The Best Laid Plans.

On July 15th 2016 I completed my challenge to run 12 races in 12 months. My challenge for 2017 was to run a marathon. I signed up for the Yorkshire Marathon in October and downloaded some training plans, my supportive husband bought me a book, “Marathon Running for Dummies” and I started increasing my mileage.

After a pretty stressful year, I was feeling tired and demotivated. As a result of my reduced activity my fitness levels have dropped significantly but my enthusiasm for running has returned. As an added incentive, I signed up for a couple of races. The first one was East Leeds 10k.

I have done East Leeds 10k three times so far, previously it has been on Mayday bank holiday but this year it was on 7th July. Those who have ever been around me in July (and probably May and June too) will know that my birthday is in July. For the past couple of years I have run Leeds 10k and then partied into the night to celebrate my birthday.  Unfortunately, this year I had to work on my birthday (and Leeds 10k) so East Leeds was a good alternative.

In all honesty, I prefer East Leeds 10k. It is a scenic run through St Aiden’s, which is an RSPB site between Swillington and Allerton Bywater. You run through the wildlife sanctuary, over, along and back over the river then back through the lake filled site. The crowds were runner’s friends and family, marshalls, random walkers and cyclists that just happened to be passing at the same time as the race and of course, the multitude of  birds that live there.

It definitely fits my idea of undulating. I have been to races before that have been described as undulating but mountainous would be more accurate. In previous years, I have sprinted over the bridges due to my fear of them and the water that passes beneath them. I seem to have lost my fear of lots of things, I think I left it behind in the plane that I jumped out of. This year, I ran across at my normal pace and had time to look over the edge and appreciate the power and beauty of the river. Who put that weir there ? I’m sure it wasn’t there last year !

As usual, there was a dodgy photographer just past half way and then again a bit later (he took a shortcut, I didn’t). He has been there every year for me taking dodgy red faced pictures of me, he also gives me an outlet for my “running anger”*.

I finished somewhere near the back as usual, cheered on by my fellow Lakers, which is the best bit of being slow. The worst bit was missing out on the beer reward and having to make do with chocolate instead.

My next race was in the beautiful Dalby Forest, I love that place. It was during a romantic anniversary break that I heard snow for the first time and also I heard an owl for the first time. I went to Dalby Forest’s first ever parkrun and I have done this race before a year before.

It was hard but fun. This year however, I would get my first DNF**. I made it up and down the hills, through the water over the roots and then on a nice flat bit I went over on my ankle. I sat and waited for someone to come past, I didn’t have to wait long until the injury marshals turned up. At that point I was really trying not to cry because the pain was pretty horrific. I hobbled along using the arm of my rescuers for support until we came to a really steep downhill. I stood and looked down knowing that I would never make it on my own 2 legs, I was chair lifted down and that was by far the scariest thing I have ever done. Yes, including skydiving. At the bottom of the hill I was left in the capable hands of a marshal who kindly soaked her compression sleeves in cold water to use as a temporary compress. I laid on the floor with my leg elevated on an empty water container waiting to be collected by the mountain rescue team. That was my marathon training over with, luckily I was allowed to swap to 10 miles instead.

I will have to find another marathon to replace this one, I have been turned down for London. In the hat so far are Blackpool and Manchester although I might consider further afield if something interesting comes up.

Now, it is the day before the 10 mile and I’m having serious doubts about whether I will be able to complete the distance, but I’ve got to do it or I will never get back on that horse. Watch this space for the report, might be a little while after the race as I anticipate a humongous hangover. There will be mass Laker hydration in York and Leeds after, any support for the race or post race drinking session will be very welcome.

*Running anger – for some reason I run better whilst being shouted at and shouting very naughty words back at my running buddy or photographer.

**Did not finish

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