First race of the year done! Even though I’m supposed to be training for the Sheffield half right now, I couldn’t resist signing up for this one. The Resolution Run is a 12k or 6k run around Rother Valley Country Park, a 30 minute drive away. It would have been rude not to!
I signed up for the 12k, a race distance I’ve never done before, so I was a little confused about how to run it, especially based on feeling pretty tired from already having done 40km this week, with a rather trying 15km on Friday. Do I run it like a 10k, perhaps a teeny bit slower? Could I even sustain that mid training, especially considering how I feel to be significantly down on fitness following my running slump after the Sheffield 10k, and Xmas?
The day came around and the weather looked like it was going to be grim. We a lovely couple of lovely days beforehand, where the weather was cold but sunny, perfect for running, but as we got closer to the day the reports started showing some worrying signs of rain all night and morning of the event. It rained most of the night but by some strange luck, it seemed to clear just in time for the race, leaving just the odd little bit of sometimes welcome drizzle.
The route was MUDDY and slippy. I’ve not really had to real with this amount of mud on a run before (but it is only my 2nd damp trail run… and the first was mostly dry just with wet spots). I saw quite a few people slipping and losing their footing completely. My Saucony Peregrine 5 trail shoes seemed to do the job though, allowing me to trust my footing eventually. I was definitely holding my pace back with nervousness during the first half of the race though. Annoyingly, I noticed just before we set off that I appear to be wearing through on the inside of the shoes, even though I’ve only done about 350km in them.
About a third of the way in, I found a pack of people in front of me who provided a good pacing group. They seemed to be running a touch faster than was comfortable, but I hung on anyway, having them drag me up the hill. At some point on a long downhill in the 2nd half of the race, I realised that I was actually holding back my pace to stay with them, and instead decided just to relax and go with it. I put quite a bit of distance in ahead of them then, making me a little worried I was going too fast, or worse, that I was going to go wrong on the route!
The next hill was a little tough and it slowed my pace a bit. As I plodded on, sometime drew up beside me and overtook me. I was expecting it to be someone from the previous pack, but it turned out to be someone else completely. I guess she’d be working her way through the pack! Again, I latched on to her, letting her drag me up the hill and long a slippery muddy path.
Eventually we reached a great big muddy bank which we scrambled up, swung around a quick switch back and we were suddenly at the lake in Rother Valley. As the path had become significantly more solid and flatter, I lengthened my stride a bit and drew along side my impromptu pacer. We had a very brief chat confirming that the rest of the race was probably circling the lake (a good thing! flat!) and then I popped my earphones back in and started to focus on finishing.
At this point we had about 3 km left to run, and I was really struggling to work out how to run it. Eventually I just let my legs set the pace and tried to keep the breathing under control! There were a couple of tough moments as I felt myself faltering, but a mental kick up the backside got the legs moving again.
I finished in about 55:29ish (official results not out yet), with my Garmin showing only about 11.72km run. Not quite 12, so I had a little cool down jog afterwards to try and loosen the legs up a bit. Martin and Liz who had run the 6k were waiting and had clapped me over the line, so once I’d returned we sent and claimed our medal (which didn’t come on a ribbon, but was much more tasty)
After scoffing that, and a cup of hot chocolate, we changed out of our mud-caked clothes and went to The Depot for Eggs and Coffee. Yum!