Chester Marathon was to be my goal this year – ‘unfinished business.’ Then dozens of people on Twitter seemed to create a kind of snowball effect and before I knew it everyone was signing up for it, which was great! Inspired, on my way to bed one night after a couple of glasses of red, I entered!! Then the next morning I put my name in the ballot for VLM 2013 too. Why not? Great. My goals were set, let’s get training…
Rewind a little – last month I moved to a new house in a slightly different area, so on returning from injury at the start of May I started discovering what the area had to offer. In the immediate vicinity, it’s full-on hill-running. To begin with this was a new and interesting challenge, but after a week or so I found myself getting frustrated running on the pavement and I was really struggling to get to any trails by running straight from my front door.
Looking back, when I started running last spring I mostly did trail running – nothing too exciting just bridle paths and canals etc. but always enjoyed it more than pounding the pavements -- but then I only entered road races! It doesn’t really make sense. I think maybe I’ve always thought of trail running (and especially fell running) as too hard-core for little old me. But since coming back from injury last month I’ve been feeling a lot stronger and my confidence has soared. The last few weeks have simply been like an explosion of discovery.
So I started getting in the car and going off to find new and interesting off-road routes in the area. I’ve been discovering all the possible trails in the Saddleworth and Mossley area and then trying to string them together into longer runs. I’ve also started a “run-streak” inspired by others I follow on Twitter. Simply put, I now run every day (today being day 22) and this keeps me focussed and motivated even more. I’m not going to let it become the be all and end all, but at the moment I’m enjoying it.
Then came the ‘Dovestone Diamond’. Mentioned by someone on Twitter who lives not too far from me, it was a midweek 10k multi-terrain race and I decided I had to do it. I’ve been running around Dovestone Reservoir since the start, early last year, but just a short 3 or so miles on the track that runs immediately around the water. This race was completely different, it shot up into the surrounding hills – approx. 500ft of assent right at the start then it was kind of undulating hills for the rest of the run, but tough terrain, lots of rocks, mud, streams etc. The best bit though – the views. The weather was gorgeous and the views running along the tops, through pine trees and out into open stretches of winding paths with views out over more of the Pennine hills and the reservoir down below were simply breath-taking. I really enjoyed it. That was this time last week.
I did it again tonight and it was better still!! From parking my car at the mill in Greenfield until arriving back 6.35 miles later, I hardly saw a soul. On my own, and taking it nice and steady I was able to really take in the surroundings and of course I had the path to myself so I could really enjoy concentrating on my foot placement without having to worry about someone in front or behind. When I got back to the car, I wanted to carry on. I kind of did. I got in the car and drove down the road a bit, pulled over and shot off down a footpath. There was method in my madness. I wanted to see if I could link the run up with another nearby route and I could. The excitement. At some point it’s now going to be just the start of a really awesome long run.
I’ve given a lot of thought to where I’m going with this running of mine; this week in particular. And I’ve had some fantastic support off one person in particular in deciding what I want to do (you know who you are!).
Chester is off I’m afraid. Sorry Team Chester!
I’ve sent my application form off today to join the local fell-running club and its trail/fell races for me from now on. I still want to do a marathon, but I’m thinking a trail marathon now, maybe Kielder Marathon in October – it’s the same day as Chester! Maybe even something sooner. And an Ultra next year. There, I’ve said it. I want to be an Ultra-runner! But one step at a time – I do have a propensity to get ahead of myself. Right now I’m just loving running the trails and keeping my run-streak going.