Coming back from MDS, I definitely had the post race blues. It was such a huge come down after months of training, preparing, reading, researching and talking everything MDS. I needed new challenges and races to look forward to.
Having run parkun (Cheltenham – 19:59), half marathon (Newport – 1:28:32) and marathon (Tomoka – 3:17:28) PBs in the month before MDS, I’d been feeling like I was on fire with all the high mileage.
The week after I got back, I ran a marathon in Llanelli, running my second best ever time (3:22:13) and placing 3rd lady, perhaps demonstrating that perhaps my legs were a little too fresh and I hadn’t quite given it my all at MDS, and reconfirming my desire to return.
A week later, I was signed up to Tough Guy. It was to be my first time running the course, and I’d been nervous about the potential post-MDS state of my feet when entering. Given my feet hadn’t suffered, I turned up on the day and asked to upgrade the the marathon version of the race ie. 4 laps of the standard race. The looked at me like I was potty. And I was. My goodness it was tough (hence the name), and I didn’t manage to finish within the cut off. (I think only one woman did). If I’d entered the half, I’d have taken home the trophy, so perhaps I’d bitten off a bit more than I could chew given recent events!
In May, I tried to go sub 1:30 in a half marathon again in Lichfield, since sadly my PB race hadn’t obtained a UKA license, and my run hadn’t counted towards a London Marathon Championship place, but I just missed out. The next week, I ran a 10km PB (40:20) at the Berkeley 10km in Gloucestershire, and haven’t managed to come close to that time since. It was an odd race, being at 7pm, and I’d had barely any sleep the preceding 3 nights, nodding off before the start, but once it started, everything clicked and I had a great run. A few days later, I ventured to North Wales with a couple of the guys from my running club for the Cader Idris fell race which was fantastic fun, and made me question my decision on job acceptance and flat purchase in the south – we don’t have enough fell races! In June, I ran my 50th Parkrun, placing first lady as a tourist at Conwy parkrun, again in North Wales. I did manage to get in two more fell races in the year though; one in South Wales (Fan Y Big Horseshoe Race) pre night shift, and one (Three Tops Fell Race) in the North York Moors on the way home from a Newcastle Wedding.
Over the spring and summer, I also tried my hand at track for the first time. The first race felt reasonably familiar – 5000m, but the track really exposed my terrible pacing ability as shown in the picture below (top middle) where I’ve shot off, briefly leaving all the men behind! But I thought I might as well try everything so I ran 100m, 200m, 400m, 600m, 800m, 1500m, 3000m, and 5000m. My ranking went from abysmal, to pretty good as I moved up the distances, as to be expected really given my background. But it was all good fun, even if I raced teenage girls in the shorter distances and won the senior lady county medals by default, and my 400m heat had me, a 70 year old man, a wheelchair racer, and an awesome 6ft plus muscle-bound male sprinter who’d clearly put the wrong time down! I managed to get a 5000m PB of 19:19 which I was delighted with, but fear I’ll never see again.
I also spent an increasing amount of time on my bike, feeling my running was probably in the bag, my swimming would do, and I needed to get my biking sorted for my looming Ironman triathlon. I raced in two aquathlons, a sprint triathlon and the Foreset of Dean duathlon in my prep, as well as the Wales Long Course Weekend, featured in my next blog.