Race to the Stones isn’t like this!). Then a slippery bridge at the bottom I did all the tiptoeing over.

Slippery bridge after rails we had to hang onto and before muddy steps (photo by Bernice)

You can see Fay and Tara doing what we’d just done and inching sideways hanging onto the fence. Scary! We did have a fab tail runner, Debbie – the organisation, signposting and marshals were all amazing.

On we went, muddy fields, stiles, gates … Some of us were scared of the terrain (me), some were worried about the distance, some were scared of horses and/or cows (which is fair enough) and this awesome lady had already run 8 miles to get her long run in!

Bernice and Liz in the woods

It was beautiful and I’m not complaining about the terrain, it’s as it is and common for this kind of race.

So beautiful – the views

All the sky, all the view

Lovely woods

Lovely woods

You can see the variety underfoot, though. We had a lovely horse come over to us all and I had the job of distracting it while Tara got through the gate, as it loved Tara, but all fun to see the wildlife (not many good birds, unfortunately).

All in all it was like one of those puzzle adventure games people play: work out how to get round the puddle, through the mud, over the stile … it took a LOT of concentration and was really tiring. But somehow, in about Mile 7, something sort of clicked (I’m not going to say it totally clicked) and whether I’d been out ages and was just tired and wanted to finished, but I somehow didn’t care and I was running over mud I’d have been scared of, popping over stiles (I did get a bit ahead at one point, purely because I wanted to make a bubble of time for getting over stiles!).

Bernice kindly recorded me running through some very wet and muddy grass …

Liz on the trails. The wet, muddy trails. By Bernice.

This was near the end. A few more gates, some more stiles, along we all trotted in a line of Kings Heath wonderment, and then there was cheering and whooping and we were running up a hill (hooray) and we were DONE and there was Tara’s fiancé (ooh), Matt and the organisers and a few other runners and a lady with MEDALS and a helper with water and we’d done it!

Look at them undulations!

Muddy ladies: Tara, Liz, Bernice, Tracie (where’s Fay?)

It was well set up at the end, eggs to collect (yup), a place to sit down, food being served, and announcements about the winners at the end, after we’d all come in, which I thought was a lovely touch.

That’s not all my hair, it’s an ashtray or something (by Bernice)

It was chilled and pretty at the end as we found everyone and congratulated each other, and to be honest, I went from fear to terror to panic to gritting my teeth through it to not hating it to not not liking it to a kind of hysterical enjoyment to gritted teeth and a vague ability to actually do it, and I’m OK with that. Everyone did so well, achieving what we set out to do and conquering various fears and outsideness of comfort zones: well done, us!

Eggses and a pretty medal

My shoes did superbly, I felt confident in them and only had one slide. They repelled water and stayed quite clean for a while, and I didn’t get any blisters (must remember which socks I wore). My rucksack worked really well: it’s not waterproof but that’s OK as I can put things in bags inside it and this was to test that. It did rain on us quite a bit!

9.7 miles (everyone else’s watch showed 10!) 15:42 mins per mile (or maybe a little less).

So roll on the Race to the Stones, which is three times as long but in no place as scary as that scary downhill, according to those who have done both.

Miles this week: 20.8 Miles this year: 516.4 (for 1,000 miles in the year I need 500 by the end of this month)

weekly-run-down-final-300x300The Weekly Run Down is run by two wonderful running women and joined by lots of other inspirational women. Kim’s weekly wrap is here and Deborah’s is here.