On Sunday I ran in my first trail Half Marathon in Grizedale Forest.
It was a very cold, frosty, foggy morning, with temperatures as low as -2C at times!
At around 9.40am I braved getting out the car and removed my outer clothes before heading to the start line feeling exceptionally nervous. We arrived just as the full marathon race was setting off!
The race actually started a couple minutes early, which I was pleased about as it was freezing cold!
We headed out of the courtyard over a cattle grid (tricky to run over!) and we immediately headed up hill along a very icy track into the forest. I tiptoed my way along the edge of the track trying to avoid the worst bit not wanting to risk falling at the first hurdle! Going up this first hill a lot of people started to walk so the field soon spread out and I had the space to settle into my pace fairly early on.
As we climbed the fog got denser and my main concern was getting lost! I was fairly happy whilst on the man-made forest trails but at around the 5 mile mark we headed off onto narrower rougher terrain and as we climbed higher the fog got denser and the runners in front of me seemed to break free disappearing into the distance!
I felt ever so slightly panic stricken when I realised that I could no longer see anyone in front of me through the thick fog, but thankfully I could still hear people not too far behind me so I wasn’t totally alone!
I could only imagine the spectacular views as the fog was so thick, I was lucky to be able to still be able to see the path I was running on!
My husband had taken the dog for a walk in the forest whilst I was running and they popped up a couple of times to offer me support, which was much appreciated when the going was getting tough!
The race was described as “a tad hilly” and I would totally agree with this description! This was a truly undulating course, although there did seem far more ups then downs!!
As I approached mile 13 I was ready for finishing and desperate to see the finishing line!
I was beginning to feel cold and my legs were tired but the race kept going!
I was pleased there were other runners in front of me as I would have been panicking that I had missed a turn. This last section of the race seemed to go on forever and appeared to be all uphill! I couldn’t believe it when my Garmin beeped to register 14 miles and we still hadn’t finished!
Where was the finish?
Eventually there was a nice downhill section, which was very icy and fairly tricky for tired legs to negotiate but this finally took us into the finishing gantry!
I have never been so relieved to run through a race finishing line - I was absolutely exhausted and felt extremely sorry for those poor souls who were doing the full marathon and had to keep going at this point!!
My Garmin registered the distance as 14.5 miles which I had covered in 2 hours 27 minutes.A little girl congratulated me and handed me my well deserved medal whilst a woman removed my timing chip. I enquired about why the race was so long and she said they had to alter it due to snow and ice making the original route too treacherous! It would have been helpful to have been informed of this at the start then I could have prepared myself properly!
However the main thing is I finished and I have the T shirt and bling to prove it! I think this was probably the toughest race I have run so far!
I am hoping by doing some stand alone trail races before KMF Triathlon that I will be better prepared for the run section of the tri which is a trail run through forest tracks.Thankfully this is a slightly shorter 5K run!
I am not sure whether I found this race particularly difficult because its my first trail race or whether it is because I am not as “run fit” as I once was as I am also trying to swim and cycle too.
Perhaps being a Triathlete is turning me into a Jack of all trades Master of none!