I think I've fallen in love...

My heart raced...

I breathed heavily...

I got hot under the collar...

I smiled a lot...

I now ache in strange places...

This weekend was the BigRunWeekend... A weekend of running, with added talks, cake and beer... It was already on to a winner with that list - through in a running expo with lots of new toys to fondle and I'm a happy boy indeed:-)

The talks were from people who had been there and done it, and done it big.. Running the alps in 34 days, taking on the Marathon De Sable (a year after an ablation) or setting and breaking the records for the lakeland peaks, the bob graham round and much else in between whilst dealing with breast cancer and needing a hysterectomy.

What came through was their love of running, whether it was a good day or a bad day at the end of the day there was something to be taken from it...

Those doing the Peak District Ultra set off at 8 - 60 miles, bar a smidgeon... I watched them go... And then set about my prep... Porridge, a sneaky bacon barm, tea and hydration fluids...

I'd looked at the map many many times, and reckoned if everyone went well I could probably do the course in 3 hours. By way of comparison, my flat half marathon PB is 2:30, so for a little less distance and 2000ft up up and down I added 30 min...

There was no gentle warm up - straight up the hill, in high humidity... I don't do humidity well, so went straight to plod mode.  I was still in plod mode at 7km when I started seeing the front runners come back at me... Without fail they all, and almost every runner for the next 3 km was wishing me well, telling me to keep going.

You don't tend to get that much friendliness on a road run...

The run along Burbage Edge to Burbage North Car park and then up to Higger Tor bought back memories of walks with the GUCH Walking Club and others, throw in the mildly insane river crossing, the losing the path on Higger Tor and needing to scramble down are memories that I'll try and keep for a while...

One hill to slog up, and a drop down to the finish... I managed to run across the finish line... Just... I was last, well and truly last... and 8 minutes outside of that prediction of mine... And you know what I really don't care.  I did think about quitting, that first couple of km with the heart rate racing, sweat pouring off me was hard, but I've been there before and knew the bad times and normally followed by better times... so plodding along and hoping things would ease off, and they did... And yes, my splits really do range from over 12 min a km to 6:38... and yes that feels right:-)




What next... I've only 2 formal runs in the calendar - the Great North Run and the Notts Ultra... The GNR will be my only "fast" run between now and the Ultra... Everything else is a slow plod...

I'll be going out tonight for a slow 5 km to bring up the 1500km so far this year, and to break some of the scar tissue in my thighs... trust me its a good thing.

I don't know how many of these fell/trail I will be able to enter, a lot have maximum time cut-offs for safety reasons - often the safety of the marshals stuck out on hill!  But where I can I will...

So a huge thank you to the team at Accelerate UK and Thirlow Hall Farm - You, the marshals and the runners were all superb!  I'm just sorry I didn't have time to stay for the party!

TTFN

Paul

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