The Big Day Cometh ….
Panic and fear set in about a week ago, I realised that in just 6 days I’d agreed to do the “Pontesbury Potter” with Severn Hospice and half jokingly mentioned that I’d run as much of it as I could. It was one of those things that you sign up for and then it completely slips your mind. (Note to self really must invest in a calender … or at least one I write on lol.)
The Pontesbury Potter is described as a 13 mile hill trail suitable for runners and walkers taking in the surrounding countryside of Pontesbury with the route not being revealed until the morning of the event.
In theory everything should have been fine … since my last blogs were going so well, technically I should be well on my way to running a half marathon by now. Note the emphasis on should and have … over christmas I struggled with my running picking up injuries left right and centre and although did manage some longer runs I was nowhere close running over 13 miles and especially not over hills. I ended up justifying to myself that I could probably run some of the route and walk the rest
A good friend Sarah, asked where my sponsorship page was. Now I hadn’t planned on raising any money initially but if people wanted to donate money to such a great cause then who was I to stand in the way ?? So I set up a Just Giving page and watched a couple of donations come in on the first night. Over the coming days the money kept on coming and I got somewhat addicted to trying to reach my target. I’d set my target to £100 which quickly got raised to £150, then £200 and finally £250 and as every penny came in I felt pride that I was doing something great. That said, the more money that was coming in the bigger the realisation began to sink in that I was actually going to have to run a bit more than a couple of miles …
So the morning of the Pontesbury Potter arrived and I’ll be honest, I hadn’t slept much and was really nervous. This was the first time where I’d ran in a big group and honestly didn’t know what to expect. I arrived on site and registered and set off with Sarah cheering as I left the carpark. Having come out of the carpark I reached around my bag to do one of the clips up and in doing so felt a twinge of pain “Ok” I told myself “I’m not meant to stretch that far” I’d pulled a muscle but tried to put it out of my head. Not the best of starts i’m sure you’ll agree.
The first couple of miles were really tricky, I found myself getting frustrated with walkers who were in front and in the way, it helped me forget about the pulled muscle but really didn’t help my speed. After a couple of miles though and the pathways opened up a little bit more and I was able to increase my pace. I had my GPS running and the motivation it provided as I began to rack up the miles was brilliant. I found that running with instructions rather tham a map was a little tricky and I had to keep stopping to read the next few lines of instuctions but this did actually help me to have a breather every now and then.
I found that I was able to keep up with other runners and when they walked, I walked and when they ran I ran too. The scenery was breathtaking and it really does help to keep you motivated … far more so than whilst road running. The other major difference from road running was that althoughthe terrain was far more challenging, my knees and hips coped better because the ground was softer and naturally absorbed the impact on my joints and I wasn’t suffering from shin splints.
In places the ground was a little too soft and I found my self calf deep in mud, water or marsh land which was incredibly difficult to run through and the rocks hidden throughout the terrain kept twisting my ankles in akward directions.
In a few places I got lost a little off the track and had to back track slightly the lesson here is to not trust me with directions especially as a few of the runners behind me followed my lead !! I got talking to a few of them about my training and they encouraged me to join a club (something I’ve given a lot of thought about since the run … more of that in a later blog). Running with them certainly helped pass the miles quicker and I was grateful of the company.
Over the last mile I began to push myself in order to get the best time possible and managed to finish in just under 3 hours a time of which I’m really proud of all things considered. Getting back to register my time was a complete blur although there was a stall selling bacon sandwiches and cake …. I can honestly say food has never tasted so good.
And there you have it … my first official running event. I’ve now raised £250 for Severn Hospice (which is rather excellent given that my original target was just £100). If you’ve already donated Thank you so much and if you’d like to make a donation please click on the link below. Every penny counts and is truly appreciated by a wonderful cause. The page will be open for a while yet and i’m already looking forward to my next two races (more of those later).