Sunday, 21 February 2016

marathon #3

Last night I took part in the moonlight challenge. It is a night time challenge run where you have 8 hours to run as many 6.62 miles loops of farmland as you feel able to. I went down with 5 others from the running club to take part.
The six of us from the running club ready to set off! We partnered up based on how far we were aiming to run/ how quick we wanted to complete the challenge in. I ran with Bianca as we are a similar pace.

It was a little muddy;

we ran through this mud on each and every lap, it was the first section  of the race. It is the muddiest bit but all of it was muddy most of the way, being on farmland. I definitely need to invest in some trail shoes before the next one of these! I wore my older pair of trainers for this, and I am so glad that I did, they are currently in the washing machine. I hope they survive ok!

This is Bianca and me on the run we were on our second lap in the dark picture so around 9-10 miles in. The second picture was us in the barn, at the end of the lap we popped into the barn to refuel and let the organisers know we were still there and keeping going. 
During the 3rd lap Bianca had a lot of pain in her nip and could barely lift one of her legs- she hurt it a couple of weeks ago. So we slowed right down and walked the majority of the fourth lap as she really wanted to get to marathon distance before stopping. We had been going really well until this point and though we might be able to make the full 33 miles of the challenge. However, once Bianca got into difficulty we re-assessed and decided it was not worth it. We discussed splitting up as Bianca felt bad that I would have to stop before I was ready but as much as I was enjoying the run it is a small event and people were spread out widely. I knew if I went it alone I would not enjoy it and would feel very vulnerable. It was pitch black and we were in the middle of no-where. I don't like the dark and have a vivid imagination. So we stuck together and finished together. If it had been day time I think neither of us would have minded if we had completed the 4th lap together and then I went out on my own for the final and 5th. Next time! Admittedly at the end of the 4th lap I was shattered, I had aches everywhere. It could have been where I had started to get cold or it could be that I, like Bianca am just not ready for the super distance yet. Time will tell...

My certificate and medal. I completed 26.45 miles. As a marathon is 26.2miles and an ultra is anything above marathon distance I can claim to be an ultra marathon runner now- although it feels slightly cheaty to do so! 
This is my first of the challenge hub events. I really like the friendly atmosphere of these small events. It is different to the larger events, you chat to the organisers at start and end as well as get a few words of encouragement each time you check in before heading for the next lap. You get a bit of a joke and encouragement with the volunteers who marshall and man the aid station out on the course as you pass them so many times. Whilst as a smaller event it can be mentally tougher as there are less people along various stretches those that you do meet are friendly and supportive. It is definitely a run not a race atmosphere- I like this a lot. I spoke to many other along the way. Some inspiring in the sheer volume of these events they do close together, others as they are using them as a training run for even more challenging events such as one chap we spoke to who is training for a double iron man in  a couple of months- amazing!

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